Bradley set for tough introduction to Premier League

October 15, 2016
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez misses penalty during their English Premier League football match against Hull at the KCOM Stadium, Hull, England, Saturday, September17.
Bob Bradley (left) has become the first American manager of a Premier League club after being hired by Swansea City while announcing yesterday it had fired Francesco Guidolin.
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MANCHESTER, AP:

Ask people to describe Swansea's style of play and most would detail the free-flowing, possession-based approach that has been the hallmark of teams under managers such as Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers, and Michael Laudrup over the last decade.

Some have even dubbed them "Swanselona" over the years, a reference to Swansea's passable imitation of Barcelona's preferred style.

Bob Bradley has to decide if it's time for a change.

The American coach was hired by Swansea last week, taking charge of a team that has lost five of its last six games in the English Premier League under the fired Francesco Guidolin and languishes in 17th place.

Bradley arrives with a reputation for preferring a more pragmatic, direct style of football, which would be at odds with what Swansea typically produces. A shift in approach might just be what the team needs to stay up this season.

The 58-year-old Bradley said in his presentation press conference that he likes "good, passing football" and that Swansea has been a team that is "fun to watch," but it's not helping at the moment.

Next up is a trip to third-place Arsenal today, something of a daunting introduction to the Premier League for Bradley. Tightening up and being harder to beat might be the name of the game for the new coach.

"Whenever there's a change, at any club, it's a fresh start for everybody," Bradley said on Thursday. "You can see that on certain faces, that's clear. Even at a time in a season when it's been difficult, when there's been managerial change, you see enthusiasm and a certain amount of excitement.

Arsenal has won its last five games in all competitions and can be a devastating force when the team's sprightly attacking unit containing the likes of Mesut ÷zil, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, and Alexis Sanchez is given space to perform. Sanchez, in particular, is thriving as a so-called "false nine" up front in the absence of injured striker Olivier Giroud.

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