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.
AS Roma are still far from the side they were many years ago, but they have enjoyed two of their better seasons over the last decade since Paulo Fonseca arrived at the club. The Portuguese manager came to Roma with a respectable reputation, having led Shakhar Donetsk to three league titles and a 74% win rate in his three seasons at the club. During his first season in charge at I Giallorossi, Fonseca led AS Roma to a fifth place finish in Serie A - securing Europa League football for the team. Roma have since performed well in the competition this season, with a semi-final against tournament favourites Manchester United to play for in the next few weeks. Their performances in the Europa League have outshone their relatively sub-par season in Serie A, with the side currently in seventh place. Nonetheless, if Fonseca's team were to pull out a miracle and make the Europa League final, this season would be seen as a complete success. With that, here is a tactical analysis of Paulo Fonseca's AS Roma this season.