Just 11 games into his tenure at Swansea City, the first American manager in the Premier League – or any other major European league – is in danger of losing his job.
There have been no public declarations from the club to that effect. Or indeed any other credible indications that the club is running out of patience (although there’s been an awful lot of loud skepticism of the New Jerseyan ever since his landmark appointment). But a quick glance at the standings, and an honest accounting of recent form, suggests that it must be so.
This, inevitably, will be laid at Bob Bradley’s feet. And that
Transfers are no panacea, but they are the mechanism by which struggling teams with deficiencies in every line – like Swansea – can enable themselves to improve more quickly. Yet there’s already talk that if the Swans don’t beat Bournemouth on New Year’s Eve, Bradley could be fired a few days shy of his three-month anniversary in the job.
Fans chanted for his firing on Monday. And in truth, the performances have been pretty ugly of late. “In the moment, we’re our own worst enemy,” Bradley said after the loss.
That they were, giving up a series of all-too-simple goals.
Bradley acknowledged the failings of his team. “When we go down in a game, we have to roll up our sleeves and believe,”
It hasn’t been good enough for a while, as Swansea sank to a 2-7-2 record on Bradley’s watch. But of late, things have gotten worse. Following a 1-1 tie at Everton on November 19, in which the Toffees got an 89th-minute equalizer, Bradley won his first game against Crystal Palace in an absurd 5-4 thriller. But since then, the Swans have wedged a 5-0 loss to Tottenham and a 3-1 defeat to West Brom around a 3-0 victory over Sunderland.
After that came a 3-0 loss to Middlesbrough, followed by Monday’s beating by West Ham. That’s 19 goals conceded in just six games.
Meanwhile, Swansea went from 17th place when Bradley took over to dead last – although playing Arsenal, Manchester United and Spurs in his first seven games didn’t help. The Sunderland win lifted them back up to 17th and out of the relegation zone briefly, but three more losses dropped them back to 19th, even on points with last-place Hull City.
Reading the results alone, it’s becoming increasingly hard to be optimistic about Swansea’s chances for survival. And the same is true of Bradley in his job.
He inherited a flawed team. But he also hasn’t demonstrated a great deal of progress. Stateside, we know that Bradley is a good coach with an uncanny record of figuring out ways to make limited teams competitive. But in his most high-profile job yet, he may well be victimized by the Premier League’s famous impatience with its managers before he’s gotten even a third of a season.
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer columnist for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter