Super Bowl 53 Predictions – New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams

Before the 2018/19 NFL season, the Patriots and the Rams were trendy selections to reach Super Bowl 53 for completely different reasons. The Los Angeles Rams were the up-and-coming bully in the NFC with a fresh new roster, while the New England Patriots were considered an established team that was reloaded with AFC power after appearing in Super Bowls for two consecutive seasons.

Why the Rams Could Win Super Bowl 53

Super Bowl 53, in some ways, features contrast in Atlanta. In others, the Patriots and the Rams are more similar than fans might believe. Bill Belichick from New England and Sean McVay from the Rams are the longest-tenured and youngest coaches within the NFL, respectively. However, both of them are widely respected. A huge chunk of the key starters for the Rams were acquired during 2018 through free agency or trades versus just a handful for the Patriots. However, the number of players for the Rams who were drafted is 28, while that number is 29 for the Patriots.

Obviously, some of those acquisitions that were made by the Rams is the primary reason why they will have the edge over the Patriots when Super Bowl 53 rolls around. Les Snead, the general manager for the Rams, had a clear mission to improve the overall defense of the team to complement the potent offense the team already had. The key players that were used to achieve that mission included Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh.

Los Angeles Rams Defense

Some might argue that the defense of the Rams underachieved during the regular season as they managed to allow 24 points on an average per match which placed them 20th in the league. However, that defense of the Rams managed to hold the Saints to 23 points and 290 total yards which included overtime, during the NFC championship match.

On the other hand, the defense of the Patriots that were ranked 7th in the league with a 20.3 point average per match during the regular season managed to slip during the postseason against the Chiefs and Chargers. The 29.5 point average that the Patriots allowed in both those matches is the most out of all teams in the playoffs.

However, Sony Michel, the running back for the Patriots, has been the league’s most productive rusher by far during the postseason. That is exactly why Suh is considered such an important player when it comes to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots will see a Rams run defense that managed to rank 23rd in the league who will most likely produce another run-heavy game plan which will be a similar approach to what they faced during their games against the Chiefs and Chargers. However, New England haven’t faced the Donald and Suh defense duo before which might be a huge problem for them.

The Rams will have the best player on their side in Donald and due to their timely roster-stuffing, they certainly have the best team on the field when they face New England.

The Importance of Penalty Kicks in the Fantasy Premier League

Mohamed Salah managed to score his 14th goal in the 2018/19 season during Liverpool’s 1-0 victory against Brighton. He is currently tied with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane for the league lead. His goal was scored through a penalty kick, while his previous two goals were also scored from this spot, against Newcastle and Arsenal.

Mohamed Salah is enjoying another tremendous season and is currently the league leader in both expected assists and expected goals, and has almost caught up with Eden Hazard when it comes to fantasy points for the league lead. However, Salah’s success recently from penalty kicks could allow him to run away in the competition when it comes to the Fantasy Premier League. The only question that remains is, will Salah continue to score on penalty kicks going forward?

Fantasy Premier League Penalty Kicks

James Milner was absent from the matches against Newcastle and Arsenal and was benched when Salah managed to score while playing against Brighton. However, Milner was appointed the penalty kicker for Liverpool at the start of the season where he scored the first one on 20 August 2018 against Crystal Palace.

Milner also managed to handle the two penalties in the Champions League that were given when he was on the pitch against PSG on two occasions. However, it looks like Milner will return to the Liverpool line-up after Trent-Alexander-Arnold suffered a knee injury which will see him on the bench for several weeks. Although he is considered one of the best midfielders for Liverpool, he can also full fullback which he has done before and Klopp doesn’t have loads of other options in this regard either.

Milner is a brilliant penalty-kicker, so there will be no surprise if he continues this role once he returns. However, Salah is currently in a tight race to claim the Golden Boot for two consecutive seasons and might want to take the penalties even if Milner returns. So, we highly recommend that you keep an eye on Liverpool’s next penalty kicker, cause if Salah continues, he is going to raise even higher in fantasy value.

