Here’s the ultimate list of presents each Premier League team might find under its tree on Christmas morning:
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez’s replacement
The writing’s been on the wall for a while now, but it’s time for Arsenal to start planning for life after Alexis Sanchez. Although filling the void left by such an influential player is a tough task, perhaps someone can take a page out of Cousin Eddie’s book and make Arsene Wenger’s eggnog-fuelled rant on Christmas Eve come to fruition with the unexpected arrival of Thomas Lemar – wearing a massive red bow and preferably not gagged.
There’s nothing to be cheerful about this holiday season if you’re a Cherries fan. During a stretch that has Bournemouth waking up on Christmas morning in the midst of eight matches without a win, the youthful Eddie Howe will be hoping Santa Claus left him a neuralyzer to help Bournemouth and its fans forget about the last month.
Burnley: Eurail Pass
Sure, most teams would opt to take a plane when competing in Europe. But there’s just something about Burnley and gaffer Sean Dyche that suggests the club would take the old-fashioned route and travel by rail across the continent – when possible – if this dream season ends with a berth in the Europa League. Next stop, Rijeka!
Brighton/Crystal Palace: Peace talks
Hands up if anyone predicted that one of the most rowdy encounters of the season would take place when Crystal Palace supporters travelled south to Brighton? Didn’t think so. The sides revived their dormant rivalry earlier this season, as visitors to the seaside town vandalised several buildings.
Chelsea: Contracts for Hazard, Courtois
With Antonio Conte’s assessment that Chelsea‘s title hopes are all but over, perhaps the club’s adoring supporters will settle for a consolation prize – namely, securing the futures of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois ahead of a summer that will almost certainly produce plenty of speculation should the pair enter without new deals.
Everton: Empty box
The situation isn’t as bleak as it was before Sam Allardyce was named manager. Yet, it’s going to take a miracle to gloss over Everton‘s appalling business in the transfer market last season, when the Toffees dished out over £140 million for summer signings who’ve failed to live up to their fees.
Few could have asked for more from Huddersfield upon its maiden voyage in the Premier League. Now that the club is more than halfway to the magical 40-point mark – which normally ensures safety from relegation – additions in attack during the winter transfer window could help David Wagner’s men crack the top 10 of the table.
Leicester City: Riyad Mahrez’s commitment
Now that Leicester City is trending in the right direction, it seems Riyad Mahrez could make this a Christmas to remember by committing his future to the club he helped lead to Premier League glory just two seasons ago.
Liverpool: Beer tap
A shiny new beer tap would be fitting for a Liverpool club that was accused of tapping-up Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk in an illegal approach to sign him. It will also help the club drown its sorrows if the Dutch international ends up at rival Manchester City.
Manchester United: Spa Day
After Jose Mourihno’s continued grievances over Manchester United‘s busy holiday schedule, the Portuguese manager could really use a day at the spa where he’ll be moaning about a deep tissue massage rather than United’s slate of matches.
Newcastle United: Money
Forget toys and clothing, Newcastle craves what so many teenagers want on Christmas morning – money! Manager Rafa Benitez may finally get his wish if the club is sold in the near future, or if Mike Ashley listens to the Spaniard’s request for extra funds during the winter window.
Manchester City: Trophy cabinet
It’s all up for grabs for Manchester City. In what’s expected to be a historical season for the Citizens, officials may have already started the process of constructing a new trophy cabinet before their club potentially adds four more pieces of silverware.
Southampton: Smelling salts
One can only hope that smelling salts will help Southampton in the second half of the season following the club’s tedious start. Positive results against the league’s top six will presumably remain hard to come by, but manager Mauricio Pellegrino has to hope the next 19 games will include far more wins over teams below his club in the table.
Stoke City: Manager
It’s about time Stoke City cuts ties with Mark Hughes. Saturday’s win over West Brom may have led the Welsh manager to believe his club’s fortunes are changing, but it’s hard to picture a team led by Hughes will manage positive results against clubs above it in the table.
Swansea City: A miracle
With just 11 goals midway through the season, Swansea City‘s priority in the January transfer window should be clear. However, even if Swansea manages to land a half-decent forward, it’s clear the Welsh side will need a miracle to generate optimism among its fan base that another campaign in the top flight is possible.
Tottenham: A trophy
The suffering has to end at some point, right? Outside of the League Cup, Tottenham fans have been starved of a major trophy, so perhaps Spurs will finally celebrate a legitimate achievement other than partying into the night after finishing above rival Arsenal in the standings.
Watford‘s trip down the Premier League table would be a lot more fun with a toboggan. The charm of Watford’s early-season success has been wiped out by a dreadful stretch that’s seen the Wasps collect just one point from six matches.
West Brom: Lump of coal
The Premier League would probably be a better place without West Bromwich Albion, arguably one of England’s dullest teams of the season thus far. With just two wins from 19 matches, the Midlands side can expect a lump of coal from Saint Nick.
West Ham: Inflatable doll
An inflatable doll seems like a fitting gift for West Ham‘s owners – who made their fortune in the adult industry – to help their struggling Premier League side stay afloat above the drop zone.