Friday, February 15, 2013
Norwich City are still waiting for their first Premier League penalty of the season – as one of just three clubs yet to benefit from the referee’s fickle finger of fate.
With two thirds of the top-flight season gone, only the Canaries, Tottenham and Swansea have yet to be awarded a spot-kick.
By contrast, Chelsea have had eight penalties, reigning champions Manchester City have had six and leaders Manchester United five.
City’s last Premier League penalty came 11 months ago when Grant Holt scored in a 2-1 home win over Wolves.
It was one of only two they were awarded in their entire league programme last season – Holt also scored the other in a 3-3 draw at home to Blackburn – and 26 matches this term without an award have stretched their run to 34 league games without a spot-kick.
However, Chris Hughton’s team have conceded five penalties in the Premier League this season, though only two have been scored – by Fulham’s Steve Sidwell and West Ham’s Mark Noble.
The Capital One Cup brought City one spot-kick, scored by Wes Hoolahan against Scunthorpe, and they also conceded one against Tottenham in the same competition, Mark Bunn saving from Clint Dempsey.
Is it just one of those freak statistics, do City not break into the penalty area with enough speed and urgency, or have they simply had a raw deal from the officials?
Former City winger Adrian Forbes, who has worked as a co-commentator for BBC Radio Norfolk on many of their Premier League fixtures, believes they have been unfortunate.
“In the games I have seen, it’s been the lack of getting a decision,” said Forbes.
“The West Ham game was an example, in a game I was commentating on. They might have had two in that game. In one instance, it looked at the time as if Harry Kane was being fouled, and when I saw it again on the replay, he was but it wasn’t given.
“In the same match, the penalty given against Norwich early on was fairly soft. The referees have only a split second and they get it wrong on occasions – which shows why I wouldn’t want to be in the position of the referee.
“But the big teams tend to get more penalties. Perhaps they have players who know how to win them, or referees are more aware that they have to get them right in those games.”
The last penalty awarded against the Canaries came in their 0-0 draw at QPR, when goalkeeper Mark Bunn was adjudged to have fouled Jamie Mackie, but then saved Adel Taarabt’s kick.
In the same match, City felt they might have had a stoppage-time spot-kick when Luciano Becchio appeared to be shoved, but referee Jon Moss was not about to become the first to point to the spot in their favour in a Premier League fixture since last March.
Playing just one striker may limit the number of times City burst into the opposing penalty area at speed, but Forbes is not convinced. He said: “I don’t know – you still have players like Wes Hoolahan, Snodgrass, Pilkington and Elliott Bennett getting into the box – as well as Grant Holt. Perhaps they’re being a bit too gentlemanly.”
• Penalties 2012-13
Barclays Premier League
Chelsea: For 8, Against 1, Scored 7
Man City: For 6, Against 1, Scored 4
Man Utd: For 5, Against 0, Scored 2
Fulham: For 4, Against 2, Scored 4
Aston Villa: For 3, Against 6, Scored 3
West Brom: For 3, Against 4, Scored 2
Southampton: For 3, Against 3, Scored 3
Reading: For 3, Against 3, Scored 3
West Ham: For 3, Against 1, Scored 3
Stoke: For 2, Against 5, Scored 1
Arsenal: For 2, Against 4, Scored 1
Liverpool: For 2, Against 3, Scored 1
Everton: For 2, Against 2, Scored 2
Newcastle: For 2, Against 2, Scored 1
Sunderland: For 2, Against 2, Scored 2
QPR: For 2, Against 0, Scored 0
Wigan: For 1, Against 6, Scored 0
Swansea: For 0, Against 1, Scored 0
Tottenham: For 0, Against 1, Scored 0
Norwich: For 0, Against 5, Scored 0