Squad Analysis #1 - Hugo Lloris

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Growing up and watching players, it's often a dream to see ones idolised play for your club. When that dream becomes a reality, there is no better feeling than seeing said player pull on your teams’ shirt, no matter the position. This is very much the case for Tottenham Hotspur’s current goalkeeping custodian, Hugo Lloris.

A regular addition to my Pro Evolution Soccer 6 Master League team, I followed Lloris during his time at both Nice and Lyon, so it was clear to me that the Frenchman had talent. So, when Spurs captured the signing of the France captain last August, I couldn't have been happier.

His rapidness from his line, coupled with his ability with the ball at his feet was a welcome addition to the starting XI, especially with Brad Friedel's continuous hesitancy to stray even a yard from his goal line.

While it took some time for Lloris to really establish himself as Tottenham’s number one, he has since secured his place in the first team, despite the beginning of his run as the club's shotstopper coming in the 5-2 defeat to Arsenal back in November.

However, since Andre Villas-Boas swapped his two goalkeepers around, the defensive solidity has been evident. Rushing from his line in order to prevent attacks at the drop of a hat, a far cry from Friedel during his time as number one, the backline are now more confident in the man behind them preventing any danger should any balls over the top or in behind the defence look to threaten the Spurs goal.

In fact, the improvements in the defence are clear to see, with Spurs conceding 16 goals in the 10 games Friedel was in between the sticks compared to the 21 in 20 that Lloris has started, the former conceding a goal every 56 minutes - or 1.6 goals per game - rather than the latter's one goal every 85 minutes - a rate of 1.05 per game.

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On top of that, it's telling that the American veteran had failed to keep a clean sheet during those ten games; a stark contrast from the seven Lloris has kept during his time in goal. Furthermore, the fact that the France international has been forced into only 10 more saves - 34 in comparison to Friedel's 24 - points towards his ability to sniff out danger prior to any threat being made from an opposing side.

His command of his area is also a bonus, having made 23 high cross catches in comparison to Friedel's 6, further showcasing Lloris' ability when moving away from his goal line. Furthermore, having made just three errors compared to two, the Frenchman may've been at fault for more defensive mishaps than Friedel, but going 600 minutes without an error compared to 450, the stats definitely highlight that the former Lyon number one is deserving of his place in the starting XI.

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His ability and swiftness off his line has also, arguably, brought out the best in Michael Dawson. The England international had been expected to depart White Hart Lane over the summer, with his lack of pace supposedly a key factor as to why he wasn't being selected.

However, while Dawson still isn't the quickest of defenders, the reassuring presence of Lloris behind him means that this is no longer an issue as it would've been had Friedel been in goal, made all the more pivotal with Villas-Boas' insistence in playing the higher defensive line.

Granted, Friedel has been a vital component of the Spurs team, last year and the beginning of the current campaign especially so, but the fact remains that Lloris is much better suited to Villas-Boas' gameplan as a result of his “Sweeper-Keeper” tag, with the aforementioned stats reinforcing this.

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