Tag Archives: Swansea City

New Post: The Premier League finally has an American manager, Bob Bradley

In a move that had been expected by many, Swansea City fired coach Francesco Guidolin Monday after the club’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool at the weekend.

The replacement came as a shock to many as well, with American and former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley appointed to the position.

Bradley is the first American to be hired as a manager in the Premier League, considered by many to be the best league in the world.

Hiring Bradley came as a surprise to many of the team’s fans on Twitter, who doubted his experience and his previous coaching stops.

In a nutshell, that has been part of the problem for American coaches. Like soccer itself in the U.S., coaches from here do not get much respect. This is largely down to some still thinking American soccer feels like the wild west.

It is fitting justice, however, that Bradley was appointed to the job.No other American coach in recent memory deserves the title of being the first more.

To overcome the stereotype American coaches face is going to take a lot of stepping outside your comfort zone, something Bradley has been doing for years. I have always admired his fearlessness.

After taking over the U.S. from Bruce Arena in 2006 on an interim basis, Bradley acted like anything but an interim manager. He ran the team his way and gave plenty of new players their introduction, something Arena was not known for.

Upon being fired from the U.S. gig in 2011, Bradley could have shrank back into a cushy MLS job, like Arena eventually did with the New York Red Bulls. Bradley looked at the national team level again, though, signing on with Egypt and making them far more competitive.

To prove himself in Europe, Bradley went into the club coaching wilderness for the last two years, first with Stabaek in Norway and then Le Havre in the second tier of France. Bradley  almost guided the latter to French Ligue 1.

More than any American coach, Bradley has shown a tendency to step outside of what is known. He faced a tough task with Swansea, which currently sits one place above relegation with just one Premier League win, which came on the first day of the season against promoted side Burnley.

There are a few good players, such as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer, but the team’s spiritual leader Ashley Williams left in the summer, causing a big hole that was not immediately able to be filled.

Bradley has two weeks now to put his stamp on the club before a tough trio of games — Arsenal away, at home to Watford and Stoke away.

Many might not believe in him right away and things might be ugly, but Bob Bradley does have the experience and the confidence to lead a club in the Premier League.

 

 

 

New Post: EPL Preview! I rank every team from first to worst. #BPLKickoff

By, Kyle Gibson

Ahhh, English Premier League time is upon us. No more empty feeling, or meaningless weekends where we actually pay attention to our families. With no further ado, here are my predictions. Check back here in May to see that I got all 20 places right.

1.Manchester United (Last season, 4th): United finally signed a defender that could help. Many say Mattia Darmian was the best wing back in all of the Serie A. It also doesn’t hurt to shore up the midfield with Southampton star Morgan Scheiderlin and Bayern Munich and Germany legend Bastien Schweinsteiger. For this pick to hold, I think the club still needs to sign an attacker. Memphis Depay was an excellent addition, but Wayne Rooney can’t shoulder the load at striker all by himself. Signing Pedro away from Barcelona would really, really wrap up the title. The second season is usually make or break time for a Van Gaal coached side.

2.Arsenal (Last season, 3rd): Arsenal are everyone’s EPL darlings right now, which has me a bit nervous. Arsene Wenger is a great manager, but sometimes he and his team replace the need for defensive steel with the desire to spring forward and attack, leaving the back exposed. Petr Cech was one of the absolute signings of the summer and he will help, but I think this injury-prone club will falter around the middle point of the season, leaving the door open for Van Gaal’s men.

3.Chelsea (Last season, 1st): Jose Mourinho is the best manager in the EPL. Unfortunately, Jose also knows this all too well. His mind games and blunt honesty seem to wear with players over time and I think that will happen this season with CFC. Eden Hazard will shine as he always does, but I don’t know if John Terry can have such an amazing, relatively injury free season like last year. The same goes for Diego Costa. When the team was at its best last year, he was healthy and scoring bags full of goals. Chelsea’s lack of squad rotating will catch up to it.

4.Tottenham Hotspur (Last Season, 5th): Yes, you are reading this right. This spot does not belong to Liverpool or Manchester City. I’m operating on a hunch here, but I think Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino are more stable than the two former clubs. They also made solid, team building additions in defenders Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier. Harry Kane may need help up front, but I think West Brom’s own Saido Berahino will be in to help before the transfer window shuts.

