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2021/22 ‘Cold’ penalties – Should players be substituted on to take a penalty?

Back in September, West Ham United got a last-minute penalty against Manchester United, with the score at 2-1 to the Red Devils. Hammers manager David Moyes made the controversial decision to substitute club captain Mark Noble on, specifically to take the penalty.

When the Englishman stepped up and missed, it reignited a debate from the summer: should players be brought on just to take a penalty? Are ‘cold’ penalties more likely to be missed?

This month, that debate came back to the fore after the Europa League final. With a penalty shootout looming, Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst sent on Aaron Ramsey and Kemar Roofe. The latter stuck his spot-kick away, but the former saw his weak effort saved, and the Teddy Bears lost the shootout.

After Noble’s miss, we had a look at ‘cold’ penalties from the previous 20 years. Now we’re back with the long-awaited sequel to the article you probably haven’t read.

We’ve looked at penalty shootouts from the 2021/22 season in over 50 competitions from around the world. As some of these competitions don’t run alongside the standard European season, we taken some data from June 2021 onwards.

From these competitions, we’ve noted down any penalty taken by a player who was substituted on with fewer than five minutes remaining. This is from the 116th minute onwards, or the 86th minute in ties without extra time. Anyway, here is what we found.

From 69 ‘cold’ penalties, 51 were scored and 18 were missed. This is a success rate of around 74%.

It is estimated that around 75% of penalties are scored in total. This implies that ‘cold’ penalties are slightly more likely to be missed.

But when the difference is this small, it’s difficult to draw any sort of conclusion. There may be a good reason for the slight drop off, or it could just be a coincidence.

Anyway, have a look at the data yourself, and make your own conclusion.


Kemar Roofe (UEL Final)

Danel Sinani (Carabao Cup first round)

Graeme Shinnie (Carabao Cup first round)

Jack Powell (Carabao Cup first round)

Frazer Blake-Tracy (Carabao Cup first round)

John Mousinho (Carabao Cup first round)

Sergio Reguilon (Carabao Cup third round)

Sol Bamba (FA Cup fourth round)

Ross Barkley (FA Cup final)

Cafu (Championship play-off semi-final)

Cesar de la Hoz (Copa del Rey first round)

Manuel Reimann (DFB Pokal second round)

Evann Guessand (Coupe de France round of 16)

Andre Luis (Taca da Liga first round)

Ze Tiago (Taca da Liga first round)

Nene (Taca da Liga second round)

Onur Sirin (Turkish Cup second round)

Onur Sirin (Turkish Cup third round)

Sean Kelly (Scottish Cup fifth round)

Zachary Guinan (EFL Trophy first round)

Conor Chaplin (EFL Trophy second round)

Shane Ferguson (EFL Trophy quarter-final)

Shane Ferguson (EFL Trophy semi-final)

Henrique Almeida (Copa Libertadores qualifying)

Juninho Valoura (Copa Libertadores qualifying)

Abdoulaye Cissoko (MLS Cup first round)

Fabrizio Reyes (Copa Argentina round of 64)

Edwin Torres (Copa Argentina round of 64)

Francisco Gatti (Copa Argentina round of 64)

Lautaro Belleggia (Copa Argentina round of 64)

Mateo Retegui (Copa Argentina round of 16)

Marcelo Benitez (Copa Argentina round of 16)

Miguel Merentiel (Copa Argentina round of 16)

Lucas Barrios (Copa Argentina round of 16)

Mateo Retegui (Copa Argentina final)

Eduardo Salvio (Copa Argentina final)

Cristian Pavon (Copa Argentina final)

Pepe (Copa do Brasil second round)

Diego Viana (Copa do Brasil second round)

Edson Fernando (Copa do Brasil third round)

Roberto Hernandez (Copa Chile first round)

Jeremy Silva (Copa Chile round of 16)

Carlos Sepduvela (Copa Chile round of 16)

Samuele Campo (Swiss Cup semi-final)

Jonathan Ortved (Danish Cup second round)

Marco Capone (Svenska Cupen first round)

Mihajlo Neskovic (Serbian Cup round of 16)

Hu Mingtain (Chinese FA Cup fourth round)

Yang Guoyuan (Chinese FA Cup quarter-final)

Zizo (AFCON semi-final)

Bryan Acosta (CONCACAF Champions League round of 16)

Roofe scored his penalty – Ramsey couldn’t do the same


Aaron Ramsey (UEL Final)

Jordan Jones (Carabao Cup second round)

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Carabao Cup final)

Julio Cidoncha (Copa del Rey first round)

Ricardo van Rhijn (DFB Pokal quarter-final)

Joao Pedro (Taca da Liga second round)

Pizzi (Taca da Liga semi-final)

Jeriel De Santis (Taca da Liga semi-final)

Semih Guler (Turkish Cup round of 16)

Aurelien Bailly (Belgian Cup sixth round)

Matt Stevens (EFL Trophy second round)

Gabriel Chocobar (Copa Libertadores qualifying)

Henrique Almeida (Copa Libertadores qualifying)

Hyoran (Copa Libertadores round of 16)

Luis Gabriel Valenzuela (Copa Chile round of 16)

Martin Rom Nielsen (Danish Cup second round)

Aleksei Sutormin (Russian Cup quarter-final)

Nikola Dimitrijevic (Serbian Cup round of 16)

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