There has been much debate recently as to who should be the Tottenham number one. The statistics would suggest that even though Brad Friedel is significantly older, he would still be the better choice.
The American has kept 36 clean sheets in his last 130 Premier League games, stretching back to the beginning of the 2009/2010 season, when he played for Aston Villa. Compared to Lloris’ record over the same period of time; the French number one has kept 21 clean sheets in 82 games, 81 of which were for Lyon. Last season alone, he only managed four clean sheets in 36 league games.
I know there’s more to the argument, with the quality of a goalkeeper a larger question that can’t just be answered wit clean sheet records, but they are a good indication. Of course, it also depends on the strength of the defence, but I don’t think that holds a particularly strong case for Lloris. Lyon have played in the Champions League and although the French Ligue 1 may not be considered as prestigious as the Premier League, he is not playing for a weak team, certainly not weaker than Aston Villa, who Friedel spent two years at during this period of time.
The argument about Friedel being old is also poor in my opinion when you look at his consistency. Friedel hasn’t missed a game through injury since the 2003/04 league season. Moreover, he has been in double figures for clean sheets in two of the the previous three seasons. He’s showing no sign of weakening. So why should his age count against him?
I’m not saying Hugo Lloris isn’t a good goalkeeper, he’s still young and improving all the time. I just feel for now, Friedel should still be the number one. He hasn’t put a foot wrong and you won’t find a more reliable goalkeeper around, the stats back that up.
Andre Villas-Boas faces a problem considering Lloris isn’t happy to warm the bench. But, if it’s not broken, it doesn’t need fixing. Lloris should go on to be a great goalkeeper for Spurs in the future. For now though, I believe Friedel is still the man who should be between the sticks.
What’s your take? Who deserves Tottenham’s number one jersey? And how much longer can Brad Friedel continue to perform at the top level of the game?
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