Stay Up-To-Date With Penalty Kickers

Ensure that you are well-aware of who handles penalty kicks in the Premier League as there have already been more than 60 penalties this season where 48 were covered. Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and Manchester United have been awarded the most with six each. Brighton, Southampton, Leicester City, and Liverpool have each been rewarded with five penalties.

When it comes to individual players, please keep in mind that Luka Milivojevic has taken a total of 6 penalties for Crystal Palace and converted 5. He managed to lead the league with penalty kicks in the previous season as well. His penalty kicks were a big reason for landing 14th overall when it came to penalty points. Therefore, its vital that you know which player is taking the penalties as this plays a significant role in points in the Fantasy league.

Pogba and Rashford Key Beneficiaries for Manchester United

During his playing career, Solskjaer became known as a ‘super-sub’ as he had the ability to come off the bench and change a match to devastating effect. In fact, he was considered three elite football players in one. He was good enough to enjoy long stretches as both a playmaker and a starting striker from the right flank.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that Manchester United’s immense improvement since he arrived as a caretaker has been based on attack which included the three roles he once played with the best distinction. The forwards in the United squad have been the primary beneficiaries for Solskjaer, placing immense pressure on the ball as well as a desire to push the ball forward whenever possible. The supporters at Old Trafford that have wanted the team to attack has finally been answered.

Manchester United’s Recent Victories

Some will say that United’s six consecutive victories, five in the Premier League and one in the third round of the FA Cup, occurred against inferior teams, including Reading, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, and Cardiff. However, those people must realize that the manner in which United swept through these teams, where they scored 16 goals and only conceded three, is what is expected from a top-tier squad.

Thanks to Solskjaer, the Manchester United squad instantly look like a team that can finish in the top 4 by the end of the Premier League season. The current caretaker has emphasised that he is more interested than just the attack and is well aware that the defence also needs to be improved. However, it’s the forward areas where the team has the best natural ability.

Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba

The best development in the Manchester United team is undoubtedly Marcus Rashford. He is an England international that the country hasn’t seen in a very long time. He has the ability to play as a lone striker through the middle and has the footwork and acceleration of a phenomenal winger. This blend of attributes can make him the most dangerous forward in the Premier League and after scoring a much-needed goal against Tottenham this past weekend, it looks like he will become that player this season. Solskjaer trusts Rashford when it comes to delivering in dead-ball situations and staying calm in front of the box.

Another key player in the Manchester United team is certainly Paul Pogba. Since Solskjaer arrived at Old Trafford, Pogba has managed to score four times and offered three assists. You can even see that his energy levels have improved greatly since Mourinho left the squad. Pogba suddenly has the necessary movement to play at his best and he is making far better decisions on the pitch of late. Solskjaer has given Pogba more freedom on the pitch and it’s certainly working to his advantage as Pogba is playing like never before in the 2018/19 season. Although the future is still uncertain for Manchester United, it’s certainly brighter than before thanks to the forwards.

Christian Pulisic’s Transfer to Chelsea

Christian Pulisic’s transfer to Chelsea is filled with mixed emotions. Firstly, in case you’ve been missing from the hyperconnected world, here is a rundown of the facts. Chelsea will play Borussia Dortmund, the current Bundesliga leaders, a fee of around €73 million for the U.S international, which is approximately triple the previous record for a football player from the U.S.

The previous record was set by John Brooks when he was transferred from Hertha to Wolfsburg before the 2017/18 season for around $22 million. This will also be the third-highest transfer fee by Chelsea. Although the transfer is finalised, Pulisic will stay at Dortmund on loan for the current campaign while BVB pursues their title in the Bundesliga.

