Top 20 Sweeper Keepers – 2022-23

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Last season, I broke down positions into twenty-six different roles. The aim of my Role Continuity Evaluation System was to assess performance via what actually matters for a player’s own unique set of tasks. As I recently spoke about in ‘Data-Driven Decision Making & Player Roles‘, even two players within the exact same role may have different job descriptions based on their team ideologies and their own unique characteristics. Role Continuity recognizes those differences, by assessing not only data, but by utilizing the eye test to uncover player IQ and decision making.

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As another drama-filled 2022-23 season comes to a close across many leagues around the world, I now update our player rankings and end of season analysis for each role inside the men’s game. Here is a detailed analysis of the best ‘Sweeper Keepers’ in 2022-23, utilizing our Role Continuity Evaluation System.


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We break down goalkeepers into two roles: the ‘Sweeper Keeper’, and the ‘Shot Stopper’. As the name suggests, ‘Sweeper Keepers’ often exist outside of their penalty area, whether that be through defensive actions, or in-possession play. ‘Shot Stoppers’ on the other hand tend to be more ‘stay at home’ in their approach, focusing their energies toward saving shots. ‘Shot Stoppers’ tend to be older, less mobile goalkeepers, while ‘Sweeper Keepers’ tend to exude more mobility, command, and bravado as they go about their game. Think David De Gea (Shot Stopper) vs. Alisson Becker (Sweeper Keeper). One prefers to stay in between his posts, and the other will spring off their line without warning.

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From a statistical standpoint, we separate ‘Sweeper Keepers’ using a higher bar than previously proposed. To be considered a ‘Sweeper Keeper’, a goalkeeper must boast over 1.1 defensive actions outside the penalty area per 90, OR achieve an average distance of their defensive actions above 15 yards. That ‘OR’ is in place to help those that play for possession-based teams and aren’t able to make too many defensive actions, such as Ederson Moraes. Instead of his sheer numbers, the distance of those actions pinpoints exactly how often and how far he’s willing to go to sweep in behind his defense.

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We also prefer for ‘Sweeper Keepers’ to be savvy in possession, even if not always playing in a possession-based team. Over 20 completed passes per 90 is a reasonable marker to suggest that a keeper is relatively important to passing out from the back, although decent percentages in terms of progression and forward passing would also work in their favour.

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We also like ‘Sweeper Keepers’ to command the box, win their ‘aerial duels’, and make their presence felt at every moment. The ability to stop crosses and win aerial duels often demonstrates that a player is willing to come off their line to take matters into their own hands, which tends to be a more atypical trait of a ‘Shot Stopper’ like De Gea.

Finally, as these players are goalkeepers, they should also boast positive save percentages, post-shot xG +/- (goals prevented), and handle their goalkeeping responsibilities well, even if not to the same level of importance as a ‘Shot Stopper’.

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With this description in mind, we ask you to name who you think has been the best ‘Sweeper Keeper’ in 2022-23. If they’re not listed, they might be in our ‘Shot Stopper’ category, or lower down in the voting results.


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As denoted in our detailed ‘Explaining the Sweeper Keeper‘ article, we break down ‘Sweeper Keepers’ into four important categories: (a) sweeping, (b) command, (c) distribution, and (d) shot stopping. Each category has a variety of data points, but also the potential to assess for IQ and decision making.

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When it comes to sweeping, no one bested Alisson Becker this year, with the Liverpool keeper topping both of the all-important tables. No keeper in our top twenty made more defensive actions outside the penalty area, or achieved a greater distance of those defensive actions in yards. Emi Martinez topped the Wyscout charts for his number of ‘exits per 90’ (the number of times he left the penalty area), although this particular statistic does not line up well with FBRef’s data points. Unsurprisingly to anyone familiar with ‘Sweeper Keepers’, Nick Pope made the most defensive actions per 90 (2.29), and achieved the best aggregate score across all statistics and IQ points for this category.

