New Year's Resolutions For The Top European Clubs
The winter-break period separating the first half and the second half of the season in Europe’s top five leagues is a great time for clubs to reflect on a club's season (although winter break doesn’t exist in England). Even before Christmas, but Europe’s top clubs are preparing for their second half of the season push. Here are some New Year's resolutions for Europe’s top clubs in the big five leagues.
Soccer New Year's Resolutions
England — Liverpool
Liverpool has so far remained unbeaten in the Premier League, winning 14 matches, drawing three and losing none. The Reds' defensive record is the best in the league with only seven goals conceded. Jurgen Klopp’s side has been nothing short of impressive and doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Their main competition for the title this season is defending champion Manchester City, which trails Liverpool by one point.
New Year's Resolution: Continue dominating games and increase goal differential.
If Liverpool wants to win the Premier League title this season, it absolutely cannot afford to drop any points. If it does, Manchester City will be there to capitalize on it, no question. If it does drop points, and end up level with Manchester City again, a better goal differential could keep it at the top. Manchester City’s goal difference is 38, eight goals better than Liverpool right now. The Reds are already tenacious but they need to take more chances that they create for themselves. Jurgen Klopp will surely be working on that with his squad as soon as possible.
France — PSG
Only one team has been able to beat Les Parisiens this year: Liverpool. Otherwise, PSG’s league form has been fantastic — 14 wins, two draws and no losses. They’re currently 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and two games behind second-place Lille. They already look like run-away champions of France yet again.
New Year's Resolutions: Sign a midfielder that can replace Adrien Rabiot, compete for the Champions League.
PSG is firmly in the driver's seat in Ligue 1, but one of its best midfielders, Adrien Rabiot, has refused to sign a new contract and wants to move away. Several top clubs have been alerted to the news of wantaway Rabiot’s imminent departure from Paris, and are likely to be in contact with him. Rabiot could be a big loss for PSG, as he’s been a regular in PSG’s starting 11 for years and has been known for his impressive performances in a blue and red shirt. PSG has spent big money since its financial takeover in 2011. They need to achieve more on the European stage. With the money and squad that they have, at least a semifinal berth in the Champions League is doable.
Germany — Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund has had a rough past few years but now looks like a real Bundesliga title contender this season, winning 12 matches, drawing three and losing one. Lucien Favre’s side put in some great performances, most notably beating Bayern Munich at home 3-2 and Schalke 2-1 away. Its first loss of the season came against a spirited Fortuna Dusseldorf looking to keep its Bundesliga hopes alive. The recent slip up in Dusseldorf could have some lasting effects on the season and Lucien Favre will be looking to motivate his squad through to the end of the season.
New Year's Resolutions: Keep Jadon Sancho for as long a possible and help Christian Pulisic back into form.
Jadon Sancho came out of nowhere this season. After making the surprising move from Manchester City to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, the 18-year-old has been lighting up the Bundesliga this season, making 16 appearances, scoring five goals and setting up nine. His market value has skyrocketed to near $80 million. Dortmund will want to hold onto Sancho as long as it can because his form has contributed so much to the German giants and some powerful suitors are more than likely to come calling in the near future.
A player who has suffered from Sancho’s rise is Christian Pulisic. Suffering from injuries for much of the season, the American talisman has struggled to keep his place in the starting 11, frequently being benched for Jacob Bruun Larsen or Sancho. There’s no question that Pulisic is a special player and Premier League clubs are starting circle on the 20-year-old and are willing to pay big money. Either Dortmund helps Pulisic get back to form or it sells him.
Italy — Juventus
Juventus has continued its great form from previous seasons into this one and is hunting for yet another Serie A title. In Europe, Juventus hopes to forge a return to the Champions League final, one that it hopes will be a win with its high-profile signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. Massimiliano Allegri’s side has won 15 matches, drawn one and lost zero — currently the best record of Europe’s top five teams. They’ve remained relatively unchallenged domestically, but will likely face a tough test to get to the Champions League final.
New Year's Resolutions: Keep Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala on the scoresheet, win the Champions League.
Juventus struck gold when it bought Ronaldo from Real Madrid. Ronaldo is a goal-machine, averaging 34 goals per season, not counting international goals. Juventus has a very good chance of winning the Champions League if Ronaldo stays fit and in form.
Paulo Dybala is another player Juventus needs to keep performing. The 25-year-old has spent the last three years in Turin quickly becoming a fan favorite. Dybala is in the prime of his career and has scored and contributed to nine Juventus goals this season. His partnership with Ronaldo is steadily growing, and by the end of the season they could become a deadly striking pair. While Juventus is likely to win another Serie A title, a return to Champions League glory should be very high on its list.
Spain — Barcelona
Barcelona is just three points clear at the top of LaLiga table, with Sevilla and Atletico Madrid tied on points trailing behind. Barcelona interestingly has the worst record of the top five teams in Europe: winning 10, drawing four and losing two. Ernesto Valverde and Lionel Messi will be looking to tighten their grip on LaLiga as well as progressing past the quarterfinals of the Champions League after their shock defeat to Roma in last year’s competition. Barcelona is a fantastic team but has lost its fear factor in recent years, and the Catalan club needs a bit of a boost.
New Year's Resolutions: Help Ousmane Dembele remain consistent, let Messi do his thing and take care of business domestically and in Europe.
Ousmane Dembele has been a frequent talking point surrounding the club in the past few weeks. The French starlet has been troubled by some off the field issues, most notably his lifestyle decisions affecting the time he shows up to training and his form. The club has stated that it's handled the issues internally and will help Dembele in improving his life as a professional. This is very important for Barcelona, as it spent over $130 million on the Frenchman and with good reason. His pace is incredible and his technical ability very impressive. If Dembele can remain a consistent starter in Barcelona’s starting lineup, he can definitely make a massive impact alongside Messi in a front three.
Speaking of Messi, Barcelona should keep letting Messi pull the strings on the pitch, which they will no doubt do. He’s one of the few reasons Barcelona has remained so relevant since Pep Guardiola’s departure. Barcelona should be at least in the Champions League semifinals. The squad’s quality and experience in European competitions is unparallelled. They need to get back into their European groove to bring their fear factor back into the fold.