A 'Wide Warrior' is a full-back who hasn't quite kept up with the modern trends associated with their position. Rather than relying on attacking threat and potency to make their name, the 'Wide Warrior' continues to be an ever-present at the back, doing their best work closer to goal. They excel at the defensive side of the game above all else, even if they may offer certain advantages going forward (like a wing-back), or in half-spaces (like an inverted fullback). Further, not only do they excel at the defensive side of the game, their manager has made clear intentions for that to be the most important facet of their role within the team, restricting their attacking height.
After the first week of action in the 2022 Canadian Premier League season, we have officially launched our brand new Player Evaluation System. The details of this can be found in this article - Evaluating players based on role continuity, and we have already begun the process of identifying roles for specific players that may have stood out on the day. Here are how the players of the Canadian Premier League currently rank based on our brand new model.
The 'Sweeper Keeper' came to deserved acclaim at the 2014 World Cup, when Manuel Neuer showcased his ability to rush out of his goal, and "sweep" in behind Germany's high-line, almost playing like another centre-back out of possession. Since then, the role of the sweeper keeper has only grown and evolved, becoming a player who is capable in build-up phases, ventures out of their goal to involve themselves in passing sequences higher up the pitch, and completely commands their penalty area by coming off their line and taking control of any situation.
While formations may exclude the never-changing goalkeepers from their numbering, we could never fail to recognize the importance of goalkeeping in the game. As a result, we start with one of the most scrutinized positions on a football pitch - that of the keeper. We break goalkeepers down into two broad categories - 'Shot Stopper', and 'Sweeper Keeper'. We can then use these classifications to help distinguish between different types of players, and measure accordingly. Today's article is all about the 'Shot Stopper', defining role expectations and answering the soon to be common question of - 'What exactly is a shot stopper?'
After a couple of disappointing results to start the season, Forge found their flow in Week 3, achieving a comfortable 3-0 win over FC Edmonton's stern defense. Not only did Forge live up to expectation from a performance perspective, but also from a tactical one. Bobby Smyrniotis changed shape away from the 3-4-1-2 / 3-4-3 formation utilized against Cavalry back to his favoured 4-3-3, only to reconstruct their ideologies in the second half to better take advantage of the wide areas. Here is our analysis of Forge's commanding 3-0 victory over FC Edmonton.
What a player does on a football pitch from a pure on-the-ball event perspective, quantifies only a small percentage of their actual role or influence on a match. What a player does off the ball can often be the key to a good performance, allowing a player to enhance their on-the-ball metrics in the process. So this begs the question - how can you evaluate a player's performance if they weren't really all that involved in the action, but stuck to their specific role perfectly?