‘Tis the season to overeat, be merry and then, in an attempt to make yourself feel better, declare false promises as a way to prove you’ve learnt from past mistakes.
The festive period gives you the opportunity to right the wrongs of the previous year, and it gives football clubs the chance to do just that, too.
The first half of the season can be forgotten and the winter window gives teams the chance to freshen things up. It allows them to prove that they know where they went wrong.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with New Year’s resolutions for every single Premier League club.
Arsenal: Learn how to negotiate contract extensions
It takes a special kind of club to allow £300million worth of talent to leave for next to nothing, but it’s very much a reality for Arsenal.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain departed for Liverpool on deadline day for a fee believed to be in the region of £35million. On paper it’s a good deal for a player with just 12 months left on his deal, but just imagine what they could’ve got for ‘The Ox’ had he been tied to a long-term deal.
Meanwhile, Alexis Sánchez looks destined to join Manchester City on a free transfer and Mesut Özil is a Manchester United transfer target. The Gunners paid a combined £73million for the pair but in today’s volatile market they could be worth over £200million.
Jack Wilshere is also set to leave the Emirates for nothing in the summer and although he’s not the player that was promised, he’s still worth a fair amount given English premium would’ve been added onto any valuation.
Arsène Wenger and Arsenal must address the way they negotiate new deals so they don’t find themselves in such a predicament ever again.
Brighton: Keep Pascal Groß at all costs
The 26-year-old midfielder signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer for £3million. Groß had impressed for Ingolstadt but didn’t do enough to get a move to a bigger German side.
However, he took to the Premier League like a duck to water and has been highly influential in Brighton’s surprising start to the season. The Mannheim-born midfielder has been involved in close to 60 per cent of the team’s goals this season.
If Brighton are to avoid a relegation battle then a lot will hinge on Groß. Bigger clubs will come calling if he continues to put in eye-catching performances but the temptation to turn a quick profit on him should be ignored.
Bournemouth: Learn how to sign players from abroad
Eddie Howe if often praised for playing football the right way. He’s been mentioned as a potential replacement for Wenger at Arsenal and touted as a future England manager. While he’s done a superb job at Bournemouth there is a question mark over his ability to exploit the foreign transfer market.
Since the club were promoted to the Premier League they’ve signed just four players from foreign clubs. For context, they’ve made 26 signings over the course of three summers, including includes the likes of Lewis Grabban, Tyrone Mings, Benik Afobe and Jordon Ibe.
The Cherries spent over £45million on these four players and none of them have really set the world alight, and it’s unlikely they’d recoup that money if they sold them on.
What Howe is trying to do is admirable but Bournemouth need to go shopping in the foreign market if they’re to climb the table. There’s much more value for money.
Burnley: Continue to annoy the stattos
Burnley have been keeping pace with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs this season, which is testament to the job Sean Dyche is doing at Turf Moor – especially when you consider they made a profit during the summer window and lost two of their key players in Andre Gray and Michael Keane.
What the Clarets are doing is unheard of and it’s going against everything the statisticians are saying – using the expected goals (xG) model, Burnley should be sitting in 19th position.
They’re outperforming their xG by around five goals – they should have scored the fewest number of goals in the Premier League and just aren’t creating high-quality chances.
Furthermore, the expected goals against model shows they should have conceded a total of 24 goals but Dyche’s men have been breached just the 12 times this season.
What they’re doing just can’t be quantified.
Chelsea: Stop undermining managers and sign players they actually want
The Premier League champions are in the midst of a civil war.
Michael Emenalo, the club’s technical director, resigned in November after a summer of disappointment. Despite his departure, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte still isn’t content if reports are to be believed and could return to Italy when the season comes to an end.
Many of the issues come from the fact Chelsea continue to sign players the manager doesn’t want. Not just that, though, they don’t even get deals for players they want over the line.
Conte won’t be able to be at his effective best if he’s not given the correct tools.
Crystal Palace: Ensure Christian Benteke is on the next team building day out
Roy Hodgson’s arrival at Selhurst Park reinvigorated the Crystal Palace team. However, they’ve still been unlucky in most of their matches.
Using the xG model to map the Premier League table, the Eagles are seventh in, ten points better off than they are in reality. Such bad luck isn’t sustainable and Palace should climb to a comfortable position sooner rather than later.