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It’s worth noting off the top that four players were re-categorized into this role after featuring in our ‘Shot Stopper Top 20’ in 2021-22. This included Emi Martinez, Unai Simón, and Jordan Pickford – each of whom excelled in the ‘Sweeping’ category this campaign; and Thibaut Courtois, who upped his proactivity from last season.

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In the future, we’re asking stat sites to develop a percentage number around defensive actions for goalkeepers, allowing us to better assess for IQ and decision making. It’s difficult to combine all defensive actions into a percentage point, but we could have better data that points to a keeper’s success anytime they come off their line to command a situation. At present, 1v1 duelling percentages and tackle percentages are all we have, which are incomplete. Most sweeps are not 1v1 duels, yet can still represent either good or poor timing when it comes to that decision to spring off the line.

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It feels wrong to have a player like Ederson toward the bottom of our list simply because City keep so much of the ball. By being able to compare more percentage points rather than just raw numbers, we could more accurately assess how successful he was this season with his ‘sweeps’, beyond just the eye test.

At the same time, we still reliably have Pope and Alisson topping the charts for the second season running, which feels appropriate.

RankPlayerTeamAVG. DistDef. OPA#Def. Act.Exits
1Nick PopeNewcastle United18.01.932.291.66
2Alisson BeckerLiverpool19.
3Emi MartínezAston Villa16.51.941.781.78
4Vanja Milinković-SavićTorino17.01.942.331.37
5David RayaBrentford15.91.402.051.69
6Geronimo RulliAjax15.91.571.661.73
7Mike MaignanMilan18.21.611.421.11
8Jordan PickfordEverton15.71.421.801.18
9Unai SimónAthletic Bilbao18.41.361.570.86
10Arijanet MurićBurnley16.51.481.381.70
11Gregor KobelBorussia Dortmund16.71.381.530.86
12Bernd LenoFulham15.
13Aaron RamsdaleArsenal16.41.141.890.85
14Ivan ProvedelLazio15.81.391.311.38
15Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid15.11.271.660.93
16Diogo CostaPorto15.21.211.571.31
17Giorgi MamardashviliValencia17.41.361.151.04
18Álex RemiroReal Sociedad15.71.211.590.94
19Yann SommerBayern München15.81.351.221.06
20Ederson MoraesManchester City16.21.001.460.74

Nick Pope takes the cake in this category, a fully deserved reward after a phenomenal season for Newcastle United. 26-year-old Torino keeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic has also had a phenomenal season, putting his sweeping capabilities on full display throughout the campaign.


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One of the best benefits to deploying a ‘Sweeper Keeper’ is how they possess the guts and glory to take matters into their own hands (i.e. they’re a little crazy!). If you think of someone like Jordan Pickford or Alisson, they embody this approach, and you could see the two of them in a Spartan film going to battle and doing whatever it takes to defeat the empire (and probably surviving). This is also now where we’d hope to see someone like Ederson shine, where we can take into account his percentage numbers when he engages in duels and works to stop crosses.

RankPlayerTeamCrs Stop %Duels %Def. Duel %Aerial %
1Emi MartínezAston Villa11.683.850100
2Mike MaignanMilan7.687.050100
3Geronimo RulliAjax12.177.557.1100
4Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid9.084.920100
5Nick PopeNewcastle United7.88083.393.3
6Ivan ProvedelLazio4.390.910088.2
7Diogo CostaPorto7.786.74094.7
8Álex RemiroReal Sociedad3.78560100
9Gregor KobelBorussia Dortmund5.58080100
10Vanja Milinković-SavićTorino6.583.810088.9
11Giorgi MamardashviliValencia6.779.210088.2
12Arijanet MurićBurnley10.977.871.481.8
13Alisson BeckerLiverpool5.783.333.388
14Ederson MoraesManchester City7.380.72093.8
15David RayaBrentford8.582.44085
16Aaron RamsdaleArsenal5.377.410086.7
17Bernd LenoFulham7.174.16086.7
18Unai SimónAthletic Bilbao4.073.75090
19Jordan PickfordEverton3.763.96068.8
20Yann SommerBayern München5.170.42582.4

While the crosses stopped category is by no means a perfect metric for assessing keepers (there are many other ways of stopping crosses that don’t involve a goalkeeper), it does in some way pinpoint proactivity to get off the line, and the success of those catches and punches.

