With 2017 now behind us, it’s time to look ahead to the new year. Soccer lovers around the world will be wishing their teams win silverware for both club and country and hoping to witness their heroes reach new heights. Last year featured some incredible soccer from around the globe, but we still have many problems which need solving. Here’s my list of the top five top soccer wishes for 2018.
1. Let’s begin with the biggest soccer event of the year which will take place in Russia this summer. The 2018 World Cup has the ability to shine a bright light on this European giant, after reports of widespread corruption within the country. Hopes of a peaceful event without any sparks of hooliganism and violence is all soccer fans around the world can ask for as we countdown to the opening match. As the entire world prepares to be glued to Russia this summer, we want to remember the World Cup for its soccer rather than any problems off the pitch.
2. The United States faced the worst embarrassment in American soccer history after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. It was a major blow to the growing sport as everyone surrounding the game felt shame and disappointment. It was the first time since 1986 that the Men’s National Team had not qualified for the World Cup, leaving both the players and United States Soccer Federation humiliated. It’s time for a huge overhaul from top to bottom, with sights on rebuilding the sport ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It all begins with a new president who can bring hope and a positive light to the country. Sunil Gulati has already announced he will not seek a fourth term as USSF president, an important step in establishing a new reign within American soccer.
3. European clubs continue to find ways around UEFA’s financial fair play with larger clubs like Paris Saint-Germain abusing the system. One can only hope UEFA takes action to combat the abusive spending this year and stops clubs from finding loopholes. PSG managed to spend $400 million last summer when they acquired Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, who became the highest paid player in the world. UEFA must strike PSG and any other club who breach FFP regulations with an iron fist.
4. It’s been too long since Manchester United were the most dominant team in England or Europe. Since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, the club has not lasted more than two seasons with the same manager. It’s time for the United board to return to the glory days and figure out where things went wrong since Fergie left. Stability comes from the top and will need continuity if they expect to have any chance of winning the Premier League or Champions League titles again.
5. While United need to hold onto a manager for a longer period of time, their rivals Arsenal need to break away from Arsene Wenger. Will 2018 finally be the year the Frenchman packs up his bags and leaves London? Gunners’ supporters have witnessed both the rise and fall of one of the best Premier League managers. It’s been over a decade since the London giants have lifted the title and while Wenger consistently finished in the top four throughout his time with Arsenal, last season was the first time ever he failed to secure a top-four spot at the club. A dinosaur of the game who has not caught up to other evolving managers, it is time for Wenger to finally leave the London. Arsenal fans will be wishing for a change in 2018 and look to the future with a new manager.