Tottenham’s Conte makes bold Lloris claim after howler in Arsenal loss
Arteta previews Arsenal's Premier League trip to Tottenham
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Antonio Conte claims that Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris is one of the finest goalkeepers in the world, despite his moment to forget in the north London derby. The French World Cup winner had a clumsy swipe at Bukayo Saka’s cross that diverted it into the net, before the Gunners powered on to notch a statement 2-0 victory on Spurs’ home turf.
Tottenham went toe-to-toe with their north London rivals in the early stages of Sunday’s derby. Ryan Sessegnon was a bright spark on the left flank and there were some nice touches from youngster Pape Matar Sarr, who was given a huge vote of confidence to start in a crunch Premier League clash.
Things started to unravel, however, when Lloris fumbled Saka’s cross into his own net with less than 14 minutes on the clock. The raucous home crowd were quietened and Mikel Arteta’s Gunners kicked on as talisman Martin Odegaard doubled the advantage with a well-taken strike into the bottom corner.
Lloris’ incident drew groans from the home crowd and sparked bedlam in the away end, but Conte was unwavering in his support for the veteran, who he claims is one of the best goalkeepers on the planet.
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“In this situation it’s always difficult,” Conte told reporters after the final whistle. “It’s not positive to be focused on only one situation. Football is this and sometimes you can do positive and save many situations but honestly I consider Hugo one of the best keepers in the world and it can happen.
“It can happen that sometimes you can make a mistake. The mistake of the keeper is more noticeable. Hugo for us is a player who is very important for the dressing room, the personality [is important] and he’s one of the best keepers in the world.”
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Spurs signed Fraser Forster in the summer but he has been unable to provide any serious threat to Lloris’ No 1 spot. The Frenchman is due to be out of contract in 2024, by which time he will be closing in on his 38th birthday, and there are murmurs that Conte will look to phase in his replacement by the start of next season.
Everton star Jordan Pickford and Brentford stopper David Raya are both rumoured to be of interest with the Lilywhites planning for the future. Despite Conte suffering defeat against Spurs’ bitter rivals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, he chose not to be entirely doom and gloom about their overall performance.
“I’m not disappointed because we knew that the game could be really difficult but Arsenal is a really strong team and also tonight showed that they deserved to stay top of the league as title contenders,” he added.
“In my opinion Arsenal and [Manchester] City are the only teams that can fight for the title this season. At the same time I’m disappointed. We started well but then we conceded a goal and after this goal we created an important chance with [Heung-min] Son and the keeper made a fantastic save and then we conceded another goal.”
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