Hugo Lloris, the man once hailed as the Premier League’s greatest ‘sweeper keeper’, increasingly looks like a liability for Tottenham.
The Frenchman endured several shaky moments against Benfica, as Spurs once again looked the architects of their own downfall, though fortunately none of his mistakes actually contributed to goals.
However, all eyes were on Lloris after he mishandled for Chelsea’s last goal in the weekend’s 4-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge after a mix-up with Kyle Walker, and this season has turned out to be something of a catalogue of errors from the man who keeps veteran Brad Friedel out of the team.
Lloris’s chief problem is, put simply, he is far, far too eager to come off his line. It was what caused Jens Lehmann’s downfall at Arsenal, but down the road lessons have not been learnt. His distribution certainly leaves much to be desired, but in his two seasons in north London, he has impressed with his bravery when facing attackers. Yet, in the second half of this season, he has come unstuck too often, many times with disastrous results.
The turning point appears to have been Spurs’ match away at Everton, which miraculously ended 0-0 even after Lloris played on with concussion. The club were lambasted by numerous health charities after allowing Lloris to continue after he received a blow to the head in a collision with Romelu Lukaku.
It seems he has not been the same since, though that may also be down to a lack of confidence (coinciding with his side’s erratic results in the Premier League). For the first time in a number of years, Spurs have looked completely outclassed when facing England’s top four clubs, losing 6-0 at Manchester City, 5-0 at home to Liverpool, 5-1 at home to City and now 4-0 away at Chelsea.
In many of Spurs’ wallopings, Lloris has not been at fault, but what is evident is a lack of communication with a haphazard defence. If Lloris is to continue playing the ‘sweeper keeper’, it must become a focus on the training ground as it is undoubtedly a tactic that has turned into a force of more harm than good.
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