However, they need to take their chances, like a last minute penalty when the score is tied at 2-2. Egos need to be set aside. We’re looking at you, Mr. Benteke.
The Belgian took it upon himself to take the ball off of Luka Milivojević to take a penalty against Bournemouth before missing, much to the dismay of manager Hodgson. Such renegade behaviour can’t be repeated.
Everton: Stop playing Football Manager, buy players you actually need
The Toffees blew an ideal opportunity during the summer to turn the top six into a magnificent seven. Armed with the biggest transfer budget in club’s history, they went about their business with a scattergun approach with no clear vision in mind.
They sold the goals in their team, with Romelu Lukaku joining Manchester United, and failed to replace them. Instead Everton spent over £70million on Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen and ignored the lack of pace in their starting XI.
They and Ronald Koeman suffered because of it and have only got back on track after sacking the Dutchman and appointing Sam Allardyce. The former England manager will have to be allowed to do what he’s best at in the transfer window.
Huddersfield: Start building an Aaron Mooy statute
Huddersfield Town continue to live the dream and Mooy is the poster boy for it. The Australian has been influential in the memorable wins the Terriers have had this season.
He grabbed an assist in the opening game of the season, a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, he netted the winner against Newcastle United and scored in victories against Manchester United and Watford.
He has been the Terriers stand-out performer and if they stay in the top division, Mooy will have played a vital role. It then maybe time to get the chisel out…
Leicester City: Just stick with a manager
Leicester defied the odds back in 2015/16 to win the Premier League. But since the triumph they’ve been anything but consistent.
Claudio Ranieri, the man who guided the Foxes to the most unlikely of title wins, was sacked and Craig Shakespeare replaced him in February. He lasted eight months before Claude Puel was appointed as the manager at the King Power stadium.
If Leicester want sustained success then they need to be consistent, not just in terms of players but with managers, too.
Every coach has a preference, a style and a philosophy. It takes time to really get that across to the players and constantly changing will have a negative impact on the players and results in the long-term.
Liverpool: Stop taking other clubs’ players on day trips to Blackpool
Tapping up goes on in football. It’s common practice, despite the fact it’s illegal. Most clubs get away with it because they don’t brag about a deal being near completion before a fee has even been agreed.
This summer, as far as Liverpool were concerned, they had won the race to sign Virgil van Dijk. They’d fended off interested from Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal to convince the Southampton centre-back that the project at Anfield was the best place for him to develop as a player.
Someone at he club briefed members of the media and it was all over the internet, much to the dismay of Southampton.
It was then revealed Jürgen Klopp met with van Dijk in Blackpool and discussed his vision for the club with the player. The Reds were forced to publicly apologise to the Saints and agree not to make a move for the defender.
Best not do that again, even if they have ended up getting their man in a world-record £75million January deal.
Manchester City: Convince Pep To Finally Put Down Roots
The Premier League leaders have taken English football up another level this season under the Catalan coach.
Many claim his job is easy because he’s got a blank chequebook but many coaches have essentially what is an unlimited supply of money yet fail to do what Guardiola is doing.
He seems happy in Manchester and he’s got a number of player projects on the go, ones he will no doubt want to see through to the end. Manchester City need to do everything in their power to convince Guardiola to sign a new deal at the Eithad.
They need to ensure they’re the club he finally agrees to settle down with.
Manchester United: Break every fax machine to ensure De Gea stays for life
David de Gea should be a Real Madrid player. Back in the summer of 2015, everything was agreed but the story goes an error with a fax machine prevented him from returning to La Liga. The Red Devils are fortunate to still have the Spanish No.1.
Though famed for being defensively solid, José Mourinho’s men have been exposed on countless occasions this season and had it not been for de Gea between the sticks they wouldn’t be where they are now.
The xG model suggests they should be in sixth position and their goals against column should read 22, not the 11 it’s currently on.
Teams are creating high quality chances and it’s only because of the efforts of de Gea that more questions aren’t being asked of Mourinho.
Newcastle United: Actually buy Premier League-quality players
It must feel like Déjà vu for Rafael Benítez. The Newcastle manager has owners who won’t back him in the transfer market, just as he did while at Liverpool, and performances are suffering because of it, just like they did at Anfield.
