Sigurdsson, Llorente earn top marks as Swansea win nine goal thriller
Swansea twice came from behind in a nine goal thriller to win their first match under Bob Bradley in the most entertaining game of the season so far.
Five goals from a team averaging less than one a game is a huge improvement. Fernando Llorente found his scoring touch and should start the next few matches, while Jefferson Montero reminded everyone why he is still one of Swansea's most dangerous players.
Bradley has been trying to find his best starting XI, but has forced players to fit a scheme rather than building the scheme around the players, surely the only viable option for a club short on depth and money. Saturday's shoot-out was a perfect demonstration of the offensive talent in this squad, and regardless of the fact Crystal Palace defended poorly, Bradley has to take note of who this side's real difference makers are. Clue -- it's not Wayne Routledge.
This team cannot defend a lead, and while Saturday had a storybook ending for Swansea, that isn't going to happen often. This squad no longer has dominant defensive players anywhere on the field, and the old adage about attack being the best form of defence would seem to ring true here.
Swansea's troubles started as soon as they tried to park the bus. Perhaps a better option would be to keep attacking a reeling opponent instead of giving them a chance to find a way back into the game?
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- It felt like Swansea won this one despite their manager rather than because of him. Naming an unchanged team for the first time since taking over was a way to reward the players for last week's 1-1 draw against Everton, but did nothing to address Palace's defensive deficiencies, particularly on set-pieces.
Llorente wasn't introduced until the 66th minute when he should have started given his aerial prowess, while the game-changing arrival of Montero from the bench was a move only made after Palace had forced Bradley's hand. That might be a lucky development for the future -- the Ecuadorian winger played a key part in Swansea's crucial fourth goal, but he'd still be the forgotten man had the Swans been able to defend when leading 3-1.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Lukasz Fabianksi, 6 -- Not a great day for the keeper who made no big saves, although as usual his defence made life difficult.
DF Kyle Naughton, 6 -- Serviceable but unspectacular. Not every player can shine every game.
DF Federico Fernandez, 6 -- Was caught out defensively on Palace's fourth goal, but still made 13 clearances and played a crucial part in the game-winner at the other end.
DF Jordi Amat, 6 -- Always impresses with his energy and made a key tackle on Christian Benteke.
DF Neil Taylor, 6 -- Chalked up an assist and made a couple of solid defensive plays, but was far too soft on Palace's opener.
MF Jack Cork, 5 -- Sub par by Cork's standards and the unfortunate victim of an own goal. Could make way for Llorente next week with a shift back to 4-2-3-1.
MF Jay Fulton, 7 -- Led the entire field with seven attempted tackles and looks to be making the most of his first team chances.
MF Leroy Fer, 8 -- Has a nose for the net and further extended his lead as Swansea's unlikely top scorer. Was culpable on James Tomkins goal though, and needs to sharpen up defensively.
FW Modou Barrow, 8 -- Terrorised Palace all game long, and is starting to get back to his best. If played with Montero on the other wing and Llorente in the middle, Swansea could probably score their way out of the relegation zone.
FW Gylfi Sigurdsson, 10 -- An incredible performance from Swansea's saviour who played a part in all five goals on the day, took seven shots and opened the scoring for Swansea with an excellent free kick.
FW Wayne Routledge, 6 -- Undroppable under Garry Monk, undroppable under Bradley, and underwhelming as usual. Given Montero's impact from the bench, he has to make way next week, surely?
FW Fernando Llorente, 9 -- Proved his worth by bullying the Palace defence into giving up goals and managed three shots on target in thirty minutes. His positioning, reflexes and touch show his pedigree. Swansea are in no position to bench a world class talent like this.
DF Angel Rangel, NR -- Came on in the 79th minute but didn't play a major part in the game.
FW Jefferson Montero, NR -- The winger is a perfect complement to the aerially dominant Llorente, which suggests a seemingly simple solution to Swansea's scoring woes.