This Arsenal penalty was the worst in Premier League history

Back in 2005, Arsenal took the worst penalty in Premier League history.

It was against a bang-average Manchester City side, and we all know the story behind it.

Trying to emulate Johan Cruyff and Jesper Olsen’s imperious 1982 effort – when the Dutch master rolled it to his team-mate, who drew the keeper off his line before playing it back to Cruyff, who score – two of Arsenal’s greatest players completely bungled it.


Here’s how it was supposed to work: Robert Pires was supposed to shift the ball to the onrushing Thierry Henry, who would either bury it past David James, or would play Jesper Olsen’s role.

But Pires royally messed things up. The former France midfielder half-heartedly raked his studs over the top of the ball, leaving it rooted to the penalty spot between his legs.

Henry ran past the ball and then, in all the confusion, Sylvain Distin smashed the ball away.

“I take all the blame, it was my idea,” said Henry. “If it had worked it would have been a brilliant idea, but it did not work ”


“I felt disbelief,” said a raging Arsene Wenger. “But Robert is a lucky boy because the team has not been punished.”

Man City’s Danny Mills raged at the pair on the pitch after the omnishambles, but Pires stuck by his decision.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez pulled off a similar penalty last season against Celta Vigo, and Pires responded to critics, who claimed the penalty attempt showed a lack of respect.

It’s number eight in this list of miserable penalties

“We were within our rights, our intention was never to disrespect anyone,” he wrote in The Times. “People did it before us and people have done it after us. It’s like the Panenka or other ways of taking a penalty. It didn’t work for us, it was a shame but we still won the game. We didn’t insult or hurt anyone.”

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