Over the past 10 years or so the sweeper keeper has become a much more prominent part of the modern game. It is a risky tactic but when it pays off it can allow a team to play more attacking football as it allows teams to play a high defensive line.
The sweeper keepers role is to ‘sweep up’ any balls that are played through or over the defence that a striker aims to run onto. If the keeper didn’t have this additional role and teams still wanted to play a higher line it would lead to a lot of 1-on-1 chances. The most famous example of the sweeper keeper is FC Bayern & Germany no. 1 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. He has always had great shot stopping, communication and the physique to dominate his area but he has now developed this style of play since his early days of his career at Schalke 04 and has mastered the art of the ‘sweeper keeper’ There are numerous examples of Manuel Neuer effectively playing as another outfield player, contributing to the play and sweeping up for his defence.
However as I said earlier the sweeper keeper tactic can be risky, even Manuel Neuer is human so it does not always go his way and it seems to be some sort of voodoo trick that occurs when he plays against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Here’s *that* Manuel Neuer heat map from Germany vs. Algeria at the 2014 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/BhlMdfGoIB
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 1, 2014
This picture shows Neuer’s heat map in a game against Algeria in the latest World Cup, it truly shows the extent of his high-risk high-reward tactic.
Furthermore Guardiola has implemented this style of play at Manchester City in the Premier League with the whole Joe Hart saga then the unfulfilling signing of Claudio Bravo last season. One of the signings of the season so far has been Ederson from Benfica for £36.2 million. He has been fundamental to the Eastlands side’s unbeaten start this season by starting attacks from the last line of defence and always offering a option for a pass for his team mates.
He has shown off his bravery and sweeping ability most noticeably against Liverpool when he took a boot to the face from Sadio Mane whilst coming out of his area to clear the ball. However as previously said it is a high-risk high-reward strategy, it has not gone all Ederson’s way since move as he got it wrong vs Shakhtar Donetsk.