Tottenham Hotspur's Hugo Lloris nominated for Premier League Player of the Month

After a tricky start to life at White Hart Lane the French keeper is now settled as the club's number one keeper, and has proven his worth with a string of excellent displays in December.

Considering Tottenham Hotspur's well publicised vulnerability in the final minutes of matches this season, and indeed the injury problems that have stopped them from ever fielding their first choice centre back partnership, it is was perhaps unexpected that they turned in four clean sheets in six games throughout December.

One of the key factors to the improved defence has to be the stability gained from the instalment of Hugo Lloris as the club's number one. Whilst there was plenty of criticism over the handling of Lloris when he arrived at the club, Andre Villas-Boas can now point to the keeper's nomination for Premier League player of the month as an indication he dealt with the situation correctly.

Lloris had to wait for his chance in the side, with Friedel performing well between the sticks at the start of the season. Giving Lloris experience of playing in the side in the Europa League, as well as training with his defence, before putting him into Premier League action has looked to be a wise move, as the Frenchman has looked comfortable with his back four every time he has played. It should be noted the whole process has been aided by Brad Friedel, whose grace in supporting Lloris has been a lesson to players everywhere.

With Lloris more willing to come of his line to clear the ball and deal with crosses than Friedel, a measure of pressure has been taken off the Tottenham defenders, especially in the closing stages of matches and his knockout blow on Michu when dashing to clear a thorugh ball might end up proving the only way to stop the prolific Spaniard scoring this season. Lloris is clearly not afraid to get involved, and whilst this can lead to the odd error, his judgement so far has been close to immaculate.

It's rare for a keeper to even get nominated for the award, and given Lloris is up against Michu, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, whose performances have been far more high profile, it's unlikely that the Frenchman will actually win.

But the nomination is an indication of just how well he has been performing, and Villas-Boas, who is nominated for the manager award for December, should take some credit for not only integrating his new keeper into the side successfully, but also the improved defensive performances as a whole.

images: © Zweifüssler, © mr-football

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