With the domestic game taking a break for international week, it’s time to take a look back at the season so far and see which players are performing best under pressure.
While England may have a deserved reputation for being overwhelmed by the unrivalled pressure that comes with standing at the penalty spot, it’s worth noting that four of the top five players with perfect penalty records in the Premier League this season are English.
And when Liverpool’s James Milner stepped up to the spot against Manchester City last week, there was never any doubt he would convert his kick to open the scoring.
Milner leads the way with seven perfectly-struck penalties this season and has now scored with his last 11 attempts from the spot in the competition, dating back to November 2009.
Nothing alleviates pressure like grabbing the first goal and Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is tied with last week’s Pressure Index leader, Romelu Lukaku of Everton, at the top of that list with the duo each having hit no fewer than seven opening goals in the Premier League this season.
Last week Lukaku’s double in a 4-0 win over Hull City saw him join Chelsea’s Willian at the top of the Goal Pressure Index, presented by Sure and powered by Opta data, which provides the first ever system to measure and rate a team and player’s performance under pressure.
The Goal Pressure Index uses more than 750,000 data points as well as factors including league position, point in the season and the opposition to calculate a rating out of 100 for every Premier League player every week.