Simon Mignolet performed one atrocious action and one sublime against Premier League leaders Chelsea on Tuesday…
In the first-half, he wasn’t paying attention when David Luiz struck a free-kick which cannoned off the post into the goal. In fact, he wasn’t even looking at the ball when the Brazilian hit it; he was too busy organising defenders who were not even in the wall, having failed to hear the whistle.
But the Belgian made up for it in the second by saving Diego Costa’s spot-kick. The Brutish Spaniard had won it moments earlier with clever play in our box, but thankfully, Mignolet went down low to his right and deflected it out for a corner.
Since he arrived in the Premier League in 2011/12, Mignolet has made seven penalty stops, more than any other keeper, having also made a crucial stop from 12-yards on opening day this campaign against Arsenal.
Mignolet has explained though that his save was fortunate as he’d been preparing for Eden Hazard, Chelsea’s first-choice taker, to step up – but his countryman has just been substituted.
He told the Echo: “It was actually one of the first chances I had to save a penalty at the Kop end. Just before that, Eden Hazard, who’s normally the penalty taker for Chelsea, had gone off as a substitute, so it was going to be Diego Costa.
“We prepared all week for Hazard but luckily I chose the right way and managed to keep it out because it was one of those where it could easily have crept under me, it was quite close to my body.
“It depends if you’ve faced one before that or somebody’s got a favourite side.
“You can sometimes say a little thing to put them off but most of these penalty takers have a routine and they’re so confident in their own abilities otherwise they wouldn’t be taking penalties.
“First of all, you have to know and pick the right angle, then the timing has to be right, and then you’re a bit dependent on how the penalty has actually been taken. In the end, it’s a bit of luck to keep it out.”