5.Manchester City (Last season, 2nd): Oh, how the mighty have fallen. No one is high on Manchester City right now after a sloppy close to last season and a disaster of a transfer window this summer. Raheem Sterling is the only big name brought in, but they paid nearly 50 million pounds for a 20 year old that hasn’t proven himself throughout a full campaign. Fabian Delph may have committed career suicide in leaving Aston Villa for here. Honestly, I can’t see him making more than 15 starts. What the team really needs is cover for aging defenders Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany. Also, the club needs an attitude overhaul. No one sees Manuel Pellegrini keeping the manager’s job. I can name the players who I think have heart: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. The rest don’t seem to care. That is an indictment to your club and manager.

6.Liverpool (Last Season, 6): No more Sterling. No more Gerrard. But in comes James Milner from Manchester City. I think he was one of the shrewdest deals done this offseason, coming in on a free transfer. Up to him and Jordan Henderson (your new captain) now to right that midfield.

7.Swansea City (Last Season, 8): The Swans are part of the new guard that are going to be very present in this section of the table the next few years. Garry Monk is one hell of a manager and this is a good team to boot. Andre Ayew and Eder are quality signings that show this club’s ambition.

8.Stoke City (Last Season, 9): Stoke is part of this group as well. Solid, hard to beat and they just keep improving. Sure they lost Steven N’Zonzi and Asmir Begovic, but I think the guys they’re bringing in are more than quality. Mark Hughes is a very good manager and the Brittania Stadium is a fortress.

9.Crystal Palace (Last Season, 10): I predict another stellar year for the Crystals. Alan Pardew will have a chance to build over a full season and I can see this team really scoring some upset victories. Yohan Cabaye signing to play here from PSG was an all-star deal. I love watching this team.

10.Everton (Last Season, 11): If you aren’t a fan, you probably forgot about them over the summer. I think Roberto Martinez is a good manager. I think this team has some very talented guys. But still, there’s no excuse to not really bring in any star transfers after having an off season. They’ll be the folding point of the table and I think will have a lackluster year where we pretty much forget about them.

  1. Southampton (Last Season, 7): I predicted these guys to get relegated last year and they shocked the hell out of me. Ronald Koeman is a very good manager though and the team was strong. Here are my issues for this year. There’s no more Nathaniel Clyne, Morgan Schneiderlin or Toby Alderweireld. They all moved to Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham, respectively. With that being said, that’s nothing like what the lost last
  2. West Ham United (Last season, 12): If you’ve noticed over the last few predictions, no one is really moving a lot. West Ham scares me to death, though. I could easily see them going as high as seventh and as low as getting relegated. Slaven Bilic is a wild card of a manager who has shown no signs of being able to keep his temper in check during Europa League qualifying. This being said, I love the signing of Dimitri Payet from Marseille.
  3. Newcastle United (Last season, 15): New boss Steve McLaren will make sure this team stays away from relegation, but this is a broken team with a very loyal fan base. It deserves a new owner in the worst way.
  4. West Bromwich Albion (Last season, 13): Tony Pulis and his squad will stay exactly where they were last year. This is a club that is too deep to go down. Here is why I don’t think they will move forward, though. I think striker Saido Berahino will move in either this transfer window or the winter one. Without him, it gets rough trying to find a goal scorer.
  5. Sunderland (Last season, 16): Everyone from here on is always in danger of relegation. That’s how Sunderland lives. This may be a pick made with my heart, though, because I just like these guys.
  6. Aston Villa (Last Season, 17): They lost Fabian Delph and key goal scorer Christian Benteke, but I think Tim Sherwood (if he lasts the whole season) will rally the base and secure survival.
  7. Bournemouth AFC (Last Season, Promoted): They play in a stadium that fits only 11,700 people. For some perspective, my high school football stadium seats 10,000. However, they have a real fighting spirit and they’re the kind of team that can hang around.
  8. Norwich City (Last season, Promoted): They have EPL experience, but I don’t find them very convincing.
  9. Leicester City (Last Season, 17): Pulled off the greatest of great escapes last year, not so lucky this year.
  10. Watford (Last Season, Promoted): Sorry guys……I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

Follow Kicking It on Twitter @kickingitsoccer.

New Post: English Premier League Weekend Awards. Which teams and players shined and sucked this weekend?

