Today marks a very important day of the footballing calendar for many football fans, the release date of yet another instalment of FIFA. In this year’s installation of the game, Villa fans should pay special attention due to our move back into the big time. Our players are now more viable within the game’s biggest mode: Ultimate Team.
Also, with the move to the best league in football, many of our players received enhanced ratings. Not to mention actual scans (which will be fully implemented after the first patch in November) of their faces so those who play the game can actually tell the difference between John McGinn and Jack Grealish. Having got my hands on the game about a week early, I think there are several interesting players to take an in depth look at from the Villa perspective.
One of the more interesting players to look at in respect to upgrades is Tyrone Mings. Last year Mings was listed as a 70 rated left-back with 69 Pace, 73 Defense, and 81 Strength. In FIFA 20, Mings was afforded a 4-point overall upgrade and a move to his current preferred position of centre-half. While Mings did not receive any notable upgrades to his in-game stats, the English International is sure to be a solid addition to most day 1 starter squads due to his pace, 3 star weak foot, and his towering 6’5’’ height. Also, Mings’ face scan is fairly fantastic, I love the fact that when I see the hulking defender move across the screen, I can see his hair bouncing as it does in real life.
Another upgrade of importance to the Villan Video Game Player would be that of John McGinn. Having ended his last season with a Team of the Season and an 87 Rating attached to it and having a card worthy of the Gullit Gang status (With all face-stats over 80). This season McGinn has a base overall of 75, worthy of an upgrade to Gold status. Last year’s player of the season is enjoying an upgrade of 3 overall and if McGinn receives an In-Form card he’ll be boosted to an 81 rating. McGinn also now has solid links with Premier League players like Scott McTominay, Kieran Tierney, Ryan Fraser, Andrew Robertson, and the fan favourite Robert Snodgrass. McGinn is an incredibly easy player to fit into squads, is still a complete bulldog in virtual life, and will be cheap due to being a non-rare card, what more could a starting player ask for?
Someone who won’t be cheap, in real life or in the virtual marketplace, is the Villa record-signing Wesley. The new arrival is actually Villa’s highest rated player in the game and looks to be damaging! He’s is 6’3’’ and has top tier strength (he’s the second strongest player in the game) with a 95 rating in the category. The striker also fills a particular niche in Ultimate Team mode as being one of the few Brazilian Players available in the Premier League so if you want to fit in players like Thiago Silva, Coutinho, or Marcelo while having the class of a big club like Aston Villa - it is possible. However, in-game stats like 45 balance, 74 finishing, and 53 agility could scare some players off as it points to the player being a true target man, something which the prototypical FIFA player does not use.
Villa’s best player, hometown hero, and academy product Super Jack Grealish is a player who should feel a bit hard done by his rating in my opinion. After captaining his boyhood club through a 10 game win streak and winning promotion to the Premier League along with 12 goal contributions he only was awarded an upgrade of 1 overall. However, this may just be a problem with FIFA’s handling with in game ‘number 10’s’ as James Maddison is rated at 79 and Manuel Lanzini is rated at 80 overall. In my original starter team, Grealish scored 7 goals and 6 assists in 9 games during the early access period. I placed the Villa talisman in the middle of a 3-5-2 and let him roam as a free playmaker and the goals came naturally.
Some other notable states include Hourihane’s Free Kick rating sitting at 78 and his stamina sitting at 88, meaning he can run for days and still bang goals in from the drop. Tammy Abraham was awarded a 76 rated rare gold card having been sent back to his parent club, but still has the solid link to Grealish if you want to relive the moments of last year. For those interested in reigniting the partnership of Mings and Tuanzebe, Axel’s card is rated at a shockingly low 73 but he has a blistering 78 pace and is part of Manchester United so expect him to be expensive. Lastly, and most importantly, Villa Park is still in the game. No matter the players within your Ultimate Team or where your Career mode may take you, the best ground in the Midlands will be available to you.
Ultimately these upgrades are important, FIFA is a touchstone for many football fans for leagues outside of their home nation. My first interactions with the Villa happened over the Video Game medium and I still have fond memories of Gabby and Benteke because of FIFA. These upgrades and facelifts matter, especially to the overseas fan as FIFA is a huge medium of representation and sometimes the only way people know about certain clubs.