The term 'Sweeper' has existed within the game for decades. The traditional usage encourages the contrasting relationship between one centre-back who steps out (the 'Stopper'), and one that sweeps in behind. The modern game has evolved in such a way where centre-backs typically perform both roles simultaneously, and it's rare to find clear-cut examples of 'Sweeper-Stopper' partnerships. In fact, I'd go as far to suggest that they typically exist more in back-threes in the modern game, with one clear-cut 'Stopper' angling higher than an obvious 'Sweeper' cleaning up the messes in behind. This Player Role Analysis is all about the modern day 'Sweepers', as we break down the tasks, functions and over-arching role of a 'Sweeper' in 2022.
Carlo Ancelotti has long been a legend of the game. But despite managing for over 20 years, now at the age of 62, Ancelotti has continued to update his tactics and methodologies to serve the modern era. That has now transferred into a fourth UEFA Champions League title for the manager himself, his second at Real Madrid. Los Blancos have been exceptional this season under the influence of Ancelotti, winning La Liga by thirteen points, and beating both of England's top two clubs en route to a Champions League triumph. With that, we take a tactical glance at how Carlo Ancelotti achieved miracles in 2021-22.
In a week that saw Neymar battered and bruised at the hands of Manchester City, Christian Pulisic dazzle against Real Madrid, and Edinson Cavani terrorize Roma to bits, the UCL and UEL semi-finals threw up a ton of action and intriguing sub-plots. Here is what we learned this week in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League semi-finals.
After a slow start to the season, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid are now flying on all cylinders, currently on a 14-match unbeaten streak that's propelled them toward the top of La Liga and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Zidane doesn't have the same squad that won him the Champions League in three back to back years between 2016 and 2018, but he is getting the best out of what he has at his disposal once again. After a massive 2-1 win over Barcelona in El Clasico this past weekend and the side securing a place in the UEFA Champions League semis, the side could be on a path toward victory in either competition. As a result, we now take a look at the tactics Zinedine Zidane has deployed throughout the 2020-21 season at Real Madrid.