Cartilage Free Captain is again reviewing the Tottenham Hotspur first team players after the conclusion of the 2016-17 season. Up next: goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Appearances: 42 (33 PL, 1 FA, 8 Champions League)
Goals Conceded: 24
What went right?
Hugo Lloris was exceptional in his fifth season with the club. Lloris racked up fifteen clean sheets and was only one shutout shy away from the league leader, Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, in this statistic. Lloris also played three less matches in the Premier League than his West London counterpart. Lloris conceded the least amount of goals of any starting goalkeeper too and was central to Tottenham’s outstanding defense, which only surrendered twenty-six goals for the entirety of the 2016-17 campaign.
Hugo’s consistency is remarkable. He’s been among the best goalkeepers in the Premier League since his first appearance for the club way back in 2012 and has remained France’s unquestioned number one throughout this spell as well.
Yet what continues to set Spurs’ captain apart from other goalkeepers is his ability to travel from the safe confines of his eighteen yard box and snuff out threats before they fully develop. Hugo rarely ranks high in the “saves” category each year, and while the formidable backline in front of him helps limit opportunities for the opposition, his penchant for reading the game and taking decisive action off his line is a massive feature for the club. His comfort level higher up the pitch allows Spurs’ press to be just a bit more piercing as he limits quick counters over the top of defense when Tottenham lose possession.
What went wrong?
Hugo missed a few games earlier in the season, which isn’t his fault, but was still a bummer. In general, Hugo’s health has been strong, but he’s never been a goalkeeper who has been fit for the entirety of a campaign. This is infinitesimal, but its worth noting.
The other knock on Lloris this year is immeasurable and equally small, but in the few games we lost this year, Hugo came up short. He is pristine in that he never does anything too egregious, yet there is some nitpicking to be had. I am probably going to get HAMMERED for this, but a prime example of him not living up to his own standard in big matches was the first goal of our FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea. Willian’s free kick was well-struck with pace, yet the shot, between Hugo’s knees and shoulders, was certainly in his wheelhouse. It also was hit on the half of the net that the wall wasn’t defending. Was there a deflection? Slightly, maybe? Would it have been an incredible save? Absolutely. But if the club is trying to win cups than those are saves that should be made if you the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. While Spurs drew level shortly thereafter, the goal set an ominous tone for the match.
At twenty-nine years old Hugo Lloris is in the prime of his career and was awarded a new contract that keeps him with the club through the 2022 season. It is a mark of the current state of the club that we will be able to retain a goalkeeper of his stature through the apex of his career. Hugo has been in the argument for best goalkeeper in the Premier League from the minute he stepped foot in a Spurs shirt and this will continue to be in that discussion for the foreseeable future.
We are beyond lucky to have him between the pipes. He is the captain of the side and will go down, along with Pat Jennings, as the greatest goalkeeper to ever play for the club. The lack of flamboyance and utter consistency makes it a bit easy to sleep on how impressive Hugo’s Tottenham career has been so far. Now let’s add some trophies to that legacy!