Rejoice – 2020 is finally over!
Yes, the year from hell is at long last in the past and hopefully there are brighter days ahead in the not-too-distant future.
Now more than ever is a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we wish to do things differently in 2021.
And there are 20 Premier League managers who are no doubt doing exactly that right now.
From meditation to Instagram and new barnets to new jumpers, here is a not-altogether-serious look at what each of the top-flight gaffers may just have jotted down on their list of New Year’s Resolutions…
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal) – Reconnect with old friends
The turn of the year is the perfect time to get back in touch with those you have drifted apart from.
And if that person just happens to be the former World Cup-winning creative midfielder that your team is simply crying out for, well that would only serve as a happy coincidence, right?
With Mesut Ozil seemingly spending the majority of his 2020 on Twitter, perhaps Mikel Arteta could slide into his DMs for a quick catch-up… and maybe even ask if he fancies a game at some point.
Oh, and probably best to check in on William Saliba too just to make sure he still exists.
Dean Smith (Aston Villa) – Hold on to current friends
Dean Smith, meanwhile, would do well to appreciate what he already has.
With nearly half the season gone Villa are flying, and last season’s relegation worries seem a lifetime ago.
Much of that is, of course, down to the talismanic Jack Grealish.
The England star is known to have a close relationship with Smith, who said he wanted to “get drunk” with Grealish after they survived on the final day of the last campaign.
Perhaps the two could enjoy a glass of left-over champagne after the big New Year’s Day game against Manchester United as Smith continues to encourage his captain to stay at the club forever.
Graham Potter (Brighton) – Try a new hairstyle
New year, new me, and for Graham Potter perhaps time for a new trim that doesn’t look like it came straight out of an NME magazine from the mid noughties.
When the barbers are open again, that is…
Sean Dyche (Burnley) – Broaden horizons
The rolling out of a vaccine offers hope that international travel may be a possibility again by the end of the year.
Not that that is likely come as much excitement to Sean Dyche.
A recent interview with the gruff-voiced Burnley boss’ former assistant revealed that he was less than impressed when visiting the Grand Canyon – declaring it nothing more than a “big hole”.
But perhaps lockdown will have whetted Dyche’s appetite to try again, and who knows where his travels could take him next.
The Great Wall of China? Machu Picchu? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon?
They may not quite match up to Burnley, but still…
Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – Give meditation a go
Recently Frank Lampard has just seemed very… well, angry.
The Chelsea boss has been involved in touchline spats with Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho, while he also launched an angry tirade at his players following their recent defeat to Arsenal.
Premier League management can be a stressful old gig, and perhaps experimenting with some form of meditation could help relieve some of the pressure from Frank’s shoulders.
“It’s certainly not how I thought I’d be spending the start of this year hahaha… No, on a serious note…”
Roy Hodgson (Crystal Palace) – Firm up retirement plans
It feels like we say it every year, but surely this will be Roy Hodgson’s last season in management.
At the grand old age of 73, the Eagles boss has gone on even longer than Sir Alex Ferguson in the top-flight, and must have nearly had enough by now.
What he does next is anyone’s guess, but the image of Roy pottering around the garden lining flowerpots up in a 4-4-2 formation is a heartwarming one.
Carlo Ancelotti (Everton) – Start a wine collection
Unlike Hodgson, Carlo Ancelotti still has a good few years of management ahead of him.
But when he does eventually retire he would surely be one of the most fascinating characters to have a chat with over a few glasses of the finest Italian red.
Imagine how much he could charge for an evening in his company along with a drop of Barolo.
Sign me up.
Scott Parker (Fulham) – Stop making us feel bad
The clean-cut, immaculately dressed Scott Parker has been putting the rest of us to shame ever since he became a manager.
His boyish good looks and cheeky smile only add to the effect, and in a year when some can barely be bothered to get dressed working from home, Parker never fails to look a million dollars as he prowls the touchline in a tight-fitting suit and tie.
So just once, Scott, to make us all feel better about ourselves – whack a tracksuit on and ditch the Brylcreem.
Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds) – Get a new hobby
Marcelo Bielsa really, really likes football.
From 66-minute PowerPoint presentations to his less-than-conventional training methods, there is no doubt that ‘El Loco’ must spent at least 99.9% of his days thinking about the beautiful game.
But maybe it’s time to consider new past-times to avoid becoming too much of a one-trick pony.
After all, there’s probably only so much talk of 3-3-1-3 formations and half-counter attacks the average dinner guest can take.
