Lloris to be given baptism of fire?

There is speculation the Frenchman could make his Premier League debut at Old Trafford this weekend. Could Spurs be adopting Manchester United's goalkeeper rotation tactic?

It is a generally agreed rule of football that you should not rotate your goalkeepers. It unsettles your defence in general, and makes it harder for the keepers themselves to perform whilst they keep swapping from the bench to the pitch.

This season however, Manchester United have been rotating De Gea and Lindegaard on a game by game basis, and thought the Red Devils have looked shaky at times, their keepers have actually been fairly consistent. Indeed the only noticeable mistakes came from De Gea at the start of the season, when he was considered the number one.

Tottenham Hotspur have had their own keeper issues this year, with further consternation being drawn from the press when Hugo Lloris was not started away to Carlisle last night.

There are many reasons why not playing the Frenchman was the right call, he is not the only keeper Villas-Boas will look to give playing time this year, but could one of them be that Lloris is in line to make a Premier League debut at Old Trafford this weekend?

With Friedel still performing well, and Lloris looking excellent in his one outing so far, it may be worth considering playing each of the keepers in games that seem suited to them.

The other option is to wait for Friedel to make a mistake and then put Lloris in, but that is a lose-lose situation all round, and places unnecessary pressure on both keepers. Friedel is paying well, but has limitations that Villas-Boas may consider will be particularly damaging in certain matches. At Old Trafford, where Spurs will look to play a counter-attacking game, the distribution skills of Lloris may be a significant benefit.

Rotating your keepers can be damaging, but if managed correctly may be the right thing to do. This way AVB can indicate he has confidence in both of his star keepers, and Lloris is not only going to get a chance on the basis of a mistake or in Europa league fixtures.

Friedel is also then given a chance to move over gradually and gracefully. It is an undeserved pressure to place on him that any mistake he makes will result in him being discarded immediately, and his experience and continuing high standards will perhaps make him a more suitable choice than Lloris in certain games.

Whoever starts this weekend, it's clear that Villas-Boas has a strategy in mind with regards to his keepers. So far I think he has got it exactly right. If he decides to play Lloris this weekend, and then rotate his keepers on a horses for courses basis, he's made a gutsy call, and may be rewarded for it.

image: © korobukkuru

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