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Interestingly, it’s Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez who stands out for his level of command this season, completely dominating his eighteen-yard-box and making the most of his height. As smaller goalkeepers, Jordan Pickford and Yann Sommer rank toward the bottom, which may have some degree of correlation to their height. Alisson and Ederson rank lower than we might expect, with relatively low defensive duelling rates.


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The ability to engage in possession and keep the game ticking along is another essential characteristic for a goalkeeper to possess in the modern game. This is true whether they play in a possession-based side or not, as just about all goalkeepers are used to recycle the play, and pull off long passes.

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This is where the comparisons become all the more interesting, as we not only have possession-based keepers like Ederson and Alisson who would be expected to accumulate a high volume of short passes and short-passing percentages, but also rocket launchers like David Raya and Jordan Pickford who go for distance and often set their teams up for quick attacks. Now again, this is partially down to team style of play and personnel, where the likes of Ivan Toney and Dominic Calvert-Lewin would be expected to win their aerial battles and make themselves a nuisance.

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Nevertheless, if a goalkeeper can accomplish their passes of any distance to great effect, and constantly make themselves an ever-present in build-up, recycling and progression, this makes them an incredibly valuable asset.

RankPlayerTeamPass %Long-P %Pass F. 1/3 %Prog. P
1Yann SommerBayern München91.771.753.55.92
2Geronimo RulliAjax92.
3Arijanet MurićBurnley90.170.852.05.45
4Giorgi MamardashviliValencia86.
5David RayaBrentford83.669.964.28.97
6Ivan ProvedelLazio87.966.850.05.37
7Diogo CostaPorto86.568.345.57.29
8Gregor KobelBorussia Dortmund91.864.240.54.11
9Mike MaignanMilan89.666.843.55.75
10Vanja Milinković-SavićTorino84.364.760.79.67
11Bernd LenoFulham89.966.150.04.44
12Álex RemiroReal Sociedad85.565.458.95.96
13Emi MartínezAston Villa87.767.149.55.06
14Alisson BeckerLiverpool89.761.250.63.97
15Ederson MoraesManchester City90.563.934.63.46
16Aaron RamsdaleArsenal85.463.158.94.73
17Unai SimónAthletic Bilbao88.766.143.73.84
18Jordan PickfordEverton79.062.752.86.99
19Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid89.356.839.43.75
20Nick PopeNewcastle United84.762.247.93.92

Yann Sommer tops the distribution charts for his fantastic rate of both short and long passes, making him the ideal Manuel Neuer replacement at Bayern Munich.

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David Raya meanwhile ends as the only Premier League keeper inside the top-half, excelling when it comes to finding teammates with forward passes into dangerous areas. Toward the bottom of the table, Nick Pope ranks lower on our list when compared to a host of stunning ‘Sweeper Keepers’. However, we still back this article: The myth of Nick Pope’s ‘poor’ distribution.


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While the goalkeeper’s role has evolved over the years to include more emphasis on sweeping and distribution, they are still ultimately in between the posts for one key reason – to stop goals from finding the back of the net. Some keepers are better at this art than others, and you probably won’t be surprised by the two names topping the list.

