Following the Crystal Palace - Swansea City game last Saturday was akin to riding the proverbial
sports roller coaster. First Palace took the lead; then Swansea took what is usually
a pretty comfortable lead in a soccer game, 3-1; then Palace battled back to make the
score an improbable 4-3 with only six minutes (plus stoppage time) to go; and most
improbably of all, Swansea City scored two goals in rapid succession to win the game
5-4. Good for American coach Bob Bradley, who won his first Premier League game, and
the first ever by an American coach; really, really bad for James Pardew, who now
finds his coaching job on the line.
The main reason for all the scoring was that neither Swansea City or Crystal Palace
did a very good job of defending free kicks and corner kicks. One wonders how much
of that is skill and how much of that is fortune, but likely the better teams don't allow
as many goals on "set pieces" as poorer teams. Of course, the poorer teams don't have
the highly-skilled and athletic players that are seen on better teams frequently scoring on set
Well, the articles indicate Pardew's job is on the line, and it should certainly be.
Unfortunately, though, losing Wilfried Zaha for five weeks to the Cup of Africa in
January won't help either. And even worse is the loss of forward Connor Wickham to a season-ending knee injury. So the team is going to have to figure out how to be
more stingy on defense and find somebody that can score occasionally, or their three-year
run in the Premier League will end this May. And Pardew's run will have ended long before that.