Swansea City made the decision to part company with their second manager of the season when they fired Bob Bradley following their defeat against Bournemouth on Boxing Day. Bradley was initially brought in to replace Francesco Guidolin after the Italian lasted just seven games into the current campaign following a run of three-straight defeats.
The American was unable to reverse the club’s fortunes at the foot of the Premier League, leaving the Welsh outfit under the series threat of relegation for the first time since entering the top flight in the 2011-12 season. Swansea have appointed Paul Clement as their third boss of the term, but they are still considered one of the leading candidates for the drop, being backed by Paddy Power football at 8/15 to drop into the Championship.
Clement has a huge task on his hands, but will at least have a lot longer to prove himself than his predecessor. Bradley was given only 11 matches to improve the Swans’ position in the Premier League, and although they suffered seven defeats in those contests, the 58-year-old was dealt a poor hand with the players available to him.
Two of the club’s star players, Andre Ayew and inspirational captain Ashley Williams were sold during the summer, leaving Swansea short of quality up front and in defence. The signings of Fernando Llorente and Alfie Mawson attempted to bridge the gap, but both players have struggled to provide consistency in their performances since their moves to England’s top flight.
The Swans conceded 29 goals in the 11 matches under Bradley’s charge, which was one of the reasons for their downfall, but in the club’s position they were playing in an aggressive style to go for the victory rather than settling for points. With further experience in the Premier League, Bradley may have opted to adopt to a more conservative approach, one that suited Sam Allardyce during his time at Sunderland successfully steering them to safety last term.
However, Bradley’s approach did yield important home victories over Crystal Palace and Sunderland, notching eight goals in the two wins. The Swans even kept a clean sheet against the Black Cats. Those wins could be vital come the end of the season and suggested that the American was able to have success against teams in around his side at the bottom of the table.
Swansea were also on the receiving end of bad luck, conceding a late leveller against Everton in their trip to Goodison Park, while a contentious penalty decision against Tottenham Hotspur started a 5-0 rout. Over the course of 11 matches those small conclusions could have extended Bradley’s stay at the Liberty Stadium, however, they went against the American rather than for him, hastening his departure.
Managers are getting shorter leashes throughout the game, while Bradley was subject to unfair scrutiny for his use of language in his press conferences. The Swansea board have made a number of poor decisions since sacking Garry Monk, and failing to give the American further time to expand his ideas to his squad may be another one.
Bradley did not cover himself in glory during his stay in the Premier League, but he certainly deserved more than the 11 weeks that was handed to him by the Welsh outfit. Clement can only hope he has more time to implement his plan at the Liberty Stadium to have a hope of sparing the club from the drop.