The festive season is upon us, which means a packed schedule of Premier League fixtures. But what’s top of every team’s Christmas wish list?
Christmas is a time for giving. But for the spoiled kids of the Premier League, it’s also about getting things. For some teams, that means getting stuck into the transfer market, lining up potential targets ahead of the January transfer window. For others, it means shiny new stadiums, benevolent new owners or even just sugary drinks.
So what does your club want to find under the Christmas tree?
Unai Emery has worked wonders with Arsenal, introducing steel to central midfield and pragmatism to defence.
Less steely and pragmatic, however, are the Gunners’ goalkeeping options. Petr Čech’s stock continues to fall, while Bernd Leno ended the team’s unbeaten run with his swan dive against Southampton.
Arsenal will be hoping for a new year without any keeper clangers.
With a capacity of 11,360, Dean Court is by some distance the Premier League’s smallest ground. If Bournemouth want to build on their progress over the last few seasons, they will have to step up their search for a new home.
As for stocking fillers, a few more Ryan Frasers wouldn’t go amiss.
Brighton fans may be wishing for a new £15million+ signing to add to their hall of transfer shame, which includes José Izquierdo, Jürgen Locadia, Yves Bissouma and Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
That would be a foolish wish.
Instead, the club’s best bet would be to give Glenn Murray lots of massages and stop buying players from the Netherlands.
Burnley were brilliant last year, but their struggles this season have been predictable.
Their squad, packed as it is with target men and functional defensive players, needs an injection of creativity and flair. In fact, this Britain-heavy team might be one of the least skilful sides ever seen in the Premier League.
Just buy some wingers from abroad, you weirdos.
Neil Warnock — with whom you should share a festive pint this Christmas — has been vocal in his desire for a striker.
The papers have linked Cardiff with Tammy Abraham, and the Englishman’s form with Aston Villa suggests he’s ready for another crack at the Premier League.
But like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Jingle All the Way, Cardiff will have to fight for their in-demand toy, since Newcastle are also said to be interested.
The January transfer window is approaching. Chelsea are struggling to squeeze goals out of
Didier Drogba Alvaro Morata and Nicolas Anelka Olivier Giroud. Instead, they’re relying on winger Florent Malouda Eden Hazard to get them out of trouble.
Should they spent £50million+ on a new striker? They definitely should.
At the time of writing, Palace’s joint top scorers are Luka Milivojevic and Andros Townsend.
They’ve been linked with Everton cult hero Oumar Niasse for the last two transfer windows, and this could finally be the right time.
For our benefit as much as Palace’s, Roy Hodgson should make sure it happens.
Richarlison was Everton’s shiny new toy over the summer, but Barcelona loanee André Gomes has been ridiculously good.
The Toffees’ biggest wish this Christmas? A permanent contract for their handsome midfielder.
The Bob Cratchit of the Premier League, Fulham are in dire need this festive season.
First and foremost, they will be hoping for some Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning fairy dust. Failing that, however, they could just pinch a few of the Italian’s old players.
Maybe not Islam Slimani though.
It’s the hope that kills you.
Huddersfield are getting their just desserts for dropping Collin Quaner, and should hope for nothing more than a dignified fall into the second tier.
Never forget Fantasy Football players when picking your teams, Premier League managers.
The Foxes’ laughable penalty shootout versus Man City should be food for thought.
Christian Fuchs, James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu all embarrassed themselves in various ways, so Claude Puel should think about spot-kick lessons for his team.
Maybe Jamie Vardy could supervise.
But despite their luxuriously fattened turkey of a squad, many still doubt they can keep up their high-intensity football for another five months.
Their best hope? Energy drinks, probably.
Because, despite being second, Manchester City don’t need anything this Christmas.
He really is the only sensible choice.
Manchester United’s pre-Christmas treat is freedom from Jose Mourinho, but they’ll be hoping for some off-the-record assurances from their Argentine target, preferably written in an M&S card with a snowman on it.
And maybe a defender, if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promises to be good.
If Rafa Benitez is the saviour, then Mike Ashley is a pound-shop King Herod.
Newcastle will be praying that the sportswear mogul sells up. If not, another relegation battle could be on the cards.
Southampton had a pretty rubbish Christmas last year.
Virgil van Dijk moved on, and the consolation was a £19million striker named Guido Carrillo who a) you’ve never heard of, and b) was loaned out six months later.
As long as Maya Yoshida is getting game time, Southampton need a new defender.
Southampton could do with bolstering their squad but it's quiet as the window comes to a close. Financial impact of signing flop Guido Carrillo partly to blame. In terms of outgoings, doesn't sound like Matt Targett or James Ward-Prowse are going anywhere
— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) August 8, 2018
After borrowing their mate’s Gameboy for what seems like an eternity, Spurs will be hoping their parents finally cut the bullshit and give them what they want.
It’s getting embarrassing now.
Watford made a profit on transfers this summer, selling Richarlison for big money and even generating cash from the unwanted Nordin Amrabat.
Their squad is still decent, but they’ll want to shop the January sales for attacking improvements.
After delivering some weirdly respectable results lately, West Ham are going back to their comfort zone by signing a past-it troublemaker on massive wages.
Former Real Madrid bad boy Pepe is available on a free transfer after leaving Besiktas. With Wolves’ Jorge Mendes connection, the Portuguese would be a fine and hilarious addition.