So that’s Christmas over and done with for another year. And speaking of years, the horror show that’s been 2016 is coming to a close and a new year (2017, we’re assuming) is almost upon us. As January 1st edges ever closer, our thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions. But not ours or yours. After all, who cares about a bunch of lies about gym memberships?!
We’re more interested in what potential resolutions the twenty Premier League clubs are wrestling with. What are their goals and targets? What should they do more of? And less of? Who might they try and snaffle or ditch in the January transfer window? That kinda thing.
So here goes. Premier League sides’ New Years’ resolutions. Club by club…
November and December are often quite underwhelming months for the North Londoners. True, a tricky draw in Europe against Bayern Munich was a lowlight, but results wise? It’s been pretty good for them this year. As ever, consistency will be the New Year wish they almost certainly won’t stick to. They could do with another striker too. An injury to Sanchez will leave Giroud their own goal-getter. Unless you count Lucas Perez. Which you probably shouldn’t.
Eddie Howe pulled off a huge coup signing Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere on loan for this season. He’s an injury-prone fella, so keeping him fit will be the club’s main priority. Especially when you see how pivotal the diminutive schemer is for them. Also, a personal one for him – knock the fags on the head eh, Jack?
They’re inconsistent though, too. A good season thus far has been somewhat marred by all the goals they’ve conceded. A new centre back would be handy.
For clubs like Burnley, the only wish they’ll have for 2017 is to stay up. But what can they do to try and acheive that feat? Well, keep scoring for starters. Andre Gray and Sam Vokes could use some support. Ashley Barnes is an able deputy, but Sean Dyche will want his midfield to start bulging the net a bit more.
When you win all your games, it’s tricky to want more, isn’t it? But then, this is Chelsea. And they are pretty greedy. Silverware will be in their sights. And maybe more than one trophy too.
With a new boss in the dugout, it’s all change at Selhurst Park. Sam Allardyce’s appointment was almost as inevitable as his predecessor’s sacking. His resolution in the job? Plug the back, stop leaking goals. And personally? Keep his nose clean for a bit. And only drink Sauvignon Blanc by the wine glass.
Ronald Koeman’s men need to get some consistency. One key way they can do that is to get Ross Barkley back on form. He’s had a pretty poor start to the season and fallen out of favour a little at Goodison Park and a lot with the England set-up. Lukaku is banging them in, so they’ll need him to keep firing.
As for new additions? Everton are red hot favourites to sign the former Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin from Manchester United and end his bench-warming woe. Rumours are also abound that Memphis Depay could be heading the Toffees’ way. They could use a new ‘keeper too.
A good way to get yourself relegated from any league is to ship goals at one end and not bother scoring them at the other. Robert Snodgrass is the only Hull player capable of scoring. So their resolution should be to get Snoddy to take training ground shooting practice from now on.
Nice and simple, this one. They’ve naused the league up. So they’ve got to win the Champions League. EASY.
Mostly, the resolution around Anfield will be for everyone to ‘keep it up’. But Jurgen Klopp could well be having a word in Daniel Sturridge’s ear and asking for some more effort and consistency. He might also be whispering to the board about a new left back too. Alberto Moreno isn’t the best and James Milner, though effective, just isn’t a left back. Oh, and a new goalie wouldn’t go amiss either, eh?
Maybe Klopp could make an effort to keep his specs on his face this year too. Perhaps invest in some glasses string so you don’t lose them, Jurgs.
The Guardiola ‘era’ hasn’t been as scintillating as people thought it might be so far, has it? He needs time and the chance to build a squad and he’ll get it. But the work starts immediately as soon as the clock strikes midnight on January 1st 2017. Alright, maybe not ‘immediately’, but he can’t hang about in shoring up that leaky defence. A wise old head is needed to play alongside – and help teach – John Stones.
2016 is ending on a bit of a high for the formerly beleaguered Jose Mourinho and the shellshocked United fans. Neither party is used to being a loser, but it looks like things are happening for both again. Jose would do well to set himself a resolution or two, though. ‘Think before you speak’ being one of them. And, more importantly, ‘Stop falling out with everyone’. Criticising Luke Shaw for his injury this year was probably the lowlight.
Like a few clubs in this list, Boro’s main New Year’s resolution will be to remain a Premier League side post-Spring. The best way to do that? Buy some goals. If we were Aitor Karanka, we’d resolve to buy a pacy frontman.
Southampton will be wishing for Charlie Austin’s speedy recovery as the fireworks explode on New Year’s Eve. And also hoping that Shane Long is ready and capable of filling in for the lively English forward. They could benefit from some investment in January too. Claude Puel never really replaced Saido Mane.
One win in the first seven games of the season, the Potters looked in trouble. But a good run since then has all but guaranteed a nice mid-table finish. Mark Hughes’ previous resolutions – to make Stoke play prettier football – came good. But while he has options up front (Crouch, Walters, Bony, Bojan), he could use a truly outstanding eighteen yard box predator
Sunderland might as well have their New Year’s resolution written on their crest, it’s so eternal… ‘Stay up’.
Hire a manager who understands British football (one who doesn’t call penalties ‘PKs’). And quickly.
A clear New Year’s resolution for Spurs is to get Vincent Janssen playing. The 22 year-old works hard, but he just doesn’t score enough in open play. That’ll be a priority. They’ll want to keep up their league form, but some extra effort will be needed if they want to finish in the Champions League spots this year. It’s a competitive season. The answer? Buy another striker. How much would Vardy set them back, do you think…?
There really is a dearth of good strikers in the Premier League at the moment, isn’t there? It’s a good job most of the defenders in the league are as ropy as the strikers. Otherwise every game would end goalless. There must easily be a dozen sides in the league that can count the number of good strikers they have on their books on one finger. Deeney aside, bagging another capable striker has to be top of the list of Walter Mazzari’s shopping list.
The Baggies kicked off slowly and Tony Pulis was an early favourite to be the first boss canned. But they rallied and sit ninth after the Boxing Day fixtures. He’ll need to keep his fairly thin squad fit though, ol’ Tony. If the baseball capped one loses one of his prized performers, they could be in trouble.
It seems hopeful to say they may resolve to patch things up with Saido Berahino, the striker who seems poised to stay rotting away at The Hawthorns forever. But they need another striker or at the very least a creative midfielder to assist Matty Phillips, Nacer Chadli and Salomon Rondon in bagging the goals.
At one point last year, it looked as though the Hammers’ primary goal in 2017 would be finding a new manager. But they’ve turned things around of late and Bilic looks set to stay. He’ll want a better striker than Simone Zaza, though. That’s got to be his top thought at the moment.
Also, a resolution for the fans – maybe enrol on an anger management programme. We know you don’t like your big new (taxpayer-funded) stadium, but jeez… Give the whining and punching opposition fans a rest, would you?
That’s how we see it, anyway. How about you? Any New Year’s resolutions you think we’ve missed off our list? Why not drop us a comment here on the blog or on Facebook or Twitter!