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Bob Bradley earns first EPL win with Swansea City in nine-goal thriller

Bob Bradley 24

Swansea City looked destined for another loss after watching a two-goal lead disappear, but the Swans pulled off a dramatic comeback to help Bob Bradley make history.

Fernando Llorente’s stoppage-time double helped hand Bradley his first English Premier League victory in a 5-4 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Swansea City and Crystal Palace changed leads an astonishing four times by the final whistle. Llorente scored both of the late goals, after a brace from Leroy Fer and a curling Gylfi Sigurdsson free kick in the first half.

Bradley’s first win comes in his sixth match with the Swans, after coming into a nightmare schedule that resulted in losses to Arsenal, Stoke City and Manchester United. The club’s defensive frailties have been made excruciatingly clear during Bradley’s tenure, and the quality of the goals they allowed today proves there’s still work to be done.

The Welsh club jumped over Sunderland to 19th place after the victory, just two points from safety. While 25 league matches remain in the season, the bottom half of the table remains incredibly close-knit. Only seven points separate 10th place Bournemouth from Sunderland in dead-last.

Here are the highlights from Saturday’s wild finish:
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  1. Well, I was in Italy… caught the highlights on the flight back… exciting stuff. I really hope Bob keeps them from relegation, and I would hope no one is actively rooting against him. I don’t think there is a coach I admire more. My biggest gripe when Bob was USA coach was that he didn’t have the tactical nous to fully use the players he had. I remember having some heated discussions with Ives and Carlisle on this topic. My point then was that he needed to go coach in Europe and work his way up the tree… just like I think the field players have to. To his credit… he has absolutely done that.

    I think he was kind of gifted a premier league opportunity 2 years to early (and he would have been a fool to turn it down, plus if he somehow does manage to keep Swansea alive… it will be coach of the year stuff), but regardless his tactical awareness and coaching skill has improved immeasurably since his time in the US.

    I contrast that with Arena, who never left the cozy confines of the US… Today, Bradley is by far the better coach. and Arena is the wastrel (can we start an Arena-cakes thread?). I am intrigued by what Arena will do as the new coach… but I am equally scared by his lack of evolution since 2006. I mean look at the evolution in soccer tactics… Italy with a 3-5-2, Conte at Chelsea with a 3-4-3, Klopp running his crazy schemes… the rise and fall of tiki-taka… and Arena this whole time at LA Galaxy. Why does anyone think he will be good for the US team?

    Anyway, I am off topic… I cheer Bunker Bob’s every success greatly. He is really opening doors for a whole generation of American coaches, which is what it will really take for the US team to grow beyond where we are.

  2. Only four comments made about a tremendous comeback win by an American trailblazer? That is pretty sad.
    Having known this guy for over 30 years and also having worked with him, I can tell you it is hard to find a better human being. I think there are people in this country who actually want to see him get his ass kicked over there which is something I will never understand.
    Good win, Bob. Many of us know how hard you work and how much you deserve this win.

    • There would have been more comments if the SBI staff had put up a running commentary post instead of heading to the mall on Saturday morning. That game was wild

    • Listen, I like Bob, but I always put fight (or lack thereof) on the players based on my experience as an athlete straight through the university level. On top of that, they had a 3 -1 lead and GAVE UP 3 straight, haphazard goals. That being said, I applaud the fact that the players fought back. If you blame the players for loosing, you praise them for winning.

    • I dunno if anyone “wants” him to get his ass kicked.

      I personally just think he well and truly walked into it. Swansea had a really, really good thing going…and then proceeded to sell not just all their players but the club as well. Which got picked up by some neophyte American Owners – and you know how popular American Owners are in the Prem right now – and of course they’re duly in the relegation zone. And Oh My is their talent bad right now. The fans are of course unhappy, and nobody likes to sharpen their knives more than the English press…and so this Recipe For Disaster is going to land in somebody’s lap. And of course, in walks The American, Bob Bradley hisself…you already saw how everybody fitted Jozy Altidore with goat horns when he couldn’t succeed with a really, really poor Sunderland side…that was deploying him as a lone striker, which he’s terrible at.

      I like Bob Bradley. But Oh Man is he behind the 8-ball right now and if he gets that team to safety it’s one of the better coaching jobs anybody’s done in the Prem in the last decade, the deck is stacked that far against him. He’s gotta somehow get to the usual safety target of 40 points…by May?

      He has just 9 points headed into December. The only cause for optimism I could find is that he’s earned 4 of those points his last two outings…but the brutal Soccernomics of the Prem has a way of stamping out incipient hope beneath relentless spiked boots, too.

      Wish him luck. I really do. But it’s still kind of annoying that Bradley got handed this mess to begin with, and they’ll fit him with horns if he doesn’t somehow deliver that miracle. Tough row to hoe, there….

      • If it makes you feel better, he is only 7pts. away from being in the top half.

        Narratives can change pretty quickly – the players have been defending Bradley and have decent respect for him right now.

    • Well, I was going to post something, but I try not to get too high or too low over one win that had a lot of bad to go with the good. What I didn’t realize until I re-read your post was that you think there are people here in the US that want to see Bob get his ass kicked. First time I read that, I assumed you meant in the UK. There are lots of those people. In the US? I don’t think there are too many of those. Some people may not like Bob’s coaching style, but I think everyone admires the challenges he’s taken on, particularly how he handled the Egypt position.

      I think now that Swansea has broken their winless duck this season, that psychological block has been hurdled. If Bob can fix their defensive set piece problems, they have as good a chance as any to stay up.

    • Good to see you on here again Sepp. I don’t think too many people are hoping for Bob to fail other than a couple that just root against everyone in effort to make themselves feel better. The truth is it was a pretty dull week for Americans abroad and combine that with the holiday just not too many people were around. Honestly, anymore there are not many comments unless a story is related directly to the national team. A story of Bob signing a national team pool player would receive dozens of comments, a story of his first victory just doesn’t draw as much interest. If you follow the weekly commentary its pretty much geared to nat player exploits and even then unless Pulisic does something there usually isn’t much interest in the EPL.

  3. Bradley went from: next draw or loss could be his last to Bradley may not make it to the next match to Bradley may be the right man for this job. All within about a 15-20 minute period.

    He certainly deserves praise for having a squad that continues fighting for…97 minutes, but any match that ends in a 5-4 scoreline is usually not a praise-worthy endeavor from a defensive standpoint. However, the manner in which they didn’t give up could prove to be a catalyst going forward (one would hope).

  4. You give up a 3-1 lead, then down 4-3 in INJURY-TIME and you score not one but two goals!!!! Wow…Absolute classic. Hope this momentum continues
    Does Bob goal keeper issues? Fabianski ended a seven-year spell with Arsenal on free transfer, Poland’s best top-flight keeper……yet didn’t look sharp like at EPL keeper
    A better defensive midfielder…..Swansea just couldn’t break-up plays in the middle of the park
    At least a better/world class CB. Crystal palace goals were sloppy
    And need to stop bunkering down after a lead

    • I’m not certain he’s going to receive the necessary funds to address those needs you’re referencing with the quality needed.

      This brings up something I mentioned when he was hired: Assuming he makes it to January, how many “familiar names” will we see rumored to end up at Swansea City. Americans do, usually, come cheap after all. Perfect for their budget.


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