Viet Nam News
by Paul Kennedy
As 2019 begins football fans everywhere will be making New Year resolutions, but what are the most important things for your teams this year?
Here we take a look at some resolutions that may be getting made for the next 12 months for those fighting for the top spots in the English Premier League.
Since the dawn of time, or rather the dawn of the Premier League, Liverpool supporters have craved the country’s top prize. This year is the best chance of all. Sure, they have been top at Christmas before and not finished first, but there’s a feeling around Anfield that 2019 could finally be Liverpool’s year. Supporters will be hoping for more of the same in the second half of the season but above all, they would want to make sure key players, namely Virgil van Dijk and Mohammed Salah, stay fit. Can Liverpool finally break their Premier League hoodoo? It’s certainly looking that way for Jurgen Klopp’s boys.
Forever the bridesmaid and never the bride. Tottenham sit in second place in the Premier League and surely their supporters will be suffering nosebleeds because of their lofty position. But it is thoroughly deserved and testament to the hard work of Mauricio Pochettino. What he has done at Spurs is nothing short of remarkable, but, rather like Klopp at Liverpool, they still have no silverware to show for it. This season could be Pochettino’s last as he is the bookie’s favourite to take over at Manchester United. So the simple resolution Tottenham fans will be making for 2019 is to keep their manager. And there’s no better way to do that than pick up a trophy this season.
What do supporters of the club that has it all wish for in the coming year? A tricky Christmas saw them fall off the pace but they will be right back in the mix if they manage to beat Liverpool at home in the early hours of Friday morning. You would think Pep Guardiola has it all. A bottomless pit of cash to spend and some of the best players in the world. Despite this it seems they still lack a top class centre back and John Stones is more than capable of a mistake or two. City fans will be hoping they can shore up the defence while praying Liverpool slip up in the latter half of the season. And a good run in the Champions League is also a resolution many Blues’ fans will be making.
Just when you thought Chelsea were making strides in the Premier League they drop points at Wolverhampton and at home to Leicester. In the last 10 years they have had, 14, yes you read that right, 14 managers in charge (Granted, Ray Wilkins and Steve Holland were just keeping the seat warm). Maurizio Sarri is the latest in the hot seat and seems he’s taking the team in the right direction. But less face facts here, after Antonio Conte won the league he was given the boot. That’s hardly any reassurance to the supporters. What Chelsea fans will be hoping for this year is stability. Sarri needs time and backing to bring the good times back to Stamford Bridge once more.
Another team in defensive turmoil. Their back four was carved apart against Liverpool last week. Sure, when they play an inferior team Arsenal tend to come out on top, but put them against a top four/six opponent and they fall apart. What Arsenal fans will be hoping for in the year ahead is an out and out leader. In the past they have had the likes of Tony Adams, Patrick Vierra, Thierry Henry, who were not just great talents but mentally strong competitors. Exactly what Arsenal are lacking now. Fans will also want their owner to start backing manager Unai Emery financially.
Although it hasn’t looked like it on the pitch for most of this season, Manchester United are undoubtedly still one of, if not the, biggest football clubs in the world. And that will be enough to bring a top class manager in at the end of the season. Those sentimental supporters may well say that if he manages to steady the ship for the rest of the season, then give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a chance at the top job. The fact of the matter is United need more. And fans will be hoping that come the end of the season, a top class manager and proven winner will be in charge at Old Trafford. — VNS