The new year is upon us and for most people it couldn’t come quick enough after the mess that was 2016.
And it’s at this point that most people make New Year’s Resolutions and set themselves goals for the coming 12 months (that they will probably break before the New Year’s Day hangover even kicks in).
But what resolutions should the 20 Premier League teams set themselves for the coming 12 months? Here are some suggestions…
Arsenal – Give Sanchez whatever he wants
It might be the most obvious observation ever but the Chilean will be pivotal to any trophy the Gunners win this season.
He has scored or assisted 27 goals in his last 27 Premier League games for Arsenal (19 goals, 8 assists) and without him Arsenal have just Olivier Giroud or Lucas Perez up front.
Reports suggest Sanchez is stalling over a new contract but Arsenal should just give him whatever he wants to convince him to stay.
Whether that’s a bumper new contract or little jumpers for his dogs, whatever it is, give it to him.
Arsene Wenger on Ozil and Sanchez contracts
Bournemouth – Sign Jack Wilshere
Ok, maybe more of a hopeful wish than a resolution but the Arsenal midfielder has been a revelation on the south coast.
The England international has been a driving force in the Cherries’ midfield, after completing 90 minutes and notching his first assist for the first time in two years.
If Eddie Howe can convince Arsene Wenger to part with Wilshere, the Cherries could easily secure a top 10 finish this season.
Burnley – Work out how to win away from home
I’m not sure how the Clarets could do this, but they need to somehow make away games feel like they are playing at home.
Could they take everything in their Turk Moor changing room to each away game or put pictures of Burnley town centre over the windows of the team bus or something?
Sean Dyche’s men are still to win on the road this season but at home have beaten Everton, Liverpool Palace and most recently smashed Sunderland.
Whatever they are doing at Turf Moor is working.
Chelsea – Play Fabregas more
Only a few weeks ago the former Arsenal and Barcelona man was done.
He didn’t fit into Antonio Conte ’s system, he was old and his Premier League days were done. But the Spaniard had one of the most profitable festive periods of any player in the top flight.
He set up one goal against Bournemouth for Pedro and two against Stoke to become the fourth highest assister in Premier League history and the quickest ever reach 100 assists.
He is on a red hot streak of form so Conte needs to find a way to play him every week.
Crystal Palace – Practice penalties
Sam Allardyce has a lot of things to work on in his first few weeks as Palace boss but one of the priorities surely must be to practise penalties.
The Eagles have been awarded the joint most spot-kicks of any side this season with five, but have already managed to miss three. No-one else has missed more.
And those came via their two record signings Christian Benteke and Yohan Cabaye. Maybe just let Martin Kelly take the next one?
Everton – Buy. Another. Striker.
The Toffees cannot rely on Romelu Lukaku for goals.
Only six times this season have they scored more than once in matches and that was against the likes of Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hull.
Seamus Coleman is their third top scorer for God sake.
Hull – Wrap Robert Snodgrass in cotton wool
The Scottish midfielder who loves a tumble under zero contact in the box is literally the only Hull player doing anything of note right now.
He has been involved in half of his side’s goals in the Premier League this season, with six goals and two assists (yes, they have only scored 16).
If the Tigers lose him their slim chances of staying up completely vanish.
Leicester – Do whatever they want
Another team that could probably do with winning a few more away games, Leicester just don’t see that bothered this season.
They’ve already completed the Premier League and unless they somehow win the Champions League nothing will come close to the achievements of last season.
They probably won’t go down so can just do whatever they want really, except for print 30,000 Jamie Vardy masks again, that was a terrible idea.
Liverpool – Get a new goalkeeper
No-one is criticising Liverpool ’s attacking prowess at the moment. Not for one second.
But maybe, just maybe, if they managed to sign a goalkeeper who didn’t constantly drop the ball into his own net and kick it out for a corner from his own goal kicks, they might actually have a chance of winning the Premier League title.
Manchester City – Fix John Stones
Does anyone know what Pep Guardiola has done to John Stones?
