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.
Arsenal – I promise to sign every player to a long-term contract and don’t sell big in the summer.
Since July 2009, the Gunners have lost Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Eduardo Da Silva, Cesc Fàbregas, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri, Alex Song and biggest of all, Robin Van Persie. All, barring the recent departures, have won a trophy since leaving the Emirates. As much as Arsenal have to offer, it seems clubs elsewhere have just got that little bit more.
By making a real effort in the upcoming January transfer window, big world-class signings alongside a contract renewal for Theo Walcott can make Arsenal genuine contenders for upcoming trophies. By winning something, they can promise players the luxury of trophies, something they have lacked for seven years.
Aston Villa – I promise to get some experience at the back and stop conceding goals!
Paul Lambert has constructed the most exciting Villa side since the likes of Ashley Young, Gareth Barry and James Milner used to wear claret and blue. With an average aged side of twenty-three, Aston Villa look a team full of potential and Lambert must be hoping Alan Hansen’s 1995 comment on ‘never winning anything with kids’ is once again contradicted.
Yet with an 8-0 defeat at Chelsea which could have easily been twenty to the Blues if they went into a higher gear, the team’s inexperience is costing them vital points. What is simply a project in motion, the Villains must find the right balance between experience and youth and may need to spend a little in January and the summer to force their way back into the top half of the table. A bid for a decent centre-back might go a long way.
Chelsea – I promise to stand by a manager through thick and thin, even if things look bleak.
This resolution could be instantly disproved by some Chelsea fans as the manner of changing dictators at Chelsea has seen nothing but success in the past seasons. When Roberto Di Matteo was in a bad run of form, Rafa Benitez has seemingly done no harm by picking up the pieces and bringing Fernando Torres’ contact lenses back. Now in third place, and within touching distance of City, Stamford Bridge is once again a happy place.
Now with many fans expecting some serious business in January, just how would Benitez be expected to pull off a big transfer when his contract is up at the end of the season? Unless he was to win the Europa League, Premier League and F.A Cup treble, owner Roman Abramovich is more than likely to go for better options in Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
The lack of loyalty may find itself stemming down to the players. Just how long can they keep changing tact before the absence of stability becomes an issue?
Everton – I promise to keep the consistency and spend some cash to push for a Champions League place.
Into January, the Toffees find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Now in fifth place and level on points with fourth, it will be something special if Everton can stay there until May. In the past six seasons, David Moyes has steered his side into eighth place and higher, with this being the highest standing in December since their Champions League qualifying campaign of 2004/05. Can they repeat the feat again?
If so, there needs to be some new blood at Goodison Park as on paper, the squad is starting to look paper thin. The suspension of Marouane Fellaini has already plastered a dent on their season and if the influential trio of Steven Pienaar. Leon Osman and Leighton Baines were to ever get injured, who could adequately replace them?
And that’s not even mentioning top goal scorer Nikica Jelavić.
Fulham – I promise to build a team around Dimitar Berbatov and bolster the midfield as soon as possible.
When Moussa Dembele and Clint Dempsey both felt they had achieved everything they could with Fulham, they headed to Tottenham Hotspur and are now looking at Champions League qualification. With a reported figure of £22m being made from their respected sales, the only high-profile signing Martin Jol made was the acquisition of Dimitar Berbatov.
The Bulgarian has since made a big impact at Craven Cottage but still needs the support to be able to use his full potential. What the Cottagers are missing is a creative midfield dynamo who can turn possession into goal scoring chances. Berbatov’s finishing is that good that you give him an opportunity on a plate and he’ll take it, eyes closed. Dempsey and Dembele both possessed the inventive characteristics of a playmaker and a replacement player needs to arrive to give the midfield a boost.
With roughly £10m left-over from last summer’s dealings, further backing from the board may be required to land that special talent to turn Fulham from a mid-table side to a Europe-chasing outfit.