As another new year begins, chances are you’ve already resolved not to make so many impossible to keep resolutions come the 31st of December 2017. Whilst the exercise bike may already be gathering dust, the packet of fags retrieved from the bin and the determination to be kind to be people dissolved in fury at the delivery driver who left a sorry we missed you note without ever having knocked on the door, we can take some comfort in the fact that it’s not just us mere mortals who have imperfections we’d like to rid ourselves of.
Here are the first half of our new year’s resolutions for Premier League clubs stick to in 2017:
Clear a path for the loan army
The Premier League leaders have an incredible 39 players out on loan, according to the official Chelsea website. The path from academy to first team has been impossible to navigate for most who’ve tried over the last decade. Whilst it’s difficult to see the likes of Matt Miazga and Patrick Bamford ever finding their way on to an Antonio Conte team sheet, there are signs that others might. The status of perennial loanees Victor Moses and Nathaniel Chalobah as first team regulars this season ought to give encouragement to others currently trying to impress from afar. Lewis Baker, Nathan Ake and Andreas Christensen will all believe they have a chance of making it at their parent club in 2017.
Become flat track bullies
Most of what Liverpool have done under Jurgen Klopp has been hugely impressive. There is one area though that is ripe for improvement this year. Liverpool must take a leaf out of Arsenal’s book and win games against sides below them in the table as a matter of routine. The only defeats in the league for Liverpool this season have come against Burnley and Bournemouth, whilst 2016 also saw defeats to Stoke and Swansea – games that Liverpool should have won, never mind lost. It would be a shame to see a title challenge ended not by defeat to rivals, but by teams with far fewer resources and expectation.
Sort out the recruitment
Seriously, is there a club that wasted more money in 2016 than the one with the deepest pockets? No wonder Director of Football Txiki Begiristain has come in for some criticism of late. The man largely responsible for conducting City’s transfer business is therefore the man responsible for spending the thick end of fifty million quid on John Stones. The likes of Claudio Bravo and Leroy Sane have hardly looked value for money yet either. Whether the responsibility is individual or collective, a solution must be find. In many ways City are the best run club in the Premier League just now. Their rotten recruitment threatens to undermine that status.
Reform the medical department
Now that Arsene Wenger has gotten over his aversion to spending money, the last great obstacle, of their own making, in Arsenal’s way is their horrific injury record. Santi Cazorla, Danny Welbeck and Per Mertesacker are all currently side lined and have been for many months, meanwhile Jack Wilshere, who last completed 90 minutes for Arsenal in September 2014, has done in each of Bournemouth’s last four games.
Bring in some experience
There’s a theory that Mauricio Pochettino isn’t keen on veteran players as they are more likely to challenge his authority. The Spurs boss would be well served to revise that policy. A cool, experienced head would have been a big help when Spurs were losing the plot at Stamford Bridge in May.
Cheer up Jose
The bloke has the job he’s always wanted, more money than he could ever spend and is a handsome devil to boot. So why the permanent scowl? Turn that frown upside down Jose, you might find people give you a bit more slack if you’re not constantly moaning.
Clear the decks
A big overhaul of Everton’s ageing squad is needed if they are to make any inroads into the top six this year. There’s supposedly money to spend so we, and Ronald Koeman no doubt, would like to see that invested into fresh blood to replace the loyal but past their best crew of Jagielka, Baines and Barry. A new goalkeeper wouldn’t hurt either.
West Bromwich Albion
Carry on entertaining
Prior to Monday’s game with Hull, West Brom had scored three or more goals in four of their 9 home league games this season. Given their manager’s reputation for the dour, that’s a surprise. They might need to continue that ratio of free scoring if they want to keep the Hawthorns full and its occupants happy. Empty seats and grumbling locals were too regular a feature at Baggies home games in 2016.
Buy some goals
Southampton haven’t adequately replaced Graziano Pelle and Sadio Mane. The pair contributed 22 of the Saints 59 Premier League goals last season. This term the only player to score more than three so far is Charlie Austin with six – and he’s injured for the foreseeable future. Help is needed.
Keep on keeping on
It’s worth remembering that Bournemouth were in League Two as recently as 2010. Therefore it’s pretty hard to criticise anything they are doing just now. A bigger stadium would be handy but by and large The Cherries are on the right path.