“HE made it in?!”
And now, for again, something completely different. I’m a huge football fan and the run up to FIFA’s latest yearly serving is always a fun time. And I’m a statistical nerd, so I love things like ratings coming out, and analyzing them. As EA reveals their Top 50 for FIFA 15, I thought I’d break down their choices, and see what I thought of them all, in this 5-part mini-series on the blog. First up, here’s 50-41, and there’s already some shockers…
50 – Angel Di Maria, Attacking Midfielder, Paris Saint-Germain (85, -1 on FIFA 15)
So, Angel Di Maria gets punished due to his relatively poor season with Manchester United, and drops a point to 85. Have no real issues with this one. Sure, he had double digit assists, but his overall play was just not effective enough on a United team where he got outshone by Ashley Young. I think a -1 drop was fair. If his debut for PSG last night was anything to go by, he’s still a class player and could be the playmaker that Paris has been looking for since Pastore never really worked out.
Ultimate Team value: It’s Di Maria. It’ll be fairly high. He’s the French league’s premier CAM, so by default, it’ll be the go to purchase for more players with more money than sense. It won’t be the same as last year though. Ligue 1 is played a lot less than the Premier League obviously, so as a result, EA will probably price range him less than what he was at last year. And given that in FIFA 15, he’s between 7,000 and 21,000, I’d say something like 5,000-15,000 makes sense here. A small shame he’s basically this year’s new Cavani. More on that later.
49 – Petr Cech, Goalkeeper, Arsenal (85)
Again, no issues with this one either. Petr Cech is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world, regardless of how badly West Ham batter him. He was pushed out of Chelsea with the emergence of franchise keeper Thibaut Courtois last season, but still played well when called upon, so him sticking at 85 is fine with me.
Ultimate Team value: I think he’ll be the base standard 150-5,000. Cech was a player I saw come up semi-often in packs in FIFA 15, and with the Premier League stacked for top tier keepers, even without David De Gea, I don’t see EA putting Cech over the 5k mark. As for Chemistry, he’s a BPL keeper, you’re fine, and Laurent Koscielny gets played a lot for his speed anyway.
48 – Edinson Cavani, Striker, Paris Saint-Germain (85, -1)
People sleep on Edinson. A lot. He actually out-scored Zlatan this season in France, scoring 31 goals in 53 games, to Zlatan’s 30. Sure, he played 18 more games, but that doesn’t count! Cavani is still a very important player in the Paris side, and this is often despite playing on a wing due to Paris’s 4-3-3 system and the fact that it’s impossible to play 2 strikers upfront, due to the gravitational pull on Zlatan’s ego. To be honest, I’m surprised the rating decrease happened THIS year and not LAST year, as he’s been better in this season. As said, 31 in 53 is a pretty good haul on any level, so while I understand he’s gone down a point, I don’t think keeping him at 86 for one more year would have hurt.
Ultimate Team value: Like last year, he’ll be the go-to Ligue 1 value striker for those who can’t afford Zlatan. I’d expect a LOT of teams with him and Alexandre Lacazette upfront. His range on FIFA 15 was 750-8,000, so I’d expect something similar for this year. Given his rating’s gone down, he may even get the basic 150-5,000. Cavani’s never been an expensive player in FIFA, so y’know, more of the same here I’d wager.
47 – Vincent Kompany, Centre Back, Manchester City (85, -1)
Ah, big Vince has fallen. Slightly. Looks kinda silly given how great he’s been this season so far, but going off of 14-15, yeah, the 1 point drop I think was fair. He made many a mistake, especially in big games, and didn’t look like the majestic leader of the Man City defence that we all thought he was. So again, no major complaints here.
Ultimate Team value: This is going to be an interesting one. In FIFA 15, his price range was between 750 and 10,000 coins. Assuming EA do something similar, I’m not sure he’ll go for that 10k top price, as his pace is now in the 60’s. That was the big reason that Vince was the best BPL CB for years in the first place, his size and his great speed. If Laurent Koscielny gets a buff towards 84 or so, it’ll be interesting to see if that has a knock on effect on Vince’s value, as Laurent has been the faster CB for sometime, and UT is a game where speed kills.
46 – David Alaba, Left Back, Bayern Munich, (85, +3)
WOW. THIS IS INSANE. It’s one thing that any player in the 80-range or so gets a 3 point increase in one season, but for that to happen to a LEFT BACK, is unprecedented. I think you have to go back to FIFA 14 to find a Full Back with an 85 rating (He married Cheryl), so this is exciting stuff. And yes, I think it’s totally justified. David Alaba is the best fullback in the world right now, and technically is just a supremely gifted football, who can play just about anywhere on the pitch with ease, and is excellent dead-ball wise too. Overall, he’s brilliant, and I think deserves the 85. It’s a nice change from seeing every FB scored 81 or 82 who wasn’t named Philipp Lahm or an overrated Ashley Cole.
