Arsene Wenger had admitted that he was surprised by Mohamed Salah missed a penalty for Liverpool, with the Egyptian winger fluffing his lines against AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal in recent weeks.
Speaking on BeIN Sports, the former Gunners manager said that he has been surprised by the number of high-profile goalscorers missing the target from the penalty circle, with Wenger working as a pundit in a match where Erling Haaland skied his spot-kick against Bayern Munich.
"Salah, Saka and now Haaland!"— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) April 19, 2023
Arsène Wenger is amazed at how many big name players have missed from the penalty spot in the last few weeks! #beINUCL #UCL #FCBMCI pic.twitter.com/Bx02jdgRiw
With Bukayo Saka also missing the target against West Ham on the weekend in a game where Arsenal dropped two more points in the Premier League title race, the England international was also name-dropped by Wenger, alongside Haaland and Liverpool’s Salah.
The Merseyside superstar’s incidents, in particular, have open debates on whether Salah should remain Liverpool’s penalty taker having missed the last two. Yet for Wenger, pressure in key matches could be the reason why notable goalscorers are now blazing the ball wide of the target from the spot.
Wenger said when asked about Haaland’s penalty miss against Bayern: “It’s amazing how many players at the moment have missed the target. We have seen Salah, we have seen Saka and now we have seen Haaland. They’re goalscorers, that means that the pressure is very high on them.”
Wenger right to note pressure as a cause for recent Salah misses
Pressure gets to the best of footballers, even those who have taken numerous high-stake penalties in their careers, and for Salah, this unseen factor has seemingly been at work in the £34m winger’s mind, with the Liverpool star missing the target in his last two spot-kicks.
Whilst a player as good and as experienced as Salah shouldn’t succumb to such pressure, it is clear that the winger lost the mental battle the last two times he stepped up to the spot, and the 31-year-old can redeem himself by burying the next chance he gets.