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September 9, 2019

FIFA 20: Most Underrated and Overrated Players

Avatar September 9, 2019
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Now that the European soccer season is in full swing, FIFA is also back with it’s latest edition! FIFA 20 is scheduled to release on September 27th across all platforms. However, Electronic Arts (EA) recently revealed the ratings for the highest-ranked players.

The FIFA title is the most popular sports video game in the world. EA has elevated its franchise by introducing new in-game mechanism and a more realistic feel to the game over the years. But sometimes, they throw realism out of the window when it comes to their rating system

Occasionally, some “marquee” superstars are randomly given high ratings despite an average recent campaign with their club. Moreover, some players who outperformed many of these big stars are rated much lower due to the inferiority in their popularity or lack of marketability.

Underrated FIFA 20 Players

Most underrated FIFA 20 players: Virgil van Dijk, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Kylian Mbappe, João Félix, Jadon Sancho

Even though FIFA have only announced ratings for the top 100+ players in the game so far, there are already some glaring numbers for last season’s impressive players. Virgil Van Dijk makes the top 10 ranked players (thankfully), but he’s still rated only 90.

Sure, he’s the highest-rated defender in the game. But considering he wasn’t dribbled past all season and was the most vital cog in Liverpool’s Champions League victory, he deserves a higher number. Let’s not forget he also won the UEFA Player of the Year award ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (rated 1 & 2, respectively) and is the likely Ballon D’or recipient. Come on FIFA, give defenders their due!

Speaking of defenders, Manchester United new-boy Aaron Wan-Bissaka is rated a shockingly low 79! It’s only a +1 increase from his FIFA 19 rating! AWB had a breakthrough season with Crystal Palace in which he kept the best defensive stats in the Premier League, often outperforming top wingers. Under-performing Jesse Lingard is rated at 82. Is there a manager in the world that would prefer having Lingard over Aaron Wan-Bissaka? Of course not.

Kylian Mbappe’s only received a +1 boost, which isn’t warranted after his sensational goal-scoring heroics at Paris Saint-Germain. He scored 37 goals in Ligue 1+Champions League last season, much more than some of the 90+ rated players. Ah well, his maximum potential I think will surely excite career-mode fanatics.

When it comes to youngsters with huge potential, João Félix hasn’t received much love from FIFA. He’s only rated at an 80 despite a breakthrough season in which he contributed towards 31 goals. He was also granted a record $130 million move to Atletico Madrid. FIFA doesn’t rate on transfer fees, of course, but there was no question that Felix is an elite talent. He’s continued to show why all summer.

However, the most grossly underrated player this year is probably Jadon Sancho. Rated at only 84, he’s criminally under-scored by FIFA after a terrific season in the Bundesliga. He scored 12 and assisted 14 goals for Borussia Dortmund, with only Lionel Messi matching the double-figure in goals & assists across the top-four leagues. He’s rated 10 points lower than Messi. While nobody is claiming Messi is over-rated, Sancho has earned a higher number based on output.

Overrated FIFA 20 Players

Most overrated FIFA 20 players: Neymar, Fernandinho, Alex Sandro, David de Gea, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo

Now that the underrated part is out on the way, there are some players rated well beyond what they deserved for last season’s performances. This might be controversial (which is fitting, as so is he), but for me, Neymar hasn’t warranted the 92 rating. He’s packed with talent but spent the crucial part of last season injured. He didn’t deliver in either the Champions League or Copa America and doesn’t deserve to be the 3rd best player in FIFA 20. Both Eden Hazard and Mo Salah are deserving more.

After securing back-to-back Premier League titles, seems obvious that Manchester City players would be rated high up. However, Fernandinho getting an 87 rating isn’t warranted for me. He did put in solid performances last season, but should ideally be in the 85 region. Considering that Nicolas Pepe, Sancho and even Trent Alexander-Arnold are rated way lower, this doesn’t make much sense.

Juventus is hilariously named “Piemonte Calcio” this season thanks to licensing issues. Not as funny is that left-back Alex Sandro is rated at 85! He wasn’t their best defensive option and didn’t contribute towards that many goals. He’s rated exactly as team-mate Matthijs De Ligt, which isn’t logical considering the Dutch teenager shone through on the biggest occasions last season. Sandro should be in the lower 80 region.

David De Gea maintains his rule as United’s #1 rated player, but isn’t warranted a rating as high as year’s past. He was too error-prone last season, rarely keeping clean-sheets in a difficult campaign. Rating him as much as Allison, who was influential to Liverpool’s Champions League win, isn’t fair or accurate. An 87ish rating would’ve been more fitting.

Luka Modric being involved in the top 10 ratings just isn’t justified for me. Just because he won the Balon D’Or last year doesn’t mean he should be handed a high-up rating. Modric sporadically contributed in Real Madrid’s stuttering La Liga campaign and flopped out in the Champions League. Considering that Karim Benzema– who was arguably Madrid’s best player last season- is rated at 87 itself proves the Croatian’s been overrated.

