Another mistake from Hugo Lloris has led to calls for the Tottenham goalkeeper to be dropped. Here, @TalkingTHFC acknowledges manager Mauricio Pochettino has a big decision to make before the end of the season.
Here we are again.
Let’s start off by saying the 2-1 defeat at Anfield was no one single player’s fault. Scratch that, it was Hugo, definitely Hugo.
I feel like I find myself sitting here every few months saying the same thing, whether about the Spurs captain or another player.
Tottenham continue to be their own worst enemy. When I look back at the games we’ve lost this season, I can rarely say we’ve played badly. In fact, the game at Liverpool yesterday was one of our best displays for quite some time.
But the fact still remains that individual errors are our biggest downfall. Just this season alone, Michel Vorm made a double blunder in the return game against Liverpool, Kieran Trippier at Chelsea and so many more countless examples.
Even analysing our captain alone, only Everton keeper Jordan Pickford (9) has made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League since the 2016/17 season than Lloris (8), and most of those were at Sunderland. I mean, really?
The official line from Mauricio Pochettino continues to be that his players are punching well above their weight and continuing to learn. But where do we draw the line?
Spurs have the fourth highest average age of any squad in the top six this season. The suggestion that this is a young crop still learning just isn’t an argument. The hierarchy at the club just can’t make that excuse anymore I’m afraid.
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We simply had to add to the squad over the last two windows, but for reasons we can’t explain, we haven’t. This summer, Tottenham need a huge overhaul of names, but the likelihood of that is slim to none. Investment is key in the Premier League, just ask Liverpool.
Returning to the dilemma at hand, what does Pochettino do about his goalkeeper conundrum?
Does he keep faith in World Cup-winning Lloris, does he finally give Paulo Gazzaniga an extended run, or does he dip into the market?
The Frenchman continues to be a frustration to fans. He proved away at Borussia Dortmund not three weeks ago he can be the difference when it really matters. But on Sunday he proved once again that he can be the exact opposite.
Hugo's howlers this season
A World Cup final gaffe has been followed by a number of high profile mistakes this season
3rd Oct 2018 – Lloris comes flying out to close down Jordi Alba despite having four defenders back. Fails to meet Alba, who passes to Coutinho for 1-0 after two minutes
24th Oct 2018 – Is sent off for a reckless challenge against PSV. Spurs draw 2-2, left with one point after three Champions League group games
13th Jan 2019 – Fails to stop Marcus Rashford’s tame effort across goal at his near post in the defeat to Man United
31st March 2019 – Is unable to catch a weak effort from Mohamed Salah leading to a Toby Alderweireld own goal
Gazzaniga has proven time and time again in a Spurs shirt he has what it takes to succeed as our number one. But the gaffer has put himself in this sticky situation by making Lloris captain. With the armband clamped to his arm and a World Cup medal around his neck, how could he possibly drop the Frenchman?
Well, Mauricio, it’s getting to a stage where you need to make that call. This could be a defining decision in his career, and one he absolutely must get right.
Nail it, and Spurs transform into a progressive team that can quickly counter thanks to the prowess of the Argentine’s kicking ability. Stick with Lloris, and the monthly mistake he makes may become a weekly occurrence.
But, there is a third option. Do Tottenham actually go out and sign a new first-choice goalkeeper?
It’s been seven years since the club last had to replace their number one, and some would argue the significant jumps made in stature since then could help to attract a player of an even higher calibre than Lloris.
I don’t want to sound dramatic, but I’d literally sell a kidney to get Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak on board.
But, I’m not the one in the driving seat. Mr Pochettino, now is the time to stick your neck out. Do you stick, or do you twist? This summer, we may actually find out.