Media review of Swans' nine-goal thriller
28th November 2016
There will be few, if any, matches this season to rival the drama and goals served up by Swansea City and Crystal Palace last weekend.
A ding-dong battle unravelled at the Liberty with the game serving up nine goals while the lead changed hands on four occasions.
Thankfully, from a Swans perspective, the result went their way as sub Fernando Llorente came off the bench to score time in additional time to seal a 5-4 victory in a Premier League classic.
It was the only the second time that the Liberty has seen nine goals scored in a match - the last time in 2007 when the Swans were beaten 6-3 by Blackpool.
And the drama and sheer excitement of an unforgettable afternoon in SA1 proved a huge hit among the media.
When it was all done, Alan Pardew stared at the ground, shook his head, stared, shook his head again and thought some more. How, what, why? The glorious insanity of football might just have broken him.
To his right, Bob Bradley started to say something to his coach Alan Curtis, but just burst into laughter. What an absurd day for transforming careers, reputations and, quite possibly, clubs.
This was the must-win game that Crystal Palace had won at 1-0, and then had lost at 3-1 down, and then had won again at 4-3 up.
But what happened next was bonkers in its brilliance and in its horror, with Swansea making it 4-4 through Fernando Llorente in the first minute of stoppage time and 5-4 via the same man two minutes later.
There were seven goals from the 66th minute, four after the 82nd, each a game changer, each a kick in the teeth of devastating force for one manager or the other.
Bob Bradley finally has his debut win for Swansea, which also counts as the first Premier League victory for an American manager.
It didn't come easy.
After three losses and two draws, Bradley saw his side rally from a 1-0 deficit to lead 3-1... and go behind 4-3.
But Leroy Fer added his second goal of the night before substitute Fernando Llorente finished a brace of his own for a 5-4 win that pulled Swans to within two points of safety:
What a game, and what a moment for the former USMNT boss!
Who would be a manager? Bob Bradley and Alan Pardew both went on barely believable emotional roller coasters during this incredible 97 minutes, which was surely the game of the season.
At various points both managers thought the three points were theirs.
And Bradley could not be sure of his first victory until referee Kevin Friend blew his final whistle.
For the American it was a day to remember but Pardew one to forget, and one that would not have helped his hopes of hanging onto his job.
South Wales Evening Post
Bob Bradley has his first win as Swansea City manager and once can only assume the American will never have experienced anything like this crazy nine-goal thriller at the Liberty Stadium.
In a game the Swansea manager had dubbed "must win" his side looked to be easing to a first win in 11 games as Leroy Fer's double and Gylfi Sigurdsson's strike had them 3-1 to the good against struggling Palace.
But he, and the 20,776 crowd, could only watch in horror as three goals in nine minutes - courtesy of James Tomkins, a Jack Cork won goal and Christian Benteke - gave Palace the lead for the first time since Wilfried Zaha's opener.
The consequences for Swansea City and their manager would have been huge, where on earth would they have gone from here had Palace escaped with the three points?
Thankfully, Fernando Llorente - having been left out of the matchday squad last week due to a lack of fitness and form - came to the party in the nick of time.
His close-range finishes as the game entered stoppage time ensured it was the home support locked in wild celebrations when the final whistle eventually brought the curtain down on a breathless, frantic encounter.
The win is enough to move Swansea off the bottom of the table and within two points of safety. It simply has to provide the spark needed to lift them out of their dreadful start to the season.
The signs were there in plain sight at the Liberty Stadium, the ones which suggest this is the end game.
They reared with Gylfi Sigurdsson's every intervention, a player whose influence as scorer and provider had been highlighted on posters pinned up on the walls back at Crystal Palace's training ground.
The pie-charted stats had screamed out a warning that the Icelander had contributed to 53% of Swansea's goals.
And yet, against rivals primed to stifle, here he was scoring the hosts' first, assisting their fourth, and delivering the three set-plays which provoked such bedlam in the visitors' pathetic mess of a defence as to ensure dismal defeat was plucked from the jaws of victory.
Those percentages will need tweaking.
If you're going to rely on set-pieces for goals, as Swansea City did against Crystal Palace on Saturday - four of their five goals came from dead ball situations - you need to win the free kicks and corners in the first place.
While plaudits will pour in for Gylfi Sigurdsson and his dead-eyed delivery, Modou Barrow's performance perhaps slipped under the radar.
The Gambian winger has stood tall when many of his teammates have wilted this season. And Saturday was no different.
It was a shock to many when Barrow was linked with a move to Southampton or Leicester City last week, but such is the extent of his rapid progress in the past 12 months, as well as his rapid feet on the pitch.
Barrow was fouled six times in the match against Palace, more than any player. And when he was fouled, Swansea were able to take advantage.
Bob Bradley called his first win in the Premier League with Swansea City a "crazy" match that can serve as a turning point in his team's 2016-17 campaign.
Swansea were 3-1 up against Crystal Palace and looked to be cruising to victory before a Jack Cork own goal sandwiched in between close-range efforts from James Tomkins and Christian Benteke put Palace in front 4-3.
Fernando Llorente came off the bench to become Swansea's saviour, though, scoring two goals in stoppage time to earn his team all three points in the 5-4 win. The result marked Palace's sixth loss in a row and Bradley empathised with opposite number Alan Pardew following the roller-coaster match.
Bradley admitted he was furious with some of his players after they appeared to let their first win since the opening day of the season slip through their grasp, but in the end, the American boss was happy for his team
"I have been on both sides of games like that, so I understand how Palace feel," Bradley said. "As far as we are concerned, it was a huge victory and one which the group thoroughly deserves.
READ MORE . . .
- Sigurdsson: Most bizarre game of my career
- Llorente ecstatic with late heroics
- Bradley salutes players after win
- REPORT: Swans 5 Crystal Palace 4