Premiership Teams' New Year's Resolutions
I figured that before the Christmas and New Year’s hype ends and becomes irrelevant, I’d try to milk it for all it’s worth and relate it back to the Premiership.Twenty teams compete in the most entertaining domestic league in the world; every single one of them has room to improve, some much more so than others…Derby, ahem, ahem…Here’s what each club should look to do in the new year:Arsenal: Choose one competition to focus on, either you go for the Champions League or the Premiership, but not both. A roster this inexperienced and young really can’t balance both and be successful.Aston Villa: Build around that great young English talent in the midfield and up front by strengthening the back four. Laursen and Mellberg aren’t getting any younger..Birmingham City: Keep up a good relationship with Arsenal. Fabrice Muamba, Johan Djourou, and Nicklas Bendtner (last season) have all come to Birmingham on loan recently and all parties involved have been better for it.Blackburn Rovers: Get rid of the dead wood (Benni McCarthy, Robbie Savage, Jason Roberts, etc.), make whatever profit you can for those players, and invest in some capable defenders. Also, it’ll be essential to play better at Ewood Park.Bolton: Keep Nicholas Anelka, plain and simple. You’ll be worse off financially in the short term, but you could be relegated without him because no one else scores goals. Sell him in the summer and buy a couple younger strikers to replace him. Win away from the Reebok (0-2-8 this season).Chelsea: Buy Nicholas Anelka, plain and simple. Whatever the cost, buy him. You need a striker who can score goals in the Premier League; 1-0 and 2-1 every game isn’t going to get it done. Look what he does at Bolton with inferior talent around him; imagine what he can do with quality players in West London.Derby County: Avoid becoming the worst team in Premiership history by somehow picking up at least eight more points before the season ends.Everton: Make the Steven Pienaar deal permanent. If you can get a king’s ransom for Mikel Arteta and Joleon Lescott like what we’ve heard on the rumor mill, sell them both in a heartbeat. They’re good players, but not irreplaceable.Fulham: Find a way to stop conceding late goals, whether they be equalizers or game-winners. You’ve got to play with a bit more creativity also, pumping the ball up the field isn’t really getting it done.Liverpool: Get rid of Rafa Benitez in the summer and offer the job to The Special One with no expenses spared. If Tom Hicks can give A-Rod a 10-year, $250 million contract, I think he can find a way to bring Mourinho to Liverpool.Manchester City: Must improve away from Eastlands if you hope to become a top-four club. How do you do that? Bring in a capable striker or two who can step up under pressure and score big goals. Oh, and send Rolando Bianchi packing.Manchester United: First and foremost, find a right back. Sevilla’s Daniel Alves, perhaps? After that, make Old Trafford a more imposing place for away teams to come and play. Fergie said there’s no atmosphere at the largest stadium in the Premier League and he’s exactly right.Middlesbrough: Lower ticket prices, advertise more in the local media, whatever it is, put more butts in seats at the Riverside. You’re the best team amongst your rivals in the North East, use that to your advantage and keep bringing in talented young players through your academy.Newcastle: Either fire Big Sam now or commit to him through next season at least. It’s too much of a distraction with his job security seemingly hanging in the balance after every game; make a decision and stick with it. Buy Joey Barton a private jail cell or something, he may need it.Portsmouth: Last year you couldn’t win on the road, this year you can’t win at home. More consistency is the only way you’ll become a top-six side every year.Reading: Find another keeper to replace Marcus Hahnemann, and find someone else who can score goals on a regular basis to play with Kevin Doyle and Leroy Lita, when he returns. Have to improve away from home as well.Sunderland: Use that Manchester United connection that Roy Keane has and bring in Wes Brown and Darren Fletcher to shore up the leaky defense and midfield. Two draws and nine losses away from the Stadium of Light doesn’t cut it either.Tottenham: Sell Dimitar Berbatov and use that money to invest in experienced, quality defenders. Alan Hutton would’ve been a good start before he rejected you, and Younes Kaboul and Michael Dawson aren’t good enough to play for a team with your ambition. English lessons for Juande Ramos wouldn’t be a bad idea either; he has a good system but if he can’t really communicate it to his players, it does no good.West Ham: Somehow, some way, you have to prevent your players from getting injured. Maybe it’s lighter training sessions or better physical therapists and massuers, I don’t know, but injuries are killing you. Keep buying the rejects from other teams; their trash is your treasure (Craig Bellamy, Lucas Neill, Lee Bowyer, Carlton Cole, etc.)Wigan: Make sure that great performance at Anfield this week doesn’t become an anomaly; try and duplicate that and make it the norm rather than the surprise. Steve Bruce is a solid manager I think and he knows what it’s like to work with little to nothing, but if you can raise more money through ticket sales or merchandise, he’ll have more opportunity to bring players in.