Happy New Year!
But there’s no time to rest in English football.
Ahead of the New Year’s Day fixtures, here’s one 2020 resolution for every team in the Premier League.
Find their identity
It’s been a turbulent season for Arsenal who have had Unai Emery, Freddie Ljungberg and now Mikel Arteta prowling the touchline – all before January.
The Spaniard has been tasked with starting a rebuild in north London and first on his list? Associating a playing style and identity back to a football club who have lost their way.
Keep Jack Grealish
After an impressive start to Premier League life, Aston Villa are unsurprisingly battling the drop despite spending over €100m this summer.
Keeping Jack Grealish is imperative. The 24-year-old makes them tick and with John McGinn out through injury, they’ll be needing their academy product more than ever.
Get Wilson scoring again
Bournemouth have always been a vibrant, attacking outlet during their time in the Premier League. But we need to talk about Callum Wilson.
The England international hasn’t scored a goal since September 28 and it’s no surprise to see the Cherries struggling. They need him firing again in front of goal.
Prove their top flight worth
Confidently and quietly, Brighton have gone about their business under Graham Potter. That resulted in him earning a shiny new contract extension and his project can truly begin.
Their recruitment is excellent, the Seagulls have a strong spine with Mat Ryan, Lewis Dunk and Dale Stephens – now they have to build around it and become a mainstay in the top flight.
Tighten up at the back
If there’s one thing you’d associate Burnley with, it’s hard-noised defending. Yet here the Clarets are, being let down by their ability to protect their own goal.
Whether it’s to do with tactics or personnel, a disappointing defensive record is what’s keeping Burnley out of the hunt for a European place right now.
Flex their financial muscles
Chelsea have enjoyed a hugely impressive start under Frank Lampard, with their talented youth products proving age is just a number.
But their two-window transfer ban has been lifted and with a healthy transfer kitty ready to be unleashed, they could really attack the market to boost their top four hopes.
Figure out Zaha’s future
Wilfried Zaha’s shadow looms over Selhurst Park whenever the transfer window swings around. This January is no different.
The winger hasn’t been at the top of his game so far this season but remains Palace’s most crucial player. It’s probably time to work on a plan to move on from the Ivorian international.
Bring some big club energy
Everton have lost their way in recent years, but the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti has officially put them back on the map.
They are one of the biggest clubs in English football and they need to act like it. Spend wisely, start building a squad that can challenge and bring in one marquee player – ideally a centre back.
Go the season unbeaten
This Liverpool side look certain to win their first Premier League title in 31 years, sitting clear of both Leicester and Manchester City in the table.
But they’re not just top. They’re the only team in England yet to face defeat. Could they match the incredible Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003/04? Why not!
Regain some fear factor
It’s natural for teams to go through cycles of success, but Manchester United are just a whole lot of ‘meh’ right now.
Their counter-attacking strength suits the big games but when teams come and match them at Old Trafford? They don’t have the answers. Finding that swagger again is crucial.
Focus on the Champions League
Nobody likes to admit it, but deep down, Pep Guardiola and Manchester City know the league title is heading to Anfield.
It’s time to put all their eggs in the Champions League basket. Pep wants it. The players want it. The owners want it. Just sign some defenders in January and put every last ounce of energy into Europe.
Accommodate their record signing
It’s rare that Newcastle splash out in the transfer market and it’s even rarer to see them spend €45m, but Joelinton hasn’t quite worked out yet.
The big Brazilian has just one goal to his name 20 appearances and is struggling to be the ‘target man’ for Steve Bruce. He is better than that – find a way to accommodate his more rounded qualities.
Make a fortune when players are sold
Bottom of the league heading into 2020, Norwich are, in all likelihood, going to get relegated.
And that means the rest of the Premier League will be sniffing around the likes of Emi Buendia and Todd Cantwell. If and when the vultures do swoop, Norwich will have to get the best deal possible in order to rebuild and try to bounce straight back up.
Finish in the top four
Going from Mauricio Pochettino to José Mourinho is a significant footballing change, so adding security of Champions League football is crucial.
Players will leave in January, players could arrive in January, but providing a stable platform for him to build on would make a huge difference.
Establish their top four credentials
Leicester have suffered relegation, enjoyed title wins and everything in between this decade, and their goal under Brendan Rodgers is simply to establish themselves as a top four side.
They are just a brilliantly run football club. With other traditional ‘top six’ sides faltering, their time to take advantage is now.
Aim for Europe
Sheffield United have been a surprise package so far this term, currently sitting in x place despite playing all the big boys.
Why shouldn’t they be aiming for Europe? They’ve got a great manager, a well drilled squad and a water-tight defence. Wolves did it last year. The precedent is there.
Back Hasenhüttl in January
Southampton are flirting with survival following their Danny Ings-inspired resurgence in December, but there is still work to be done.
Ralph Hasenhüttl has promised signings in January and now the board have to back him and offer him funds. Their top flight status depends on it.
Avoid the drop
Bad news. Watford are currently 19th. And only three teams have ever survived relegation having been bottom of the Premier League table at Christmas.
Good news. One of those teams were Nigel Pearson’s Leicester City in 2014-15. They need some of that experience again if they want to stay up.
Tighten up defensively
Nobody is expecting West Ham to reach Liverpool levels of defensive consistency, but since October 5, the Hammers have kept just two clean sheets.
Bringing in David Moyes again has painted the board in another negative light, but the least you can expect from him is to drill this pathetic backline into some stability.
Go far in Europe
What a season it’s been for Wolves so far. But a deep run in the Europa League would make it even better.
Next up for them in the round of 32 is Espanyol. Negotiate that and they’ll fancy themselves for a runt o the quarter-finals at least …