American tactician Bob Bradley was relieved of his position as manager of Swansea City on December 27, after only 11 Premier League games in charge. In these 11 games, he won 2, drew 2, and lost the remaining 7. Let us take a look at some of the critical events that led to the sacking of American Manager.
Playing Sigurðsson as a False Nine
Despite having out and out strikers like Fernando Llorente and Borja Baston on the bench, Bob Bradley started Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurðsson as a false 9 in four of his eleven games in charge.
Moving Sigurðsson, the only creative midfielder in Swansea worth mentioning higher up the pitch meant that the Swans were short of creativity in the middle of the park.
The gamble paid off in the crazy victory against Crystal Palace, but failed woefully in the following three games, as Swansea struggled to create.
Benching Leroy Fer
Leroy Fer has arguably been Swansea’s best player this season, scoring 6 goals in their first 13 games. His work rate, running power and dynamism helped raise Swansea’s game several times this season especially against Chelsea, Burnley and Crystal Palace.
After the 5-0 defeat to Tottenham, he was inexplicably dropped for the next game against Sunderland and started the next three games on the bench. In the four games Leroy started on the bench, Swansea won 1 and lost 3, scoring 5 and conceding 10.
Failure to sort out the defence
Swansea were always going to struggle defensively in the absence of former captain Ashley Williams, but the performance of the defence under Bob Bradley was beyond dismal.
In the 11 games since the American manager took charge, Swansea conceded 29 goals, the most by any team in the division at that time. The Swans have conceded 3 or more goals in 7 of their last nine matches, an unexpected return even for a team in a relegation battle.
Jordi Amat, M. van der Hoorn and Frederico Fernandez are decent at best, but bringing the relatively unknown Alfie Mawson into starting XI was not a smart move in hindsight. The team conceded 10 goals in the 4 games the Englishman started in.
Losing to Middlesbrough
Going into their Round 17 game against Middlesbrough, Swansea were only one place and three points behind their matchday opponents. It was a chance for the Swans to suck Boro into the bottom three while pulling themselves closer to safety.
Despite a positive opening to the game, the Welsh side went behind to an Alvaro Negredo strike, and it all went downhill from there as the Riverside club seized the initiative. The game ended 3-0 deepening Swansea’s relegation worries.
A weekend that could have seen Bob Bradley’s team get close to safety ended up with them dropping a place to 19th position, as Sunderland climbed above them.
Losing to West Ham
If Swansea City were poor in the game against Middlesbrough, they were utterly woeful in the match against West Ham. A combination of lackadaisical defending and poor mentality saw them succumb to 4th defeat in 23 days, losing 4-1 on their own patch.
The Swans conceded an early goal to former striker Andre Ayew and showed no willingness to fight back as the Hammers ran riot. The defeat was the tipping point for the Swansea City fans who chanted at the manager for most of the second half; “You don’t know what you’re doing”.