Who are the best penalty takers in the Premier League?

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Rickie Lambert's goal for Southampton on Saturday was doubly significant. Firstly, and most importantly, it carried Saints further away from the relegation mire, and plunged Aston Villa into the Premier League's depths.

But Lambert's conversion from the spot at Villa Park also ensured the 30-year-old maintained his remarkable record of scoring every penalty he has taken for Southampton - 31 goals from 31 attempts.

Southampton have an impressive history when it comes to potent penalty takers, with the club's all-time legend, Matthew Le Tissier, failing only once from 49 kicks during his 16 seasons on the south coast.

Le Tissier is widely regarded as the finest penalty specialist ever in the English game, although Lambert has the credentials to surpass the achievements of the former England international.

Like Lambert, Premier League counterparts Mario Balotelli (eight) and Leighton Baines (ten) have 100 percent penalty records, while West Ham midfielder Mark Noble, Norwich's Grant Holt, Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Arsenal vice-captain Mikel Arteta all impress from the spot.

But Lambert stands above all of them for the sheer volume of penalties he has scored (albeit the majority have been outside the top-flight) and could be remembered as one of the league's most powerful forces from 12-yards.

Lambert can boast a significantly better record than the Premier League's most established strikers, with the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney far less trustworthy from the spot.

Rooney's penalty record has come under scrutiny this season, particularly following the arrival of the more adept Van Persie, with Sir Alex Ferguson telling the Manchester United striker he must improve.

The 27-year-old has scored 18 from 26 for Manchester United - an unremarkable conversion rate of 69 percent - while Van Persie has netted 19 out 24 during his career.

Chelsea, like Manchester United, have also had their problems with penalties this season - with Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Fernando Torres all having a go in the absence of Frank Lampard.

The 34-year-old has been on hand to score with each of Chelsea's last two penalties, and has scored with almost 95 percent of the 54 spot-kicks he has taken during his career.

Lampard continues to rank among Europe's current elite of spot-kick specialists, and can boast a record similar to that of Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has scored with 94 percent of almost 50 penalties for Manchester United and Real Madrid, and it is one attribute of his that is unquestionably stronger than great rival Lionel Messi.

Messi continues to break new ground in goalscoring history, but the Barcelona superstar has an average penalty conversion record - having missed seven times for Barca, including the the Champions League semi-final defeat to Chelsea.

Chelsea went on to win the competition courtesy of a penalty shootout triumph and, when analysing penalty success, it would be foolish not to mention the impressive record of Bradford City.

Victory over Arsenal in the quarter-final of this season's Capital One Cup was their ninth consecutive penalty success - an English record.

Although an impressive statistic, it is perhaps less remarkable then another record set in an English cup competition little over a year earlier, 27 penalties were scored in succession in a Johnstones Paint Trophy meeting between Leyton Orient and Dagenham and Redbridge.

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