Because just six short months ago he was this country’s next defensive hope and now he’s this country’s next defensive scapegoat for Russia 2018.
Pep needs to find a way to install some confidence in the young lad because right now City could do with a defender what can, you know, actually defend.
Manchester United – Let Zlatan and Pogba train on their own
Even though you wouldn’t notice from Jose Mourinho ’s dour expression these days, Manchester United have hit some form at the end of 2016.
Mostly down to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, the latter who has found the Big Swede for all three of his assists this season.
Zlatan, meanwhile, has scored 50 goals in 2016 with only Lionel Messi netting more this year.
Let those two get on with it and 2017 might not be that bad for the Red Devils.
Middlesbrough – Learn how to shoot
Despite seemingly just getting on with things this season, Boro are in a spot of bother, especially going forward.
They have registered the fewest number of shots on target and averaged just 2.6 per game.
They’ve scored just 17 goals (only Hull have managed fewer) and are in that little group just above the drop.
Working out how to get the round white thing into that big outdoor netting square might help.
Southampton – Work out how to hold onto a lead
Claude Puel’s side have thrown away the most points from leading positions this season and were at it again on New Year’s Eve.
Only Spurs have lost more games ever in Premier League history from being ahead while West Brom’s win at St Mary’s was the first time the Saints have lost two home games in a row for more than two years.
Sort that out and they should be marching again in 2017.
Stoke – Stop scoring own goals
Everyone loves an own goal.
It’s always funny to see a defender stick it into his own net by mistake but Stoke seem to enjoy it more than most.
They have scored three own goals already this season, more than any other Premier League side, all three of them coming on the road.
It they stopped being so gosh darn generous they could maybe push on for a top 10 finish.
Sunderland – Cast a spell to ward off bad luck
Seriously at this point it’s starting to look like someone has cursed Sunderland ’s season. Just when things were starting to look on the up for David Moyes and co they have been hit with a horrendous amount of injuries and bad luck.
Against Burnley two players were forced off the pitch, one of them after crashing into the advertising boards.
Aside from trying to appease the injury gods with a dance or something there doesn’t look like much Moyes can do.
Swansea – Stop firing managers
The Swans have been sacking managers like it’s going out of fashion.
They are already onto their third manager of the season for the second campaign in a row and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that sort of approach doesn’t make for a settled squad.
The team are a mess, having conceded as many goals at home already this season than they managed the whole of last season and whoever comes in has an impossible job on their hands.
Assuming they make it to the end of the season in charge.
Tottenham – Clone Harry Kane
That or find another striker who can score goals when the No.10 isn’t around.
Spurs went 600 minutes in all competitions without scoring from open play earlier in the season and that coincided with Harry Kane ’s absence through injury.
While Ali, Erikssen and Son have been chipping in there is no-one who can fill Kane’s boots.
Summer signing Vincent Janseen has just three goals so Spurs need to hope they can keep Kane fit for the rest of the season.
Watford – Get a new mascot
Far from me to criticise a grown man dressed up as a giant hornet, but mascots (the ones in giant animal costumes not the kids who lead the team out) are there to gee up the fans and not do mock dives in front of players, no matter how much they like to go to ground.
Maybe someone at Vicarage Road could have a quiet word with Harry The Hornet about toning it down.
West Brom – Become Welsh
Or whatever it takes to get the most out of Hal Robson-Kanu.
The Welsh forward had to wait until New Year’s Eve for his first start for the Baggies but smashed in a belter to secure an impressive win at Southampton.
No-one seemed convinced he could cut it in the Premier League but his performances for Wales in the summer at Euro 2016 and that goal at St Mary’s suggest maybe he can.
If Tony Pulis can get the best out of him for the remainder of the season it could go down as one of the best free transfer moves yet.
West Ham – Put in more crosses
Despite constantly looking to play the ‘ West Ham way’ the Hammers have scored the most headed goals this season, the majority of them coming via Michail Antonio.
It might not delight West Ham fans but if they keep scoring headers and drag themselves away from the drop, no-one in East London will be complaining.