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Tottenham Hotspur

“Hugo Lloris won’t take Tottenham to the top of the table” – is there any truth behind claims?

It was a bitterly disappointing day for Tottenham yesterday as, in their first match at their new ‘home’ Wembley Stadium, they were dramatically beaten by arch-rivals Chelsea in a see-saw game.

Marcos Alonso’s inspired double – including a sensational first-half free-kick – proved enough to subject Tottenham to their first defeat of the new season and kick-start Chelsea’s own campaign.

It was perhaps an undeserved result on the balance of play, with Tottenham dominating their opponents for large parts of the game, but Antonio Conte’s make-shift side were dogged at the back.

But some people in particular haven’t held back with their individual thoughts on where the blame should be placed, with ex-Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino laying into Tottenham ‘keeper Hugo Lloris.

Speaking to talkSPORT on Monday morning he said that he’s had a lot of reservations about the Frenchman for a while now, claiming that he isn’t improving at a rate that is helping his teammates. In brief, he argued:

“Everyone looks at Hugo Lloris and thinks he is a natural first choice and he is going to be there for years and years and I am not convinced by that. This is just not off the back of yesterday. I saw Hugo play a number of games for [former club] Lyon.

“He is a not a great ball player, he is rash at times when he comes off his line and sometimes he gets beaten too easily. With that, he is not the biggest, most commanding goalkeeper. Maybe that is being harsh, but there’s a fine line for Tottenham being successful and going that one step further.”

It’s a frank assessment of a player that has often been considered in the same bracket as fellow goalkeepers David de Gea, Thibaut Courtois and Petr Cech, but is there any truth behind his claims?

Firstly it is important to admit that the 30-year-old was partly at fault for Chelsea’s winner, allowing Alonso’s drive to squirm underneath him and through his grasp, and he’ll know he made a critical mistake.

However, it happens to any goalkeeper at the top level – even if the timing of this particular error was unfortunate – and it is worth noting it was Victor Wanyama’s initial mistake that began that move.

It is hard to justify tainting a top-class goalkeeper from just one, untimely error though; last season alone Lloris (15) kept more clean sheets than De Gea (14) and only one less than Courtois (16), also conceding less goals (24 compared to 29 and 28) than his top rivals, so it’s hard to picture Cascarino’s argument.

In addition to this the French number one made more saves (64) across the Premier League season despite playing less matches, and made 2.87 saves per goal in comparison to 2.10 for the other two.

Even without looking at the statistics it’s not hard to figure out that there is a big correlation between Lloris’ arrival at White Hart Lane in 2012 and their respective Premier League finishes since, and although he can’t take all the plaudits for their progress he’s played a huge, commanding role leading from the back.

The other point to bring up regarding Cascarino’s statement is, who does he think is a better option?

During his chat with talkSPORT he referenced both Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford, but both are currently content at their respective top-flight clubs, so where else would Spurs turn for a world-class stopper?

There’s little doubt that he’s the man to take Tottenham forward for the next five years at least, leading them closer towards silverware, and don’t bet against him putting in an inspired display on Sunday.

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