Hugo Lloris is one of the Premier League’s finest goalkeepers. On many occasions he has kept Tottenham in contention of winning matches, just like versus West Brom recently. His shot-stopping, reactions and control of the penalty area and back line are all exemplary. In terms of Premier League goalkeepers he is only beaten by David de Gea, who is one of the top goalkeepers in the world.
There is one aspect of Lloris’ game that needs drastic improvement if he is to be considered as one of the greats in the pantheon of goalkeeping, and that is his concentration.
Goalkeepers are prone to bad spells every now and then. David de Gea and Joe Hart are two high profile goalkeepers who had turbulent times in their careers. When de Gea arrived from Átletico he struggled under high balls from crosses and corners. Joe Hart was dropped last season after a series of calamities culminating in Fernando Torres’ last minute winner at Stamford Bridge.
It’s one thing for a first-choice ‘keeper to make a mistake. It is critical when a second choice ‘keeper makes a mistake.
In January we saw Michel Vorm put in a mixed performance in the FA Cup that ended with him spilling Jeffrey Schlupp’s tame stoppage time winner in to his own net. Hugo Lloris’ first clanger came under similar circumstances.
Second fiddle to Brad Friedel on his debut season, Hugo Lloris was only playing Europa League games for Tottenham. Lack of match-sharpness may have been an issue but Lloris failed to clear a Kyle Naughton backpass which led to Maribor’s first and only goal. Under some pressure the Frenchman failed to make a substantial clearance which would have definitely stopped the goal.
First choice ‘keeper by November 2013, the shotstopper was beaten by a magnificent Jesus Navas strike after 14 seconds. His failure again to clear a backpass saw the ball fall to Aguero, whom he made a smart recovery save from, only to be beaten by the onrushing Spaniard.
At Stamford Bridge in December Hugo Lloris’ poor goal-kick allowed a chance for Didier Drogba to score for the home side. Crucially, it was the second goal of the game and it put real daylight between the two London clubs.
The most recent mistake was against Liverpool in Anfield on the 10th of February. What could turn out to be a pivotal game in the battle for fourth, the Lilywhites were coming off the back of a massive victory over Arsenal. Tottenham were in contention of getting a result but were behind after 15 minutes when Lazar Markovic won the second ball in Spurs’ half and was allowed advance to the penalty area. He hit a low strike across the goals to Lloris’ left that he got down to quickly to, but let the ball bounce haplessly off his hand and in to the goals behind him. Liverpool went on to win the match 3-2.
Hugo Lloris is a wonderful goalkeeper. He is agile, acrobatic and is the best sweeper ‘keeper other than Neuer. I don’t believe Tottenham could get a better goalie if they scouted the length and breadth of the world, but there is something inside of him that allows him to collapse under the pressure of a big match. If he can work on this aspect of his game, then he can seriously be considered as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever to have played football.