You Need 'A Lot Of Bottle' To Take Penalties Like Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Says Matt Le Tissier
Matt Le Tissier has analysed Eden Hazard's penalty-taking technique after the Chelsea playmaker was once again successful from 12 yards in the Capital One Cup semi-final at Liverpool on Tuesday night.
And the former Southampton and England star – who himself converted 47 out of 48 penalties in his career – says that you need “a lot of bottle” to be able to take spot-kicks in the manner that Hazard does.
“It is a very cool technique,” Le Tissier told Sky Sports News HQ. “You need to be a very confident boy to do this and Eden Hazard is certainly that.
“He basically stands and waits for the goalkeeper to move. It is a really clever way of doing things. He is just so confident as he steps up, he watches the goalkeeper as he is striking the ball and does not watch the ball at all.
“And that takes a lot of bottle to do that.”
However, that technique can sometimes go wrong, as Hazard found to his cost in a UEFA Champions League tie at Maribor earlier this season when the little Belgium international saw his spot-kick saved by Jasmin Handanovic.
“The goalkeeper just stood a long time and did not make his move and as Hazard goes to strike it, the keeper still had not made his move yet,” Le Tissier explained.
“And that is the only way that you can put a bit of doubt in your mind, because you are waiting for the goalkeeper to move and all of a sudden he does not move and you have a split second to choose which way to go.
“And he did not get it anywhere near the corner.”
All of which begs the question: why do goalkeepers not study Hazard's method more and stand up and wait to see which way he places the ball before diving?
“If you have looked and studied that technique, then you would be brave and stand up for as long as you possibly can and wait for him to make the move,” added Le Tissier.
“Because it is a game of cat and mouse with penalties and it is whoever blinks first really. A lot of goalkeepers think that the only way they can save a penalty is to actually anticipate it a little bit before and not save it after the ball has been struck, because of the power you can get behind the ball.
“What goalkeepers do not want to do is stand there and wait and him not do that and stroke it in the corner and they are just stood there in the middle of the goal waiting.
“And then the questions come: 'What is the goalkeeper doing? Why is he not moving for it?!' And I think that is the gamble they take.”
But with Hazard having found the back of the net with 18 penalties in a row since 2010-11, before failing from the spot in Slovenia last November, it seems the 24-year-old has a near-perfect way of taking spot kicks that goalkeepers cannot read.