Brendan Rodgers (Leicester) – See things through
At one point last season Brendan Rodger’s Leicester looked a shoe-in for a Champions League qualification spot.
Just before football was put on ice due to coronavirus they thumped Villa 4-0 to put themselves eight points clear of Manchester United and five clear of Chelsea in third place.
Then it all went wrong.
The Foxes won just two of their nine games after lockdown and ended up cruelly missing out on a second season playing in Europe’s elite competition.
Rodger’s side are flying high again this time around, and once again sit third at the moment.
But last season should be a warning that it can all go downhill very quickly.
Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool) – Learn how to move on
I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Jurgen Klopp isn’t completely in agreement with the Premier League only allowing three substitutes per match rather than five.
He has made his feelings known on many an occasions so far this season, and may have been offered some sympathy had he not made zero substitutes v Spurs and played some of his best players in a Champions League dead rubber against FC Midtjylland.
Either way, it’s time to draw a line through the whole thing. So in 2021, please Jurgen, we’re begging you: just don’t bring it up again.
Pep Guardiola (Man City) – Splash out on a new wardrobe
He may be one of the greatest managers of all time, but some of Pep Guardiola’s clothing choices have been – well, questionable.
From the infamous Pep and his technicoloured jumper to oversized fleeces and garish hoodies, his appearance on the touchline can certainly raise eyebrows – and not always in a good way.
Maybe he should just give Parker a call.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Man Utd) – Focus on the present
OK Ole, we get it… Manchester United were quite good in the 90s.
But perhaps rather than reminding everyone about it at every available opportunity you could try focusing on the present?
Who knows, maybe the current squad could go on and create some history of their own.
Which reminds me of a certain night in Barcelona in 1999…
Steve Bruce (Newcastle) – Live life to the fullest
The new year gives us time to reflect on whether we are living life as we should do.
In a not unrelated note, Newcastle fans have probably spent the last few years wondering whether they may have better things to do than watch their side stick ten men behind the ball and try to grind out a 0-0 every week.
The Magpies aren’t always the most thrilling of teams, so this year Bruce should remove the shackles and try to be a little more adventurous.
The Toon Army may not be holding out much hope, though.
Chris Wilder (Sheffield United) – Look on the bright side
I mean, things quite literally cannot get much worse for Chris Wilder.
The Blades are on course to become the worst side in Premier League history after mustering up a measly two points from their first 16 games.
Such catastrophic form certainly requires a glass-half-full kind of attitude, and Wilder will have to summon up all the positivity left in him to get through the rest of the campaign.
Still, it’s only a game, eh?
Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton) – Be yourself
Is it me, or is Ralph Hasenhuttl becoming more and more like Klopp every day?
From the gegenpress style of play, to the cap and tracksuit look, to his side actually being rather good, the two certainly are not worlds apart.
Although thinking about it, if you’re gonna model yourself on someone, it may as well be Klopp.
You crack on Ralph.
Jose Mourinho (Tottenham) – Work on Instagram game
Jose Mourinho discovered Instagram this year, and the end results are everything you could hope for and more.
From gently mocking his players’ excessive mobile phone use to giving them a real b******ing after a Europa League loss, his posts have been just as entertaining as his press conferences.
If things don’t work out at Spurs, Mourinho could comfortably continue to make a living as an influencer, and his 1.6m followers will no doubt expect more cracking content throughout 2021.
Sam Allardyce (West Brom) – Learn from others
In order to better ourselves this year, we should all aim to not get stuck in our ways and try to take inspiration from what others are doing.
Which brings us on to West Brom 0-5 Leeds.
Sure, Sam Allardyce has a sensational record of keeping teams up while playing a particular brand of football.
But who knows… maybe, just maybe, an old dog can still be taught new tricks.
David Moyes (West Ham) – Keep up the Spanish
With Moyesie generally doing a pretty decent job in his second spell at West Ham, who knows when another Spanish club could come knocking.
His time at Real Sociedad was all too short-lived, but it did provide us with the unforgettable moment when Moyes gave it his all to pronounce Illaramendi with an authentic Iberian lilt.
There was clearly talent there, and hopefully he will continue to hit the Spanish books when time allows him to do so.
Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolves) – Explore other cultures
There are no fewer than nine Portuguese players in the Wolves first-team squad.
And sure, most of them are pretty damn good, but just think what hidden gems Nuno Espirito Santo could unearth if he tried sending his scouts to other countries as well.
Just an idea.