RankPlayerTeamSave %G-ConPrevented
1Nick PopeNewcastle United76.40.870.21
2Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid78.10.960.22
3Mike MaignanMilan76.30.940.16
4Diogo CostaPorto76.00.630.05
5Bernd LenoFulham74.21.420.50
6Gregor KobelBorussia Dortmund75.91.170.32
7Ivan ProvedelLazio71.90.770.10
8Geronimo RulliAjax77.60.80.01
9Arijanet MurićBurnley72.30.770.07
10Álex RemiroReal Sociedad75.50.880.04
11Emi MartínezAston Villa71.31.100.14
12David RayaBrentford75.11.290.07
13Vanja Milinković-SavićTorino72.81.150.04
14Jordan PickfordEverton69.91.560.07
15Alisson BeckerLiverpool69.41.200.07
16Unai SimónAthletic Bilbao67.51.09-0.03
17Yann SommerBayern München69.71.350.04
18Giorgi MamardashviliValencia70.11.21-0.03
19Ederson MoraesManchester City62.00.94-0.11
20Aaron RamsdaleArsenal67.51.11-0.07

Nick Pope and Thibaut Courtois end in the top two spots for all of their combined goalkeeping scores, but Bernd Leno and Gregor Kobel have also impressed for the amount of goals they’ve prevented this season. Both Fulham and Dortmund have conceded more than they would have liked this season, but you can’t put much in the way of blame on either player.


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After all of the combined data points and IQ scores, we have developed an updated list of the Top 20 ‘Sweeper Keepers’ in 2022-23. Unlike previous times we’ve developed player rankings, this does not take into consideration overall ability or reputation. We have however factored in a mix of team success and difficulty of league. Role continuity also weighs certain statistics more than others based on a player’s role. With that, these are the players who have had the most individual success based on a vast array of metrics (and some dedicated research along the way!)

1Nick PopeNewcastle United15201
2Geronimo RulliAjax5328
3Mike MaignanAC Milan6283
4Emi MartínezAston Villa211311
5Ivan ProvedelLazio13667
6Alisson BeckerLiverpool4141415
7Diogo CostaPorto16774
8Arijanet MurićBurnley101239
9Gregor KobelBorussia Dortmund11996
10Vanja Milinković-SavićTorino3101113
11David RayaBrentford813512
12Thibaut CourtoisReal Madrid194192
13Bernd LenoFulham1217105
14Aaron RamsdaleArsenal15161720
15Álex RemiroReal Sociedad1781210
16Giorgi MamardashviliValencia1411418
17Yann SommerBayern München1820117
18Jordan PickfordEverton7191814
19Unai SimónAthletic Bilbao9181516
20Ederson MoraesManchester City20151619

Nick Pope takes bronze but likely would have taken gold if it wasn’t for that distribution score, as Mike Maignan and Geronimo Rulli round out the podium. Both the Milan man and Ajax keeper have excelled in all four categories this season, and played integral roles to their team’s success in 2022-23.

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It hasn’t been the best season for Ederson, but he will likely end the season as a Premier League victor once again. Ramsdale and Pickford meanwhile settle for lower places on the table due to the immense quality of others, despite both having enjoyed the 2022-23 season.

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Diogo Costa also deserves a special mention as he does his best José Sá impression down in Portugal, perhaps even playing better than Sá ever attained for Porto. He’s still only 23-years-old, with more room to grow as he develops his experience and leadership at the back, and ends as our top U-23 goalkeeper.

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Some teams may prioritize one aspect of a goalkeeper’s game over others, so it’s important in any scouting & recruitment scenario to ensure the player’s characteristics and numbers match up with the team’s ideologies and principles of play. But for now, if looking to get excited about goalkeepers, these are the names to keep a close eye on.

So there it is! An updated list and analysis of the best ‘Sweeper Keepers’ around. If you enjoyed this content, consider becoming a subscriber to the site on Patreon, where we will release revamped versions of all 26 player roles in our ‘Explaining the ___’ series. Thanks for reading and see you soon!


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Across the past decade, I have worked with thousands of players and coaches across multiple sports and disciplines. I recognize the value of diving deeper beyond the first glance, and uncovering the deeper-lying ways to enhance performance. I make a commitment toward positive reinforcement, research-backed insights, and making the experience fun for those that work with me.

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