When it comes to penalties, the taker is always the man under pressure. Goalkeepers are often exempt from critique in these situations, but when they deny an opponent from the spot, they are deemed the hero. Indeed, some goalkeepers are better at denying opponents from the spot than others, with Simon Mignolet's stop from Diego Costa's spot kick on Tuesday the latest of an impressive tally from the Belgian. With that in mind, WhoScored.com run down the six best penalty saving goalkeepers of those to face 10 or more penalties in Europe’s top five leagues across the last three seasons.
Heurelho Gomes – Watford (Penalty Save Success 36.4%)
Heurelho Gomes may have only been plying his trade in one of Europe’s top five leagues since the start of last season, but has faced 11 penalties in that time; only Adrian (15) has been up against more in the Premier League over that period. However, of the 11 the Brazilian has faced, Gomes has kept four at bay, including two in a single game from Saido Berahino last season. A penalty save success of 36.4% then is one of the best in Europe’s top five leagues.
Carlos Kameni – Malaga (36.4%)
Like Gomes, Carlos Kameni also boasts a penalty save success rate of 36.4% since the start of the 2014/15 campaign having also saved four of 11 penalties faced in the last two-and-a-half years. The Cameroonian’s solitary statistically calculated WhoScored strength is ‘penalty saving’, ready and willing to deny opponents from the spot and defy the odds. Kameni is one of the best shotstoppers in Europe with the 32-year-old more than capable of putting opposing penalty takers off just enough to keep the ball out of the Malaga net.
Samir Handanovic – Inter (38.5%)
Widely renowned for his penalty saving ability, it’s no surprise Samir Handanovic features on this list, boasting a penalty save success rate of 38.5% from the 13 penalties he has faced. However, of the five penalties he has saved, four came in the 2014/15 campaign, where he faced six penalties, a fine return of that there is no doubt. Nevertheless, he boasts a WhoScored strength of ‘penalty saving’ for a reason given his success from denying opponents from the spot.
Danijel Subasic – Monaco (46.2%)
Much has been made of Monaco’s goalscoring exploits this season, with the French side scoring more goals (65) than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues. Defensively they have also impressed, shipping just 22 goals over the campaign. Much of that has been due to the goalkeeping exploits of Danijel Subasic, who has also impressed when facing penalties. The Croat has saved six of the last 13 league penalties he has faced, returning a penalty save success rate of 46.2%, a respectable return to say the very least.
Simon Mignolet – Liverpool (50%)
When it looked as though Chelsea would pull away from the chasing pack, Simon Mignolet was on hand to ensure the Blues’ lead at the top of the table remained at nine points. While the Belgian had been somewhat culpable for conceding David Luiz’s free kick, he was on hand to deny Diego Costa a winning goal at Anfield as Liverpool avoided what would have been a fourth successive home defeat for the first time since 1923. Mignolet’s penalty save late on was his fifth since the start of the 2014/15 campaign, the joint-best return over that time. Having faced 10 penalties over that same period, Mignolet’s penalty save success rate of 50% is the second best in Europe’s top five leagues.
Diego Alves – Valencia (57.1%)
There was never going to be another goalkeeper to top this list, was there? Diego Alves has made a name for himself as one of the finest penalty stoppers in recent seasons having denied opponents from the spot on eight occasions since the start of the 2014/15 season. Over that time he has faced 14 penalties, returning a penalty save success rate of 57.1%, comforably the best in Europe’s top five leagues.