Bob Bradley managed his first match in the Premier League after being appointed manager of Swansea City two weeks ago. Unfortunately, that first match was against an in-form Arsenal side. Swansea and Bob Bradley ended up losing 3-2, but they did give the title chasers a challenge in the process.
Swansea started weakly, with Arsenal dominating and regularly creating chances. It was only after Arsenal took a 2-goal lead through Theo Walcott after the half-hour mark that Swansea came to life. Gylfi Sigurdsson was able to capitalize on a defensive mistake from Granit Xhaka and summarily put the Swans back into the game. In the second half, Swansea again started off slowly. And, again, they came to life after falling two down. Mesut Özil scored for Arsenal in the 56", with Swansea putting one back within 10 minutes through the substitute, Borja Bastón. Swansea played down the right. Arsenal's center backs switched off and failed to notice that Bastón had drifted into space in the box. After the cross came in, the ball went straight to the bottom corner.
From then, Swansea were able to press. A red card in the 70" to Arsenal's Xhaka gave Swansea hope, and they pounded on the goal. However, the chance did not break their way. Arsenal's keeper, Petr Cech, was able to snuff out the shots until Swansea's energy faded. Swansea seemed to lose their energy and Arsenal dominated the last 10 minutes, nearly adding to their total several times.
Bob Bradley's side had a difficult challenge in his first match. Arsenal haven't lost a match since the season opener and have won their last 6 in all competitions. While Swansea have been able to pick up at least a point in their last 4 visits to the Emirates, this trip to the title-contenders was always going to be difficult. Still, there's some things to evaluate in this loss. Bradley shifted the lineup from the 4-3-3 that started against Liverpool to a 4-4-1-1. Sigurdsson moved from the wing to striker, while Bastón moved to the bench.
The offense was a little bit anemic until the team got a man-advantage. However, they were able to capitalize on defensive errors. The team showed great drive to respond after going 2 down (twice), but, of course, it's a problem to go two down in the first place. The team still seemed to lose energy in the last 10 minutes even with a man advantage, a criticism of the side from earlier in the season.
Swansea have had a rough start of the season, with matches against Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester, and now, Arsenal. Bob Bradley's got an easier schedule ahead of him with Watford and Stoke in the next two weeks, but he's still got a lot of work to do.