TottenhamWhen it emerged that Tottenham Hotspur were closing in on the signing of Hugo Lloris from Olympique Lyonnais, fans were excited and rightly so. The 25-year-old is one of the most highly rated goalkeepers in Europe and the current France number one. Discussion was rife as to whether he would dislodge Brad Friedel in the Spurs net early on and continued right up until the 3-1 defeat with Reading last weekend, but we’ll get to that later.

With Lloris signing after 12pm on transfer deadline day, the Frenchman wasnai??i??t eligible to play in the encounter with Norwich City the following day. Nevertheless, had the deal even gone through, the Frenchman was never going to find himself in the starting XI for the game against the Canaries on the 1st of September.

The game itself ended 1-1, with Friedel picking up the man of the match award following a string of impressive saves to deny Russell Martin, Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington and Bradley Johnson, before Scotland international Snodgrass netted the equaliser late on. Mousa Dembele, making his debut following his A?15m move from Fulham, had opened the scoring just 24 minutes, having started the game from the bench.

The much maligned controversy began once the game had ended. Head-coach Andre Villas-Boas, having seen his team booed off the pitch by the home team, was undoubtedly set to undergo another stern test from the media following back-to-back stalemates in games which, many believe, they shouldai??i??ve won.

Under the microscope, Villas-Boas responded expertly and professionally, but it wasnai??i??t until the final question fired his way that saw his quotes picked up upon. Unsurprisingly, it involved Friedel and Lloris. The delay in this question being brought up was in fact fairly surprising. Many had pondered whether the latter would replace the former instantaneously or whether the 34-year-old would give his number one the opportunity to extend his already impressive 307 consecutive game record.

Given his performance on the afternoon, he insisted that Friedel would remain his number one for the time being, insisting that Lloris has to work hard in order to dislodge the Premier League veteran. A straight forward answer to a straight forward question, right? Wrong. Villas-Boas was lambasted by the media and, perhaps more notably, France head-coach Didier Deschamps.

ai???Hugo has not appreciated the statements of his coach,ai??? Deschamps was quoted as saying in various media outlets. ai???I am not going to create a problem that I do not need to today. But if it were to happen then it would need some consideration. I do not want Hugo to find himself in this situation.ai???

Oh Didier; what have you done? As if the national press didnai??i??t have enough ammo for their already cocked guns, you basically rocked up, Nicholas Cage style, to outlay the latest weapons in your armory. Unsurprisingly, the media ate up the quotes. They jumped on the ai???Lloris unhappyai??i?? bandwagon and conjured up their own version of the story, all of which culminated in the fault being laid squarely at the feet of Villas-Boas.

It came at a particularly bad time for the 34-year-old, who was already under enough pressure at Spurs having picked up just two points from the opening three games. Furthermore, the international break meant a further two weeks of similar style reporting from the national papers. Lloris, as down to earth as he is, insisted he was focused on Franceai??i??s opening encounters with Finland and Belarus in Group I of the World Cup qualifiers.

Fast forward to last weekendai??i??s encounter with Reading. Many had tipped Friedel to retain his place in the starting XI and when Villas-Boas made the admission that the American was to start, a number of media outlets were shocked by the news, one major news channel opting to promote the information via the fabled yellow banner along the bottom of the screen.

As previously mentioned, Spurs secured a 3-1 win that afternoon at the Madejski Stadium, a brace from Jermain Defoe and a solitary strike from Gareth Bale secured Villas-Boasai??i?? first three points since his appointment in July. Friedel was rarely called upon, but when he was; he dealt with the ensuing danger with relative ease.

Lloris had been tipped to start the Europa League encounter with Lazio and, as expected, took place in between the sticks and, like Friedel against Reading, had a quiet evening against the Serie A giants, but looked comfortable when called upon regardless. This brings us to the eve of the return to Premier League action and a tough task against big spending Queenai??i??s Park Rangers.

The West London side had a busy transfer window, bringing in the likes of Julio Cesar, Park Ji-Sung and Stephane Mai??i??Bia as Mark Hughes looks to build upon their Premier League survival. A tough encounter for Spurs and one that is sure to be closer than last seasonai??i??s 3-1 win for the North Londoners.

However, it brings about the Lloris-Friedel debate once again. Does Villas-Boas hand the Frenchman his Premier League debut? Or does he allow ai???Uncle Bradai??i?? the opportunity the make it 309 consecutive Premiership stars? The latter seems a better option for now.

Granted, Lloris will eventually take over the mantle from Friedel, but until he is accustomed to the rigours of English football, Villas-Boas needs to persist with his number one rather than shake up the starting XI for the fifth game of the season.

Yes, the Frenchman is far more suited for the 34-year-oldai??i??s system; high defensive line which requires a keeper who isnai??i??t afraid to act as a sweeper-keeper. Unfortunately, this renders Friedel particularly useless, in that respect. The American has shown time and time again that he is afraid to venture into his 18-yard box, often acting as though he is superglued to his line.

Despite this, his experience and consistency should see him start under Villas-Boas, for the time being at least. Lloris will unquestionably take over from Friedel in the foreseeable future, and many would be shocked if he hasnai??i??t been instilled as his number one by the end of the calendar year. However, a few more starts in cup competitions, like Lazio on Thursday and as he should against Carlisle United in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night. A few more games of the ilk will be enough for the Frenchman to gain the required experience to succeed Friedel at Spurs. But until then; Villas-Boas will be right to persist with the American, for the time being at least.

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One Response to “Tottenham Hotspur – Why Villas Boas Needs To Persist With Brad Friedel”

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  1. davspurs says:

    Please trust me when i say this Lloris is 25 that does not make you a good keeper but had skill area command and speed of the mark and it does make a different s. When he looked beat against Lazio when the ball hit the bar he was right there if the ball had bean lower he would have tipped it over Friedel makes good saves when they are in his comfort zone anything outside he looks 41. Let me explain the longer the game goes on the slower your reaction become hence the late goals we keep conceding, Our defence was a lot younger against Lazio and the real score we all know was 2-0, this was our age against Reading 41 21 35 25 22 combined was 144 years old against Lazio it was 25 21 25 20 22 a combined age of 113 the end result a clean sheet . So to beat QpR we need to lower our defensive age and make our attack more creative Hudds and Lloris. If we do this it should help us achieve a win if AVB and our fans have seen the bigger picture clean sheets would have meant four wins.