Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente starred as Swansea City hauled themselves off the foot of the Premier League table by securing a vital victory over fellow strugglers Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
The three points will provide Bob Bradley with some respite and breathing space after the American coach came under increasing criticism and pressure following recent poor performances. In fact, in addition to moving The Swans out of the relegation zone, Saturday’s win may also have preserved his job, for now at least.
After a relatively uninspiring opening forty-five minutes, the game came alive in the second period as the home side took the game by the scruff of the neck in sodden conditions. Sigurdsson opened the scoring from the penalty spot and also played a part in Llorente’s first goal with a clever corner set up. The Spanish forward then put the result beyond doubt when he headed in a third goal late on to seal the contest.
The result will provide Swansea with a significant lift with the club having endured their worst start to a season in any division since 1983 while defeat provides Sunderland with a considerable set-back after David Moyes’ side had won three of their previous four matches. However, in truth the visitors struggled to mount any considerable pressure and the precious few chances that The Black Cats did create were wasted, most notably by striker Jermain Defoe.
Bob Bradley’s future is safe for a little longer
Bob Bradley may have insisted that he had no concerns over his immediate future prior to Saturday’s contest but reports from South Wales suggested that time was starting to run out for the American with club chiefs arranging a crisis meeting in mid-week. Swansea had won just one of their seven fixtures since his appointment and there was an obvious tension and edginess in the atmosphere around the Liberty Stadium during a goalless first half. However, two goals in a three-minute period provided the home side with a renewed confidence and belief that saw them run out worthy winners.
This game could be a significant turning point for Bradley as he attempts to pull Swansea away from the relegation mire. The American made five changes to the side that started in the heavy defeat against Tottenham last weekend, most noticeably recalling Leon Britton into the centre of midfield, and his side produced a much improved performance and were worthy winners. Swansea must now build on this victory and start to construct a significant run of positive results if they are to secure safety.