After six games in charge of Swansea former USMNT manager Bob Bradley has claimed his first win in a match which showcased the excitement and drama that the Premier League is capable of.
Bradley’s side snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring twice in a breathless stoppage time in a game which saw nine goals.
It all started 19 minutes in when former Manchester United player Wilfried Zaha twisted into space in the Swansea penalty area and fired the ball low into the net to give his side an early lead.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was the man who drew the scores level firing in a superb free kick from just outside the area. That goal means that, since his Premier League debut in 2012, no player has scored more goals directly from free kicks in the PL: Sigurdson has six, joint with Christian Eriksen and Juan Mata.
The Swans took the lead after the hour mark. First Leroy Fer finished a messy goal mouth scramble by putting the ball in the net and then, just two minutes later he turned in a cross to but the home side 3-1 to the good.
Surely an insurmountable lead with just twenty minutes to go? Well, not exactly. A Palace corner, a Scott Dann header, a fumbled save and James Tomkins’ close range finish put the scoreline at 3-2 with 15 minutes left.
Often on a stage where drama is present, bizarre is not far behind. In this match in came in the form of Crystal Palaces equalising goal just eight minutes from time. Zaha’s cross from out wide was met 15 yards out by Jack Cork’s desperate, stretching defensive header which sent the ball up into the night sky and down into the net. 3-3.
The scoring was far from finished there. A Crystal Palace corner, a Scott Dann header and an alert Christian Benteke later and the score was 3-4 to visitors. In the space of 15 minutes Bradley’s Swansea, desperate for points in a relegation fight, had thrown away a 3-1 lead.
Que stoppage time. The home side, desperate to make amends for their defensive shortcomings, pour forward and Sigurdsson’s low volley was turned in by second half substitute Fernando Llorente. Swansea had turned the disappointment of missing out on the win into the relief of finding a draw.
But yet still the scoring goes on. In the final seconds of the game a free kick drifted forward by Swansea, bundled down and turned cooly into the net by Llorente. Two goals in two stoppage time minutes from the lofty Spaniard to give Bradley’s side all three points. Final score 4-3.
The result makes Bradley, the first ever American to manage in any of Europe’s top league, the first American manager to win a Premier League game (Somewhat, obviously).
The result takes Swansea off of the bottom of the table into 19th, three points from the desirable safety of 17th place. The success of Bradley’s season will revolve entirely around his ability to keep his club in the Premier League.