Finally, are we sure that Ronaldo is still the 2nd best player in the world? Sure, he still comes through in big moments during the Champions League. But at 34 years old, other players like Mbappe, van Dijk, Hazard, and Salah have eclipsed his overall productivity and impact.

Liverpool vs Newcastle United Matchday 5 Preview (September 14, 2019)

Chops September 9, 2019

Who: Liverpool vs Newcastle
When: Saturday, September 14th @ 07:30 am ET
LineLiverpool -770 | Draw +750 | Newcastle +1900

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European domestic leagues are back in action this coming weekend! There are a number of exciting matchday 5 Premier League fixtures.

This is not one of them.

Liverpool vs Newcastle United Preview

The second-to-last matchday of 2018-19 saw Liverpool travel to Newcastle for a game all Reds fans were dreading. Liverpool were in an all-time epic title chase against FFP violating Manchester City. Any dropped points and the race was over.

Rafa Benitez had Newcastle playing decent football. Liverpool were in the middle of another deep Champions League run. While “mentality monsters,” they were still a tired squad.

The game went back and forth. Liverpool were tied 2-2 until the 86th minute when DIVOCK ORIGI HAPPENED. They squeaked out a narrow 3-2 victory.

Three days later, they defeated Barclona at Anfield 4-0  (watch it, seriously never gets old) en route to a Champions League title.

We usually don’t give so much exposition before a preview, but that’s because there’s not much to say about this game. Liverpool are the heaviest betting favorites in the Premier League this week (-770) and that’s actually decent value / worth a play.

Liverpool defeated Newcastle 4-0 at Anfield last season. Newcastle has a slightly better squad this go around, but a much worse manager. Steve Bruce has replaced Rafa. That’s like trading in your new BMW for a used RAV4.

Expect Jurgen Klopp to use this match as a tune up for the Reds’ first Champions League showdown the following week (away vs Napoli). They follow that with a potential challenge on Sunday the 22nd at Chelsea. Newcastle is actually the perfect opponent to implement tighter / more organized backline tactics while working out any new wrinkles for their Napoli and Chelsea matches.

Prediction

Klopp will have the lads coming out on their front foot. Expect the Reds to get up early, then rest two of the big three attacking options once the lead is secure in the second half. This would be a good match to bring on Rhian Brewster and / or Xherdan Shaqiri for some squad re-acclimation minutes.

Liverpool coasting to a 3-1 or 4-1 win sounds about right.

Where to Bet Premier League in the US

In the US, you can legally bet on soccer online in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

For New Jersey, we recommend DraftKings Sportsbook NJ or FanDuel Sportsbook

Can We Stop With the “Mo Salah Is Selfish” Nonsense Already?

Chops September 9, 2019

Mohamed Salah isn’t some abnormally selfish player. The latest, lamest and laziest click-baity soccer media narrative would have you believe otherwise, but it’s nonsense.

On Premier League matchday 4, Salah missed delivering a pass to teammate Sadio Mane that would’ve likely led to an easy goal. Mane erupted. Talking heads had their hot takes. And that should’ve been that.

But the “Mo Salah is selfish!” story still has legs. Time to bury this one.

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Selfish Salah sure does like to pass

While this article is by no means a “Salah vs Mane” piece — the whole “Salah is selfish” narrative started because of Sadio’s animated displeasure against his Egyptian teammate for failing to set him up with an easy goal.

While there is some validity in that one singular incident, let’s consider the following larger data points for perspective:

  • 2019 assists to date: Salah 2, Mane 1
  • 2018-19 assists: Salah 8, Mane 1
  • 2017-18 assists: Salah 10, Mane 7
  • 2016-17 assists: Salah 11 (with Roma), Mane 5

In the last full three season, Salah has tallied 16 more assists than, um, unselfish Mane.

But wait, there’s more!

Salah also has delivered more key passes than Mane the last three seasons. A key pass is the final pass or pass-cum-shot leading to the recipient taking a shot (regardless of the outcome of said shot).

Here are Salah vs Mane’s key passes (domestic play only) going back to 2016-17.

SeasonSalahMane
2018-191.81.3
2017-181.71.7
2016-171.91.6

But yeah, Salah is more selfish.

Remember last year when Salah gave up a penalty kick to Roberto Firmino so his Brazilian teammate could record a hat-trick? It almost made Jurgen Klopp cry because it was such an unselfish gesture. Salah would’ve secured sole possession of the Golden Boot last season had he taken and converted that penalty, by the way.

Time to end this moronic narrative

The reality is, Salah gets more unjust criticism than any elite player in Europe (save for maybe Raheem Sterling). From diving to being selfish to being a flash in the pan, all Salah has done is produced at uber-elite levels for four season now.

Also and somewhat overlooked, don’t you want your top goal scorer to be just a little bit selfish? Cristiano Ronaldo is accused of a lot of bad things — a lot of very, very bad things –but seldom do you hear him being labeled as selfish. He’s practically deified for how he goals to goal. His assist totals the past three full domestic seasons (8 with Juventus, and 5 and 6 his last two seasons with Real Madrid) also pale in comparison to Salah.

But Salah is selfish.

Enough.


UPDATE: Good to hear Robbie Fowler agrees.

 

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