By, Kyle Gibson

Player of the Weekend: Gylfi Sigurdsson

The former Tottenham player came up huge against Manchester United, setting up a goal and then scoring the winner. Sigurdsson made an impact throughout the entire game and helped his new club start the season with a shock 3 points. 

Player of the Weekend Part 2: Raheem Sterling

Sterling proved that last season was no fluke, scoring Liverpool’s first goal against Southampton Sunday, then setting Daniel Sturridge up for the winner. Sterling will need to continue the creative tendencies with the loss of Luis Suarez. 

Team of the Weekend: Leicester City

The Foxes came on out firing, tying Everton 2-2 for yet another shock result. The team gave a huge crowd at the King Power Stadium plenty to cheer about with goals by Jose Ulloa and then late by Chris Wood set up a good start to the season for a club trying to gain a foothold. 

Disappointment of the Weekend: Manchester United

Last season,David Moyes made his Manchester United debut on the road against Swansea City and won 4-1. This year, self appointed  genius Louis Van Gaal’s United lost 2-1 at home to the Swans. The loss revealed just how much is still needed in Manchester.

EPL Newcomer of the Weekend: Eric Dier

Tottenham’s new man picked up the winner against West Ham in stunning fashion. He looks to be a star.

-Who are your weekend winners? Comment or tweet @kickingit10 

EPL Preview: Teams 17-11

In the excitement of getting internet in his apartment, Kyle forgot to post yesterday. Today is part 2 of the 4 part EPL Preview. Next up: spots 10-5.

17. Sunderland– The team somehow survived last season will surive again in my book. I think Gus Poyet is a very talented manager and will actually have a full season to coach now. Given his performance last year, I bet Poyet gets the full season.

One thing has to happen though: Goal Production. Adam Johnson was the top scorer with 8 last year. That number has to improve.

16. Swansea City- This team will survive, just not thrive. Garry Monk is the kind of coach that is meant for a survival fight.

15. Hull CIty- Hull did not play that well down the stretch last year, even though it made the FA Cup final against Arsenal. The team finished 16th last season and I don’t see it climbing much higher, mainly because it has qualified for the Europa League. Playing far flung games in Europe will be a huge issue with a squad that lacks a lot of depth. 

Steve Bruce was decently active in the transfer market,though. He made Jake Livermore a permanent signing while also signing Tom Ince and Robert Snodgrass. Shane Long is out the door, but I think the club can win without him. 

14. Crystal Palace- The magical survival of last season was great, but this team was not even decent for stretches of the season. That’s why I have Palace 3 spots lower. I love Tony Pulis as a manager. I do, but his ownership is not giving him a ton of help. Pulis has never been relegated as a manager. I don’t expect this year to be any different.

13. Leicester City- Welcome to the Foxes! Arlo White’s favorite team is back in the league and I think it has a great chance of hanging around. Normally, a promoted team needs a good manager, good goal production and a good goal keeper to stay promoted in my opinion. I think Leicester has this. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has EPL experience. David Nugent provided plenty of goals in the Championship with 20 and I think Nigel Pearson is a very solid manager. 

12. Aston Villa- This will be fun. Roy Keane is the new assistant manager. The fiery Keane wants to be a manager again…bad. In his way is Paul Lambert, a manager firmly on the hot seat. I expect Lambert out by Thanksgiving.

11. West Ham United- This team has loads of talent, but a weird inferiority complex. I figured it would be safe to put West Ham in the middle of the table. This could team could finish in around 7th, or fight for relegation. It’s that streaky. 

Tomorrow- teams 10-5. 

 

New Post: EPL Predictions

Liverpool vs Arsenal: Tough one. Great game. Liverpool wins 2-1.

Aston Villa vs West Ham: Villa in nice form. 1-0 to Villa

Chelsea vs Newcastle United: Hmmm….Chelsea hangover after the city win? Nah. 3-1 Blues after losing this fixture in the past.

Crystal Palace vs West Brom: Tie. No one wants to win this one.

Norwich City vs Manchester City: Frustrated Citizens will kill cuddly Norwich. 5-0

Southampton vs Stoke City: Two teams on the uptick. Saints win at home 2-1

Sunderland vs Hull City: Sunderland keeps things going! 1-0 win

Swansea City vs Cardiff City: Recently without a manager for Swansea, Cardiff City wins 2-1

Tottenham vs Everton: Match-up of the week! Tied game at 2.

Manchester United vs Fulham: United…barely. 2-1.