As the final whistle was blown at Spur’s shiny new stadium on Wednesday night, amidst the emotion and pride in North London, there will have been a great deal of relief.
A 2-0 win over Crystal Palace was enough for Tottenham to climb back up to third in the table and keep their top four ambitions on track.
It was a result which came off the back of a run of five games without a victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s men as their title ambitions melted into a mad scramble for Champions League qualification.
A win and, perhaps more importantly, a clean sheet will be a massive morale boost for everyone at Spurs, especially their French World Cup winning ‘keeper Hugo Lloris.
The Spurs number one has been the subject of considerable criticism this season, culminating in his late howler during the 1-2 defeat to Liverpool last weekend.
It was the keeper’s late blunder, from Mo Salah’s tame header, that left Spurs at the mercy of other results in their hopes to cementing an essential Champions League place. Lloris, for years so reliable and considered one of the best in the business has suddenly given Spurs something to ponder as they plan for life in their new home.
Lloris came into this season off the back of the highest accolade in the game. A World Cup winner with France in Russia 2018, the ‘keeper should have been at the very peak of his powers.
Things haven’t been that straight forward though, as they seldom are. Lloris’ form had been on the patchy side at times last season and a few wobbly moments for France, particularly in the final against Croatia hinted at a man not entirely in a great place. The errors have followed him from Moscow and snowballed this season.
Currently sitting near the top of the Premier League error table, Spurs fans can rightly question whether he is currently the man to help safeguard their lofty ambitions.
Against Liverpool last weekend, there were a few moments when Tottenham’s back line were visibly reluctant to play anything back to their ‘keeper and were put under more pressure as a result.
To not trust a fellow teammate on the pitch is damning and a sign that players are perhaps covering up a weak link.
A ‘keeper should be organizing, shouting, and breeding confidence into his rearguard. Lloris is far from a lost cause and has shown in flashes this season, such as the North London derby at Wembley, that he can still produce big moments in games, but Spurs are discovering the hard way that a dodgy keeper is a terrible detriment to any lofty ambitions they may harbour.
The harsh reality for Lloris and Spurs is that any weakness, when you are competing at the highest levels in football can be brutally exposed.
Their opponents last weekend know all about having substandard goalkeepers, costing them dearly. Liverpool persevered for years with ‘keepers who were only ever moments away from a calamity that could cost their side a big game.
Now Simon Mingolet and Loris Karius where never anywhere near the level of Hugo Lloris, but their frequent errors serve as a warning to Spurs. The bottom line is, you cannot progress with a dodgy goalkeeper.
Liverpool spent big on Alisson Becker last summer and the Brazilian has helped transform their defensive capabilities. It’s something worthy of consideration for Tottenham.
Their French number one has been an excellent servant to the club. On his day he still looks the part, but the amount of errors he has made this season cannot be overlooked.
It could well be that the North London club has a decision to make. The tight purse strings in operation by Daniel Levy may scupper any recruitment this summer. However, perhaps Lloris actually needs some real competition. Paulo Gazzaniga looks okay as a backup, but not a real long term threat.
Has the former Lyon man simply fallen to complacency? With no real threat to his position over the past seven years, it is not impossible for Lloris’s standards to have dipped.
Whatever the reasons, blip or not, Spurs have a real reason for concern between the sticks at the moment. The top four race is one they cannot afford to lose; they will need their World Cup winner to rediscover his best form, to help them over the line in May.