Goalkeepers in the build-up – a new meaning to the ‘Sweeper Keeper’

The role of the goalkeeper continues to evolve in the modern game, with keepers becoming better with their feet by the year. Not only are goalkeepers now a crucial part of their team's build-up structures, but they're coming higher and higher out of their penalty areas to contribute. We recently discussed how Robert Sanchez often joins the Brighton defense as an auxiliary centre-back when the Seagulls play out from the back. But Sanchez is not alone in the art. The likes of Alisson, Ederson and Manuel Neuer all perform a similar function for their teams, adding another number by which their team can shift the ball around and make the opposition sweat. But why exactly is this happening and what are the advantages? Let's explore.

The evolution of the goalkeeper

oalkeepers need to have strong psychological skills, and always back themselves to perform. Even when they are full of confidence and everything they touch stays out of the net, that can all change so quickly. If a goalkeeper slips up, it usually results in a goal, and that inherently makes their position so much more difficult than any other.

The 5 Best & Worst Premier League Goalkeepers by Saves per Goal (2020-21 Edition)

Season after season in the Premier League, two of the biggest topics of debate involve refereeing and goalkeeping. We've already written about one of those two debates in our rant about the handball rule at the beginning of the season, and now it's time to examine the good and the bad of the Premier League's goalkeepers this season. Jordan Pickford, David De Gea and Alisson have all received criticism and attention for their recent performances, but this article attempts to assess how these players have actually performed, using data analytics. This is our analysis of the five best and worst goalkeepers in the league this season, utilizing saves per goal conceded as a statistical metric for our assessment.