The Red Devils have a real ‘penalty killer’ at home: Koen Casteels is European top on penalties

©  REUTERS

Louis van Gaal brought in Tim Krul to the Orange squad during the 2014 World Cup, with a view to the penalty shootout in the quarter-finals against Costa Rica. With success, because the Netherlands pushed through thanks to Krul. A trick for Roberto Martinez to try with the Red Devils at the upcoming World Cup in Qatar?

Vincent Van Genechten

Because, guess what? Our national team has its own ‘penalty killer’, as a goalkeeper who regularly takes a penalty is sometimes called. An analysis by Transfermarkt shows that Koen Casteels is one of the best in Europe in this area.

“The Belgian goalkeeper returned ten penalties since the 2015-2016 season. This puts Casteels in the top five of all goalkeepers who have been active in one of the ten largest competitions in Europe in the past five seasons. He only has to tolerate the duo Ralf Fährmann (eg Schalke) and Aleksandr Belenov (Krasnodar), who both managed to turn a bet from eleven meters on 34 attempts. Three other goalkeepers also saved ten penalties: Baptiste Reynet (Dijon), Benoit Costil (Bordeaux) and Andrea Consigli (Sassuolo).”

Casteels has conceded 31 penalties in the past six years at Wolfsburg, who took over from Werder Bremen in 2015. He managed to save almost a third. An eleventh attempt also failed, but it was simply missed and therefore not stopped by our compatriot. More specifically, that of Emil Forsberg in 2018 for RB Leipzig. Casteels stopped penalties from Arjen Robben, Filip Kostic and Nils Petersen, among others.

©  Transfermarkt

For comparison. Thibaut Courtois conceded 37 penalties in the same period against Belgium, Chelsea and Real Madrid. The Limburger stopped three of these. Simon Mignolet came face to face with a penalty taker 32 times and saved seven. Not bad either, of course. For example, ‘Big Si’ loved Sadio Mane, Diego Costa and Jamie Vardy, among others.

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