In some respects, playing goalkeeper professionally can be one of the most thankless, what have you done for me lately roles in all of sport. If a striker mishandles a pass typically the team has time to recover. Even when a defender losses the ball there is still the keeper to cover. However, when a goalkeeper makes a mistake there is no where to hide and typically no one to call for help. Such is the fickle nature of playing one of the most important positions on the pitch and part of the pressure facing Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris.
Hugo Lloris has made a few errors here and there historically and sometimes a few get through that should not. However, by and large Hugo Lloris has been really good for a really long time for Tottenham and such was the case Thursday evening. Tottenham go comfortably back to London up three goals, but some of that is because of Lloris saving the day in the 1-4 win.
One Big Moment for Hugo Lloris
Hugo Lloris made three saves officially and all were in the first half. On two of the three saves Lloris did well doing exactly what every keep should. Hugo got his body well behind the first strike make a clean save and got down well on the third effort. With both there was no rebound – despite a lurking Wolfsberger player ready.
Those two a couple of relatively routine saves Hugo Lloris should be expected to make and did. However, it was that second save in-between that was a real hum-dinger. Tottenham had given the ball away cheaply on a poor long ball out of bounds. Wolfsberger quickly turned that throw-in into an opportunity and got down Spurs left flank.
The ball came across the pitch and just over the head of a jumping but just not high enough Matt Doherty. Dario Vizinger powered the header well on target. Lloris then demonstrated he can still do one at least one of the two things he is most known for – make a reaction save. Being an excellent sweeper keeper is another but I digress.
All Hugo Lloris or any keeper has is their reaction and this instance it was enough to parry the ball up onto the crossbar. Eric Dier then came in and cleared the ball out of danger and the moment was passed. Many of the saves keeper make are routine, but the greats make big saves at big times, this was one for Tottenham.
Just three minutes after the Lloris save Lucas Moura was weaving his way through traffic and scoring Spurs third for the three goal advantage. 0-3 is a lot better than 1-2 and that moment was possible because of Hugo’s big save.
Tottenham still did not get nor likely deserve the shutout
Tottenham and in particular Hugo Lloris probably has to feel a bit hard done over the penalty that cost Spurs the shutout versus Wolfsberger. Lloris hardly put a foot out all game beyond his big saves. Hugo cleared one ball about 25 yards away from goal – something we haven’t seen that often this year. Lloris also had a nice claim on one of the only two corners Wolfsberger took.
However, Hugo was once again let down by his defense and dumb mistakes that led to a penalty kick, something knew was an issue coming in, yet we pretty much handed them anyway.
Moussa Sissoko committed a sloppy foul after poorly controlling the ball at the top of the box. It was frankly a situation the Frenchman never should have been in. Tottenham had a goal kick and Hugo touched the ball to Eric Dier.
Instead of going wide to his left to Ben Davies or across the field wide right to Toby Alderweireld, Dier decided to play the ball to Sissoko who was facing Spurs goal with a defender closing from his back and his right. Predictably a poor touch ensued and it led to the foul. It was bad by Sissoko but poor decision making by Dier to put his teammate in that situation when no one was covering Toby wide right.
Not the first time Spurs have let Hugo Lloris down
Sure Hugo Lloris could have done better with Alexander-Arnold’s shot, maybe on a different day he stop both of Ilkay Gundogan’s weak goals. However, Hugo has been under constant pressure all season and the team has really let him down of late. This is especially true of the deep midfield, which alone has given up 5 goals in the last month.
Sissoko can be blamed – again along with Dier – for the goal on Thursday. Prior to that against Everton, it was the poor giveaway of Harry Winks that led to the unbalanced defense and Everton possession on the game winning goal.
Even Tottenham superman, Pierre Højbjerg, has been responsible for some of Spurs self-inflicted wounds. In fact the Dane has been responsible for three goals himself with a give away and then two penalties in the last two weeks.
Bottom line is for Spurs to win, they need big moments from Hugo Lloris. As one of the best keepers in the world, we can expect a few. However, to win consistently and to get shutouts, Spurs need consistent team defense where they avoid poor turnovers and errors leaving Hugo more or less helpless.
On Thursday Hugo Lloris did his part coming up with one world class save when he had too. Now can the defense and team as a whole start doing their part and make better decisions and play better with the ball to avoid the bad situations that lead to poor goals? That is a question only time will answer.