I found this article and just had to reproduce it here. I am not the author of this nice piece. See source at bottom.
Hugo Lloris doesn’t earn many plaudits outside the Tottenham fanbase, and that’s probably because so many writers and pundits prematurely mocked his signing from Lyon and are now busy sheepishly withdrawing their criticism. Or pretending never to have made any in the first place.
‘It doesn’t make any sense’, ‘Tottenham have no need for Lloris’, ‘it’s another blunder from Andre Villas-Boas’. That was all terribly interesting and sensationalist, but on current form Lloris is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and his start to life in North London has been extremely impressive.
One of the reasons why the Frenchman isn’t lauded as he probably should be, is because the best parts of his game are unspectacular. Most are under the impression that good goalkeeping is about eye-catching acrobatics and reaction saves, whereas in reality the nuts and bolts of the position are really embedded in governance of the penalty-box. That’s where Lloris excels. Of course, he’s very capable of making world-class stops, but what has made a difference to Tottenham – and the way they defend – is his ability to defuse a threat before it truly develops.
Spurs’ recent goalkeeping past is full of shot-stoppers who struggled with that particular part of the game. Paul Robinson, Heurelho Gomes, and Friedel were all capable of putting together a highlight reel, but none of them were safe under a high-ball or particularly reliable in a one-on-one situation. Lloris, however, ticks both boxes.
By way of an example, think back to the incident which occurred between him and Michu at the end of the Swansea game. If any of those previous keepers had been in goal when that ball bounced on the edge of Tottenham’s box, the home side would have conceded there, I’m convinced of it. None of those players would have been willing or able to commit themselves to making that punch and nullifying the danger. Therein lies the benefit of having Lloris: his decision-making is extremely good, but it’s twinned with speed and excellence in execution. That was outstanding goalkeeping.
In many ways, the Frenchman is the perfect last-man in a Andre Villas-Boas system. Villas-Boas plays with a high-line, which obviously predicates the need for a goalkeeper who is both comfortable coming to the extremities of his box, and accomplished with the ball at his feet – and Lloris is equipped for both.
In his most recent appearance, against Sunderland two days ago, how many crosses did he clear or catch in the last quarter of the game? Lloris is incredibly active under a high-ball, and shows a willingness to come and punch – and do so with distance – when the ball is anywhere between the goal-line and the six-yard box. That makes defending so much easier, and it’s not a coincidence that Spurs’ have suddenly stopped conceding so many goals. Compare that with Brad Friedel who, despite his many assets, was continuously rooted to his own line and relied on his centre-backs to cover almost all of the zone in-front of him. That may seem like a trivial point, but it’s night and day from a defender’s perspective.
He may look like he should be striding around a Chateau in Normandy, but this is someone who fits right in at White Hart Lane. He’s fantastic.