5 Facts about Tottenham target, Hugo Lloris


Based on the form of the season gone by, there’s no urgent need for Tottenham to replace Brad Friedel. But obviously his ability to remain the Peter Pan of the Premier League will eventually come to an end and strong reports have circulated about Tottenham signing Hugo Lloris as the long-term replacement for the American.

Lloris is said to be keen on the move, with some reports claiming he has agreed personal terms. The sticking point is said to be Lyon’s colourful president, Jean Michel Aulas, who is said to be demanding €20 million, €5 million more than Spurs have reportedly offered.

It remains to be seen if the deal will be completed’ but the Frenchman is clearly a young man of uncommon maturity and ability. Here are five facts you might not have known about Hugo Lloris.

#1 During his time with Lyon, Lloris’s longest spell without conceding a goal last for 558 minutes. A run of five consecutive clean sheets came to an end when Cristiano Ronaldo put a goal past him in for Real Madrid in a Champions League tie.

#2 When Lloris first signed for Lyon from Nice in 2008, he went five games and 483 minutes (one of the games went to extra time and penalties) before conceding his first goal for his new club.

#3 The Nice native has been voted Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Season on three ocassions. His first accolade came in at the end of the 2008/09 season and his most recent came in the season just passed.

#4 Before joining Lyon, Lloris was on the verge of joining AC Milan. With terms agreed, the deal collapsed as Christain Abbiati refused a proposed move to Palermo.

#5 Lloris earned his first cap for France against Uruguay in November 2008 and almost exactly two years later was appointed captain for the first time as Les Bleus faced England at Wembley.


Szczesny Stars For Arsenal – 10 Goalkeepers Who Had A Good 2011

10 Goalkeepers Who’ll Look Back On 2011 with Fondness


Tim Krul (Newcastle)
Much improved on the Krul of old. For years the talent was obvious but the confidence was lacking. Last season was a case in point whereby his ability to make big saves was undermined with rushes of blood to the head and a string of inexplicable decisions. The 2011-12 season has seen a much improved Krul. He has developed an air of genuine authority and dominated his penalty area like never before. He has had a string of truly exceptional performances for Newcastle and established himself as one of the best in the league.

Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal)
Not dissimilar to Krul, Szczesny seems to be a more commanding and mature presence this season than the earlier version we had seen. After an impressive start to his Arsenal career, he made a handful of slip-ups that in some quarters warranted the application of the lazy and grossly unfair label of being ‘another Wenger keeper’. Since then however, he has responded superbly and his superb performances early in the season prevented a bad start to the season being a whole lot worse. Since then, Robin Van Persie has taken centre stage, but the contribution of the young Pole is not to be underestimated.

Michel Vorm (Utrecht, now Swansea)
Dutch football has few issues in producing top class talent, but the record of that talent flourishing in the Premier League is more patchy. Vorm had caught the eye while at Utrecht and thankfully his transition to English football has been more Van Nistelrooy than Kezman. His speed, agility and athleticism have lit up the league and already Swansea know they’ll have a job on their hands fending off the advances of the cash-rich vultures in the summer. Buy of the season? There’s a few months to go, but he’s already established a useful lead.

Manuel Neuer (Schalke, now Bayern Munich)
2011 wasn’t exactly his breakout year, but it did see him claim his place amongst the world’s elite. He was outstanding in Schalke’s unlikely run to the semi-finals of the Champions League and since he has handled the move to Bayern Munich very well, particularly in view of some of the pointless vitriol aimed at him by a small minority of Bayern ‘fans’. It’ll take another decade of high quality performances to establish himself as one of the greats in Bayern’s storied history, but the early evidence is he’s well positioned to do it.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Borussia Monchengladbach)
These are halcyon days for German goalkeepers and amidst a range of young custodians currently impressing in the Bundesliga, ter Stegen is arguably the most remarkable. He made his senior debut for the club as an 18 year old back in April of this year and has since has establish himself as not only first choice, but one of the most exciting goalkeeping talents in European football. Agile, aggressive and with a penchant for vocal organisation of his defenders, he’s very much in keeping with what we’ve come to expect from a German goalkeeper and it’s only a matter of time before he puts pressure on Neuer for the starting berth with the Mannschaft.


Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio)
The football world has known about Ochoa for several years now, but after a minor drugs controversy the interest of Europe’s big clubs dropped of substantially. Cognoscente of this fact, the Mexican made the surprise move of joining unfashionable Corsican outfit Ajaccio over the summer. Ochoa has always indicated this is intended as a step in the rehabilitation of his reputation with a view for moving up the ladder of European football at a later date and so far the gamble has paid off. Although his team sit at the bottom of the league with the worst goals conceded record, he has been in exceptional form, putting in a number of excellent displays to at least give the campaign a semblance of respectability. Ochoa will be moving on at the end of the season (if not sooner) and his performances in 2011 will be a large part of the reason why.