So will the shiny new U.S international perform for his brand-new club that is consistent with his high price tag? Will Pulisic break down as he has done several times during the season? Or will he be considered a brand-new toy for Chelsea that will only be used on rare occasions to show off? As it usually goes with high profile moves, the transfer is fraught with possible rewards and obviously with loads of risk.

Christian Pulisic at Chelsea

The conflicting emotions start with Pulisic’s club choice. Stylistically, this doesn’t seem to be a fit when it comes to Maurizio Sarri as the manager of the club as he enjoys his squads to attack quickly while extensively utilizing the wings. Obviously, Eden Hazard has managed to thrive in this system. However, given the familiarity of the position, the speed of the ball, and the technique that comes with Pulisic, it seems like the perfect place for the U.S international.

However, Chelsea is not known as a club where patience with young players or managers is a prized virtue. Once the club starts to struggle in any way under Sarri, there’s no doubt that the axe will fall on Pulisic first. Chelsea is not regarded as a place where young players are brought through the system and nurtured either. Simply ask Mohamed Salah or Kevin De Bruyne who both managed to move on to better and bigger things after receiving almost nothing while playing for the club. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are more recent examples when it comes to young players that find it difficult to break through on a constant basis.

Even if Chelsea was considered a club where young players could develop themselves, cracking the line up of the team is still going to be quite a challenge for Pulisic. Most of the focus has been around Hazard and if the world-class football star will remain at the club. However, players like Pedro and Willian offer brilliant competition as well and both are over 30 years old. Both these players have a contract until 2020 and the club might decide to opt in for some cash this summer by trading at least one of them. Should this occur, the U.S international will have a far better opening at the club going forward too.

Ole Gunnar Is Experiencing A Great Time At Manchester United

After overseeing Manchester United’s 3-1 victory against Huddersfield on 26 December 2018, Old Gunnar enjoyed his second victory as the Man Utd caretaker manager in 4 days. However, Old Gunnar did admit that there hasn’t been a lot of changes made to the team since he took over from Jose Mourinho.

The chaotic holiday schedule did not allow much in terms of training and spending quality time with the team, but most can already see a different squad since he took up the new role at Manchester United. How long this will last is very uncertain at the moment, but he has been given a decent selection of games to start his charge. Whether his charge will be to make it into the top four of the Premier League standings is too early to tell.

However, for now, its more than enough that the brand-new manager made the matches more enjoyable, giving fans a much-needed Christmas present which they are truly excited about. A demand for more ticket sales clearly proves this as well.

Solskjaer’s Changes

Old Gunnar insists that he was only able to change the mindsets of his Manchester United players since he arrived at the club. Whatever he managed to do, it certainly worked as the team managed to score 8 goals in two games thanks to 6 different scorers. However, there are plenty of old problems that still remain at the club and his players have promised a clean sheet following Huddersfield and Cardiff consolation goals. The team is also still struggling to successfully defend set pieces, but the changes made on the other side of the pitch is definitely noticeable since he arrived.

For the first half of the game on Wednesday, Old Gunnar stood next to the sideline pointing forward and the overall message was certainly clear enough. Obviously, there were times when Old Gunnar simply pointed at Huddersfield’s goal, bringing with it an all too familiar chant of ‘attack!’ from the sidelines. However, it wasn’t considered a plea as it was during the times when Mourinho was in control. By the end of the game, Old Trafford was demanding waves for Old Gunnar which Mourinho stopped receiving a very long time ago.

The biggest roar in the stadium that afternoon occurred before kickoff took place when the announcer of the stadium welcomed back Old Gunnar to the stadium where 76,000 supporters quickly answered with “Ole, Ole, Ole”. If Old Gunnar first job was to bring smiles back, he certainly succeeded.

Old Gunnar stated last week that is was extremely special but that he managed to stay calm. Gunner added,

“I believe my guys have settled me in extremely fast. You trust the squad you put out. It’s quite special hearing the crowd sing my song, but this time round they start chanting when the match begins. It made me feel extremely proud and it’s a day I will never forget.”