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'Tis the season for resolutions. Whether they're meant to curb bad habits, start new ones, or just generally improve things, this is the time of year that we make various hopeful declarations, intending to keep them up all year despite pretty well knowing they'll be out the window by February. Soccer is far from immune from such resolutions, with managers and players making declarations and intentions for their teams' 2016 for the last week or so.
Who says they should be the only ones making public resolutions, though? ESPN FC made a rather amusing list of New Year's resolutions for fans to consider, so we came up with a few of our own that we think might help.
- Stop overreacting to three-match runs of form
- Love your national team
- Support women's soccer
- Start watching and appreciating the differences in a new league
- Make more jokes at the expense of Sepp Blatter and FIFA
- Stop getting hurt all the time
On second thought, maybe that last one just applies to Arsenal. And Daniel Sturridge, for that matter.
In the news
AC Milan manager Sinisa Mihajlovic is still on thin ice, and should he be fired, Bologna manager Roberto Donadoni wants to be at the head of the line of candidates to replace him. (Football Italia)
Louis Van Gaal still thinks that Manchester United can win the title. (Guardian)
Tony Pulis doesn't expect West Brom to do much in the winter transfer window without selling a few players first. (BBC)
Sam Allardyce tried to rile up Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, calling him a "soft German," but Klopp just laughed him off. (Guardian)
Lionel Messi has never scored a goal on Petr Cech, and the Arsenal goalkeeper wants to keep it that way. (ESPN FC)
You should be reading
There's a few interesting new faces in this list of the top 10 strikers in the EPL this season. (Guardian)
You've seen all the awards for the best goal, the best save, the biggest mistake and all the other usual categories for the last year. But what about some ... alternative categories? (BBC)
John Brewin looks at why he thinks Ryan Giggs is the perfect man to replace Louis Van Gaal. (ESPN FC)
Fun with transfer rumors
The section in which nothing should be taken seriously. It's rumor season, so this section will be expanded, and as the summer rolls on, it will probably be bigger than the actual news section.
Despite rumors to the contrary, Villarreal won't be selling Denis Suarez back to Barcelona this month. (ESPN FC)
Manchester City may want Schalke teenager Leroy Sane, but the German club says that even City can't afford him. (Guardian)
Odion Ighalo says he doesn't plan on leaving Watford any time soon. (BBC)
Roma are in the lead to snag Stephan El Shaarawy from AC Milan after Monaco said they don't want him any more. (Football Italia)
Arsenal are close to a deal for Mohamed Elneny, having finished his medical. They're a work permit and some paperwork away from finalizing his transfer. (Guardian)
What happened on Thursday
Villarreal easily beat Valencia to climb to fourth in La Liga (Villarreal USA)
What to watch this weekend (click for listings, all times ET)
All the big leagues are taking Friday off, so here's a few notable matches for this weekend:
EPL: Arsenal vs. Newcastle (Saturday, 10 a.m.): First place has been a hazardous spot to be in this season in England. Let's see if Arsenal can break the curse.
EPL: Manchester United vs. Swansea City (Saturday, 10 a.m.): Will this trip to Wales be Louis Van Gaal's swan song?
EPL: Watford vs. Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.): City have been in wildly inconsistent form of late, and Watford's recent surge represents a big threat to Manuel Pellegrini's team right now.
EPL: Everton vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday, 11 a.m.): Can Spurs prove that they belong in the top four?
La Liga: Espanyol vs. Barcelona (Saturday, 10 a.m.): El derbi Barceloní is one that's overlooked, but Barca's matches against their local rivals can often be a whole lot of fun.
La Liga: Atletico Madrid vs. Levante (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.): Level with Barcelona on points, a match against last-place Levante might be a good chance for Atleti to close their goal differential gap a bit.
La Liga: Valencia vs. Real Madrid (Sunday, 2:30 p.m.): Rafa Benitez is still fighting for his job at Madrid, so an emphatic win against the club he made his name at would be a big help.