Thibaut Courtois (Genk, Atletico Madrid via Chelsea)
For Courtois 2011 merely continued the whirlwind that began the year previous when he broke through during Genk’s championship winning in Belgium. Immediately he stood out as something special, but there was still a degree of surprise when Chelsea snapped first and signed him for a fee rumoured to be around the £8 million mark. It was going to take a while before he truly challenged Petr Cech for the starting spot, so he was sent out to Atletico Madrid to learn his trade. This season has been typically turbulent for the red and white half of the Spanish capital, but the youngster has emerged with great credit for a series of athletic and mature displays. Given the startling collapse in Cech’s form, the eyes of the Chelsea coaching staff will be watching closely in coming months. If the call comes in 2012, Courtois might well be able to answer it.

Willy Caballero (Malaga)
As both clubs have regularly occupied the same tier of Spanish football in recent years, it feels a little odd to say that Malaga plucked Caballero from obscurity when they signed him as emergency cover from Elche earlier this year. With their petro-dollars however, the Anchovies have become an undisputed big fish of La Liga and Caballero has established his own place in the pond with a few months of solid performances. In a league filled with supremely talented goalkeepers, he doesn’t stand out as the most naturally gifted of players but he has an uncommon determination about him and that invaluable knack of always being able to get some part of his body in the way of the ball. The millions burning a hole in the pocket of the owner may mean they soon go more a more high profile name between the posts, but for the moment Caballero is a reliable part of the revolution.

Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Young, gifted and English has been something of a curse for goalkeepers in the last couple of decades, but this season Steele has suggested there’s something more to him than bluster and a nation’s desire to build up young goalkeepers only to knock them down. Boro have the best defensive record in the Championship this season and although he can’t claim all the credit for that, he has certainly played his part in it. You couldn’t exactly classify Tony Mowbray’s men as rampant free-scorers and as such, Steele’s saves have been hugely important in seeing his team through games that are balanced on a knife-edge. He’s got the agility and reflexes to become a top class keeper and although the plan will be to go up with Middlesbrough, he may find himself in the Premier League next season regardless of how the promotion push goes. There’s going to be a few blips along the way, but Steele has enjoyed a good year and it may be the first of many more.

Brad Friedel (Tottenham)
During his last few months at Aston Villa, Friedel gave the impression he was a goalkeeper coming to the end of his career. He was still capable of producing a moment of brilliance, but the legs seemed heavy and his limbs unable to execute the impulses of his brain. Were it not for financial difficulties, retirement may well have been the order of the day, but some bad investments have necessitated extending his career into his 5th decade. Unsurprisingly, Harry Redknapp wasn’t put off by his age and the risk has been rewarded with a series of high quality performances for Spurs. Again, he may not be around for much longer, but he’s enjoying a wonderful Indian summer and fans of goalkeeping would be well advised to enjoy it while they can.

Gomes Howler (Spurs v Real Madrid)

Apologies if this breaks some copyright infringement, but this is a superb picture taken from the BBC Sport website.
Unless of course you’re a Spurs fan, in which case it’s significantly less easy on the eye. Still though, Gomes’ howler wasn’t the reason the fantastic Champions League journey has come to an end – but Peter Crouch’s tackling very well might be.


As for the mistake, sadly it’s the type of error that Gomes seems to come up with sporadically. It can happen to anyone, but it seems to happen to him a little too often. For a team aspiring to one of the best teams in England and possibly Europe, ou would have to doubt whether or not he’s reliable enough for Spurs. The Brazilian does have a lot of strong points, but are the weaknesses a little too obvious a little too often?


Tottenham’s Goalkeeping Options

Heurehlo Gomes

Arry Needs To Invest In A Safe Pair Of Hands
You tore the European champions apart.
You showed skill and spirit to beat your fierce local rivals on their own patch. Seldom in the storied history of your club have team played such an entertaining brand of football. That’s the praise out of the way, now it’s time for a cloud to come across a sky that must be looking pretty blue to spurs fans at the moment.

At this stage there can be little doubt that Harry Redknapp is putting together of challenging England’s and Europe’s top clubs. better luck with injuries would go some way to plugging chasms often to be found in their rearguard, but while harry waits for bones to heal and muscles to loosen, he could do worse than examining his goalkeeping options. There’s a lot to like about Heurehlo Gomes. He’s superbly agile for a man of such physical stature. At times his ability to launch that frame across his goalmouth and get a vital hand to a goal-bound shot seems to defy the laws of motion. In this aspect, The Brazilian compares favourably with most goalkeepers in the premier league and beyond that, on the continent.

