Welcome to the Premier League, Bob Bradley.
The first American coach in the 24-year history of the Premier League got a taste of the frantic nature of England’s top division in his debut match in charge of Swansea, a 3-2 loss at Arsenal on Saturday.
Lots of goals, a red card, momentum swings, a nerve-wracking finish. It was some first game for Bradley, but ultimately a sixth loss in the last seven league games for Swansea and a reminder of the scale of the task facing the much-traveled, 58-year-old coach.
“That was an exciting game,” Bradley said, “but it didn’t finish the way we wanted.”
Defensive mistakes by Swansea allowed Theo Walcott to score twice and put Arsenal 2-0 ahead by halftime at Emirates Stadium. Bradley’s new team showed spirit to fight back against the league’s most in-form team, with Gylfi Sigurdsson making it 2-1 and Borja Baston setting up a tense ending with a 66th-minute goal to make it 3-2.
In the end, Mesut Ozil’s stunning volley in the 57th minute was the difference between the two teams, earning Arsenal a sixth straight win that left it tied on 19 points with first-place Manchester City after eight games.
Arsenal finished with 10 men after midfielder Granit Xhaka’s 70th-minute red card.
Bradley’s task now? To pick up Swansea after its worst-ever start to a league season, having collected just four points from eight games to lie second-to-last in the standings.
“Of course we are confident we can turn this around,” Bradley said. “After the week of training we have just had and the mentality of the team, for me we are going to become a good team.”
City stayed in top spot despite a 1-1 draw at home to Everton. Tottenham missed the chance to take over in first place after also drawing 1-1 at West Brom.
Here’s a look at Saturday’s action as the Premier League returned after a two-week break for international matches:
MANCHESTER CITY 1, EVERTON 1
After starting his City tenure with 10 straight wins, Pep Guardiola has now gone three matches without a victory after this draw at Etihad Stadium. City will wonder, though, how it failed to beat Everton.
City had two penalties saved _ by Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero either side of halftime and needed a 72nd-minute goal by substitute Nolito to earn a point from a game it dominated.
Everton went ahead in the 64th through Romelu Lukaku, his sixth goal in the last five league games.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1, TOTTENHAM 1
With City drawing, Spurs could have gone top with a fifth straight league win but needed an 89th-minute goal by Dele Alli to claim a point at The Hawthorns and preserve their undefeated record.
Nacer Chadli put West Brom ahead in the 82nd minute with his fourth goal in five games since moving from Tottenham for a club-record transfer fee.
Alli finally broke the resistance of West Brom and its impressive goalkeeper Ben Foster when he turned home a finish from 10 meters, his second goal in as many league matches.
CHELSEA 3, LEICESTER 0
Struggling defending champion Leicester slumped to a third big away defeat this season and all of them have come before Champions League games.
After 4-1 losses to both Liverpool and Manchester United, Leicester’s latest heavy beating was administered by Chelsea, which won a second straight game since manager Antonio Conte switched to a three-man defense.
Diego Costa with his seventh goal of the season Eden Hazard and Victor Moses were the scorers at Stamford Bridge.
Leicester has lost four games this season, one more than in the whole of its title-winning campaign.
After seven games in caretaker charge, Mike Phelan was finally announced as permanent manager of Hull on Friday. A day later, his first match as fulltime coach was a 6-1 loss at Bournemouth.
Sunderland stayed in last place and is still without a win this season after losing 2-0 at Stoke, whose goals came from Joe Allen.
Crystal Palace hosts West Ham in the late game Saturday.