Well, shit. So much for that American takeover of the Premier League. According to a report from the Telegraph, Swansea manager and American pioneer Bob Bradley is already under threat of losing his job, just two months into the gig.
Bradley took over a struggling, thin, depleted, though still fairly talented Swans team in early October after the club leadership—headlined by their new American owners—had seen enough of Francesco Guidolin’s work to get rid of the Italian seven games into the season. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t shown any appreciable improvement since the coaching switch.
In Bradley’s seven league matches in charge, Swansea have won one game, picked up just five points, kept a single clean sheet, and have prevented opponents from putting at least three goals past them only twice. It’s those defensive frailties that have been most alarming, as Swansea have allowed basically every team they’ve come up against free reign of their penalty box, allowing an eye-popping 19 goals.
Still, seven matches amidst a pretty tough stretch in the schedule doesn’t seem like enough of a sample of results to say much one way or the other about whether Bradley is good enough for the job. The Telegraph’s report does, however, mention a couple other contributing factors that have inspired the club to perform a full review of what’s going wrong:
Bradley’s team selections and frequent changes have given the impression that he does not yet have a clear plan, while his work on the training ground is yet to provide much encouragement.
Swansea face a crucial game against fellow relegation candidates Sunderland on Saturday before trips to West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough, and then another important match against West Ham United on Boxing Day.
Bradley will need to demonstrate he is the man to take Swansea forwards over those games, with the club prepared to spend big money in January to try to help save their Premier League status.
While this review the Telegraph reports that Swansea are undergoing a review doesn’t necessarily spell doom for Bradley, it’s definitely concerning. It’s not for nothing that he has the best odds of being the next EPL manager fired. And as laudable as it was for Swansea to take a chance on Bradley, it was pretty strange for the club to hire a manager with so little experience at the highest levels of the game to oversee a Premier League relegation fight midseason.
Nevertheless, we still have faith in Bradley. If he can squeak out at least five points in the next few games, make it at least to January, and in the transfer window stock up on some better players using the tens of millions the club will probably look to spend in order to save their season, we’d give him and his team very good odds that they stay up.
Bradley’s always wanted a chance at the top to prove to everyone else what he’s always believed of himself: that he’s a good enough manager to hold his own against the best of the best. The time to do so is now.