Ultimate Team value: High. Very high. His upgraded 82 card in FIFA 15 had a range of 7-17,000. It’s only going to be going higher now he’s been given this enormous buff. Not to mention, he plays for Bayern, and every Bundesliga team has at least 6 of them in it in some variety. I don’t think anyone’s making Austrian national teams after all. If I had to guess, I think 20,000 as a minimum. Hopefully it’ll force some people to think outside the box and buy Ricardo Rodriguez instead.
45 – Diego Godin, Centre Back, Atletico Madrid (85, +1)
Slightly overdue, but yes, a well-deserved further buff for Diego Godin, a centre back, who should be in the conversation with Hummels, Boateng and Silva as one of the best in the world at his position. Sure, he’s not as flashy as some of the aforementioned, but he is an exceptional player and a real late bloomer in terms of development. A travesty he wasn’t in last year’s FIFA World XI and I hope he gets his due reward for a 2nd straight great season in Spain.
Ultimate Team value: Had the bare minimum 150-5,000 range in FIFA 15, and he might get that extended to 7.5k, but I don’t think he’ll go any further. The fact he doesn’t play for Barca or Real limits his chemistry options, and the fact he’s Uruguayan and not Spanish, narrows that further. A shame, because his 70 pace should make him even more appealing come September.
44 – John Terry, Centre Back, Chelsea (85, +2)
Another insane, and unprecedented move. Since when does a player get a 2-point buff at age 34? And I’m not arguing this, again, it’s well deserved. John Terry is still probably the most reliable centre back in the Premier League, and he played every minute of Chelsea’s league winning campaign last season. He’s been class, and would walk back into the England team right now, without question. Well done old man. You’re still a bastard, but your ability is undeniable. Especially given all the other top draw CB’s of similar age at the time, have all dropped off since.
Ultimate Team value: Next to nothing. His range on 15 was 750-6,000, and I don’t see him going for much more than discard price, due to that horrendous 34 pace rating. Don’t get me wrong, it’s justified, but no-one’s going to buy him when Ultimate Team is such a pace-centric game.
43 – Naldo, Centre Back, Wolfsburg (85, +4)
Remember when I said that Alaba going up to 85 was insane? Nope, THIS was insane. I doubt they’ll be a bigger shock name on the list than this one. And as I said, for a player already rated 81 to get a FOUR point increase from one year to the next, is ridiculous. Until you remember… Naldo made the Bundesliga TOTS in FIFA 15. So I thought a boost was incoming, but not this big, dropping him straight into that big pool of 85+ rated centre backs. Well earned for a breakout season, even if I think a 85 might be just a little too high. Especially given Godin was rated 84 in FIFA 15.
Ultimate Team value: Not sure where you go on this one. On paper, he should be right up there with the big three in Benatia, Hummels and Boateng, but as said with Alaba, he’s not a Bayern or Dortmund player, and there’s no obvious Brazilian’s to link with besides Dante and Luis Gustavo who, given he’s just gone to Wolfsburg too, would be a green link anyway. But, he has the pace that Hummels lacks, and a surprising long shot and free kick ability that often goes overlooked. Surely, with an 85+ rating, he’s got to have 10k+ range, no?
42 – Yaya Toure, Centre Midfielder, Manchester City (85, -1)
This was kind of inevitable, really. Yaya in the 13-14 season was playing at a RIDICULOUS level, scoring 20+ from midfield. He really should have had a 87-88 card in FIFA 14, but then again, you’d have a harsh drop for this game, so I think EA kind of dig themselves into a corner on this one. But, as I said, 85 seems pretty reasonable, that still makes him the 2nd best CM in the BPL, which is valid, so no complaints from me.
Ultimate Team value: Sky high. Yaya had a pretty high price range on last year’s FIFA, with a 25,000-40,000 range. And I’d expect it to be the same here, as there isn’t a CM in his class except for Fabregas, and his cardweight was much higher in last year’s game (And it showed, he had a range of 750-6,000). He’s still the go to midfielder in the BPL, and his price probably will reflect that. He’s a beast, what more do you need?
41 – Santi Cazorla, Attacking Midfielder, Arsenal (85, +1)
Ah, Santi. A very underrated 2015 season, and I think he was an excellent staple of the Arsenal team, so I’m glad EA noticed and bumped Cazorla back up to the 85 he deserves. Not much else to say other than that really!
Ultimate Team value: Should be slightly better than last year’s 150-6,000, especially given he’s now central, as opposed to being shackled at LM. Think he’ll be one of the better value CAM’s in the game again, 4-star skills, very good dribbling, and excellent for set-pieces too.
Some surprise names definitely in there on this first chunk of the Top 50, but I suspect the more familiar big names will be coming up very soon. More tomorrow, most likely…