American manager Bob Bradley won’t be given much leeway in terms of acclimating to the Premier League with his first game in charge at Swansea City involving a trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal.
Former United States men’s national team manager Bradley made history last week when he became the first American manager ever to be put in charge of a Premier League club. Bradley is already the most globetrotting of American football coaches, having had stints managing in Norway, France and for the Egyptian national team since being let go the U.S. in the summer of 2011.
Most recently, Bradley was at Le Havre in the French second division before the call came to take charge at Swansea following the dismissal of Francesco Guidolin. But it’s no small task for Bradley to try and turn around a Swans side that has failed to register a win since their season opener against Burnley.
But by all accounts, Bradley has hit the ground running in Northern Wales, with Swans defender Neil Taylor telling ESPNFC that Bradley “looks very motivated and that is great for the players.” With the January transfer window fast-approaching, Bradley has also already taken an interest in Swansea’s transfer plans.
But before that, there’s the small matter of the first Premier League match ever played in which there will be an American in one of the dugouts. For Bradley, that means a trip to North London where his struggling Swansea side will face a high-flying Arsenal team that has won five games on the bounce across all competitions and currently sits third in the table.
Arsenal have been particularly formidable at home this season, where they haven’t loss since the opening day upset at the hands of Liverpool.
However with both teams coming off the international break, the form book goes at least a little bit out the window. On the one hand, Arsenal have had their red hot run of form interrupted for a couple weeks. On the other, Swansea have had a chance to staunch the bleeding, make a change at the top, and possibly, recalibrate their direction.
This is by no means a poor Swansea side, which is part of the reason Guidolin was let go. With such borderline world-class attackers as Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdson to call upon, along with journeyman Premier League players like Kyle Naughton and Leroy Fer in his team, Bradley has the manpower at his disposal to navigate Swansea to safety over the course of the season.
It’s just not clear how safe his team will be on Saturday at the Emirates against an Arsenal team that made mincemeat of Chelsea just a few weeks back. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is finally finding the success he’s been looking for starting Alexis Sanchez at forward and is likely to play the Chilean up top with Mesut Ozil underneath him against Bradley’s Swans.
Marauding wingers Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi will be the other key parts in an Arsenal attack that’s scored 14 goals in their last five games.
Watch Arsenal take on Bob Bradley’s Swansea City Saturday, October 15 at 10:00am ET on CNBC.