With New Year’s Day fast approaching and 2013 just around the corner, all twenty clubs in the Premier League will be hoping for bigger and better results. Just what they need differs from team to team but every manager knows who or what they want.
And with a New Year, comes New Year’s resolutions. Welcome to Part Four.
Swansea City – I promise to play the Barcelona way and keep Michu unless a big offer comes in.
The style of play first started from Brendan Rodgers (would you believe it?) has taken the Premier League by storm as Arsenal, who are said to play the most attractive football in England, have finally got competition. New head coach, Michael Laudrup has inherited the team this summer and immediately got the players working hard to make them a force to beat at home and away.
The 2-0 victory at Arsenal emphasised just how far Swansea have come in a matter of years and with a League cup semi-final against Chelsea, could the Swans win their first ever major English trophy? Somebody who will make or break that prospect is £2m summer-signing Michu, who is already the second-top scorer in the Premier League. If the Spaniard keeps fit throughout the season, he could be the main man to lead Swansea to a European position.
However, we all know January poses a problem for clubs to hold on to their star players but I believe Swansea can profit from the sale of Michu and should sell if the right offer comes in. If the 26-year-old was only £2m, who could Laudrup buy with more money?
Tottenham Hotspur – I promise to hold on to Gareth Bale and regain our place in the Champions League.
Currently in fourth spot, Andre Villas-Boas has come into a side who know exactly what it takes to get into Europe’s top competition and by narrowly missing out last year due to Chelsea’s triumph, Tottenham will be eager to take no chances this year. The North London club hold one of the biggest talents in England in the shape of Gareth Bale and they’ll do well to retain his services this year as his reputation gains.
Rumoured to be on Jose Mourinho’s wish-list, it wouldn’t take long for any player to make a decision if Real Madrid come knocking. Yet with Chairman Daniel Levy’s reputation of grinding out a deal, a massive bid may be the only way to prise the Welshman away.
The questions stands: Are Spurs capable of replacing Bale? As it stands, the 23-year-old is a player who can change a game within a heartbeat and with Luka Modrić and Rafael Van der Vaart leaving last summer, what message does this send to the fans if Bale leaves too?
West Bromwich Albion – I promise to build on our dazzling start and quietly go about our business.
They may have been beaten 2-0 at Old Trafford recently but the score-line flattered Manchester United to an extent where West Bromwich Albion maybe should have nicked a point. Such is the rise of Steve Clark’s men that saw them in fourth place after seven games. Memorable wins over Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea, all at home was a different story to those of the past seasons.
If The Baggies can keep up the level of performances that saw Manchester City struggle to score until the last few minutes at The Hawthorns and Arsenal needing two penalties to overcome them, they can go far this year. Reaching for Europe could be a possibility and with Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie and Romelu Lukaku proving deadly upfront, Clark can look forward to an impressive 2013.
West Ham United – I promise to continue our good home form and sign a prolific striker.
Just like Southampton, coming back into the Premier League can sometimes be pretty tough considering the difficulty shift from the Championship to England’s top division. However with twenty-three points already accumulated this season and in twelfth position, West Ham may have struck the right balance to retain their Premier League place.
Only three defeats at home so far, Upton Park has been host to unforgettable wins over Chelsea, Southampton and a deserving 0-0 draw with Man City. Although away wins are hard to come by, Sam Allardyce will be looking to make it tough for big clubs to take points away from home. The only genuine problem the Hammers have is the lack of quality strikers. Ricardo Vaz Te’s injury means experienced Premier League strikers only include Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll.
Yeah, Andy Carroll.
A striker should be top priority this January as midfielder Kevin Nolan is top-scorer this season and pressure has to be spread out across the team.
Wigan Athletic – I promise to forget about the poor start and keep reaching for a higher place.
Usually what Wigan do in a season is play poorly for three quarters of it before saving themselves from relegation via the skin of their teeth. This year, it has been no different. In 2011/12, Wigan avoided the drop two games before the end of the season and this year, they find themselves fighting again with only a point difference between them and eighteenth place.
Roberto Martinez has always been applauded with his ability to steer the team away from the bottom three in circumstances where any inferior manager would have failed. Yet year on year, The Latics find themselves fighting for survival again and again and this is something Martinez needs to fix before seventeenth place becomes one place too much.
A well-renowned striker should be on the cards as a replacement for Hugo Rodallega as the gap he left behind hasn’t been filled. Additionally, a better group of defenders should be of significance because in goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi and midfielder James McCarthy, they do have some promise in some areas. Martinez needs to buy now or risk chasing shadows forever.
Or until he leaves to become Chelsea coach.