Benítez is essentially having to pick from the squad that earned the club promotion from the Championship after a number of deals over the summer failed to materialise.
Clearly a brilliant tactician, he can’t work wonders and needs the right players to execute his plans.
Southampton: Sign a striker with the van Dijk money
The Saints stood firm in their refusal to sell star defender van Dijk to Liverpool in the summer, refusing the riches on offer and making a bold statement by electing not to kowtow to one of the Premier League’s ‘big six’.
However, with the Dutch defender’s form suffering as a result, Southampton have now accepted a eye-watering £75million bid – a world-record fee for a defender – from the Reds for the former Celtic man, who will move to Anfield on January 1.
Southampton must now make sure the money they receive for van Dijk is properly reinvested. Owning one of the worst conversion rates in the Premier League (11.6 per cent) and with the ongoing injury issues of top scorer Charlie Austin, the Saints desperately need a new, high-quality striker.
Stoke: Stop signing players who were good in 2012
Bojan, Ibrahim Affelay, Marko Arnautović, Xherdan Shaqiri and Erik Peters. All are players who were at one time or another tipped to be stars when they first appeared for their respective teams. All failed to really fulfil their potential before eventually ending up at the Bet365 stadium.
And it appears the Stoke City hierarchy continue to only have Football Manager 2012 on their laptops, it’s the only plausible explanation as to why they fail to make shrew signings instead of players who have failed to live up to their potential…Jesé, anyone?
Can’t someone just buy Stoke a Football Manager 2018? It may serve them well.
Swansea: Get ready for the Championship (sorry)
It’s perhaps premature to wave the white flag but Swansea look like they’re in trouble. They replaced Fernando Llorente in the summer, signing Tammy Abraham and Wilfried Bony, but failed to bring in anybody to replace Gylfi Sigurðsson.
The Icelandic international left the Liberty Stadium and with it went the creativity from their squad. Paul Clement brought in Renato Sanches but the Bayern Munich loanee hasn’t settled to life in Wales and could return to Germany in January.
There’s no supply line to the forwards and without goals there’s no chance you stay in the Premier League.
Tottenham: Don’t sell players to rival Premier League clubs
Tottenham Hotspur have emerged as serious contenders for the Premier League title under Mauricio Pochettinno but Daniel Levy, a shrewd businessman, knows it’ll be a task to keep the squad together in the coming 18 months.
So far, Spurs have done well to keep the majority of their talented group together, however, sooner or later players will start to agitate for a moves away, as Danny Rose did in the summer and Kyle Walker, now of Manchester City, before him.
Tottenham can’t afford to let history repeat itself, they can’t weaken themselves while strengthening a direct rival.
If Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Rose, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier do eventually leave the club, they can’t be allowed to join another Premier League team, no matter the money.
If Spurs want to regularly be competing for a place in the Champions League then first and foremost, they can’t sell their star names. But if they opt to do so, sell them to anyone outside of England.
Watford: Book anger management classes
No Premier League team has had more red cards since the start of 2016/17 than the Hornets.
Marco Silva‘s men have picked up four red cards already this season – one more than both Chelsea and Huddersfield – in addition to the five they were handed last term.
Watford have been stung by their lack of discipline in recent weeks, picking up three red cards in as many games, all of which ended in defeat.
As a result, Watford dropped down the table after an impressive start. The Premier League is a difficult league with 11 players on the pitch, it’s even harder when you’re regularly a man down.
They need to improve on their discipline otherwise what started off as a promising campaign could quickly turn into a relegation battle.
West Brom: Book in dance lessons for Alan Pardew
New West Bromwich Albion manger Pardew is famed for the jig he did in the FA Cup final after Crystal Palace scored against Manchester United.
If the Baggies are to avoid relegation this season, they’re currently 19th, then the players will have to be in sync with their new boss.
He needs to get The Full Monty on at the training ground and teach the team to be as organised and synchronised as the Arsenal backline of the 1990s.
West Ham: Refuse to get Moyes’ old band back together
While trusting players isn’t a thing, a good manager should be able to adapt his methods to get the best out of the players already at the club.
Furthermore, the Hammers have a talented group of players and Moyes should look to utilise what he has at his disposal before he brings in the old boys he’s worked with before.
There’s no need to bring Bryan Oviedo to the London Stadium.