Whilst the spectacular dives are generally what get into the highlights packages and mentioned in the dispatches, it’s the other areas of his game that he falls down and these are the ones that will ending up costing Spurs. His handling struggles have been well documented and his reputation as a calamity keeper was unfairly enhanced in the Nani/phantom free-kick incident at Old Trafford. One word that features regularly in relation to the Tottenham keeper in the scouting notes I compile is ‘indecision’. He seems to take a relatively long time to decide whether to stick or twist and in the fast pace of the Premier League, that will get punished. His slight hesitancy against Arsenal allowed Samir Nasri to open the scoring and were it not for that spirited fightback, it could have made for a very difficult afternoon.

If Spurs intend to challenge for leagues and European Cups, they will need a better all-round performer. The full stretch of Gomes saves are lovely to watch, but too much of the rest of his game is suspect and will cost his team, quite possibly at crucial stages in domestic and European competitions. On the bench, the options aren’t great. Carlo Cudicini was an excellent goalkeeper in his day, but at 37 years of age won’t be any sort of long term solution. Ben Alnwick seemed to show flashes of potential a couple of years ago, but his career path since would suggest there’s limited faith in his ability. At youth levels, they’ve got some really good prospects. In David Button, they have a young goalkeeper who has amassed a huge number of caps at England’s youth levels and is building up experience in the lower leagues. He’s one for the future whilst Tottenham’s problems are very much in the present. Results are going well for the moment, but Harry needs to strengthen his goalkeeping his options very soon to keep his team moving on up.

Heurelho Gomes Howler v Man Utd

Heurelho Gomes

It was an error compounded by an error, compounded by couple of serious doses of egotism.
The records will see it as another howler for Heurelho Gomes and God knows that wasn’t exactly a file in need of further boosting. Events in Old Trafford on Saturday evening showcased all that’s worst about modern football – a lack of sportsmanship, referees obsessed with being the centre of attention and the inadequacy of rules that are poorly administered in the first place.

First and foremost, Gomes made a mistake. From an early age, the phrase ‘play the whistle’ is drilled into the heads of all aspiring football stars as if it were the mantra of a cult religion. There was no whistle and as blatant as Nani’s handball was, making assumptions can only lead to trouble. With the clock ticking down, the noise of Old Trafford at full capacity and his team in desperate need of an equaliser, it’s easy to understand the haste Gomes employed in taking the ‘free-kick’, but more a touch more concentration would have established there was no whistle.

Blame must also go to shameless cheat, Nani. The Portuguese winger was supposed to step into the shoes of Ronaldo and for most of his time with Man Utd, that hope seemed hugely unfounded. In recent months however, he’s raised his game and he’s been a joy to much for the most part. Sadly now it looks like he wants to step into his compatriot’s shoes not only in terms of contribution to the team, but in seeking to make ill-gotten gains through simulation and gamesmanship. Having been the player to have so clearly handled the ball, Nani should have recognised the mistake Gomes had made and left well enough alone. Ironically, the fact that he played the whistle in this instance is not to be applauded because any player with an ounce of sportsmanship would have refused to take advantage of a clear misunderstanding.

Third and most culpable are Mark Clattenburg and the rules of the game. When the goal was scored, there was an opportunity to rectify the error. He could have ruled it out and awarded the free-kick or alternatively he could have allowed the goal stand and insist Man Utd allow Spurs score an uncontested goal. As ludicrous as the latter solution sounds, there are several precedents for this. Just what the referee and his assistant referee discussed will probably never fully be known, but it was clear from the events it was an unfortunate misunderstanding. Clattenburg seems to enjoy the infamy that comes with controversial decisions and one has to question whether – given the option – he’d choose what is just over what is going to get him talked about. The advantage rule is still a grey area in football. It was hurriedly added to the rules a few years back and contains a couple of loopholes. What exactly constitutes an ‘advantage’? Having the ball is a start, but there are many occasions when a player finds himself surrounded by opponents and would surely prefer to have the free-kick. In other common situations, a team may prefer to take the free-kick if only to waste a few seconds or stabilise a team that may have been struggling. In rugby a team can turn down advantage by committing an error of their own. Should the situation dictate many a player has deliberately knocked on and taken the ensuing penalty. In football, some sort of a signal or action by a player to signify the rejection of advantage.

Review the incident again here and if we get enough support we’ll take our idea to FIFA who’ll listen attentively before doing nothing.

As an aside, it must be particularly disappointing for Gomes who has worked hard and improved significantly to overturn the calamitous reputation he earned from several spectacular howlers during the early days of his time in England. He’s still some way to go to be considered genuinely top class, but he’s progressed substantially from the laughing stock of a couple of seasons ago. It’s a shame he’ll forever be associated with this comical indcident.