West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian possesses a burgeoning reputation as an expert penalty saver in the Barclays Premier League – and that was given a further boost on Saturday when he dived to his right to block Charlie Austin’s effort from twelve yards.
It was the third spot kick the Spaniard had stopped in succession, following his saves from Harry Kane at Tottenham Hotspur in February and David Nugent at Leicester City earlier this month.
In doing so, Adrian became just the ninth keeper in Premier League history to save three penalties in a row – and his stop at Loftus Road capped a fine performance between the sticks.
Seven saves, two crosses claimed and a punched clearance made the No13 WhoScored.com’s statistically-calculated Player of the Week in the top flight, with a match rating of 9.20.
Four of those saves came in the final 19 minutes at Loftus Road, as the R’s gave everything to secure what would have been a vital three points for his side, including a wonderfully-athletic effort to deny Matt Phillips as the clock ticked over 90.
Adrian told the press afterwards that he has a special method when it comes to facing penalties, with the psychology of the twelve yard duel key in his mind.
Having studied the penalty taker’s preferred side and mannerisms in the build-up to the fixture, Adrian tells the striker where he believes he is going to put the penalty in a bid to knock him off his stride.
It appears to have had an impact, with Kane (although he did score the rebound), Nugent and Austin all failing to find a way to defeat ‘the master of penalty saves’ as he was described post match by his manager Sam Allardyce.
The saves have come to both sides of the goal too, as Adrian flung himself to his right to stop Kane’s effort, before going the other way to get his hands to Nugent’s.
Austin’s effort was more central, but Adrian hadn’t dived too far over to his right to not be able to block with his legs.
What is for certain, wherever they shoot in the goal, the next striker to come head-to-head with Adrian over twelve yards will not be taking the goal for granted.
Head here for more stats from Saturday’s game.