116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's In The Game

Could there have been a bigger tease than this week's first leg action? I can't remember the last time we had two games of such importance (that did not end in draws), that gave us less of a story. At least Barcelona got an away goal (of course, it was only one, which makes it slightly less significant, but it does matter). So now that we know that Milan is going to play for real next week, and that Arsenal will probably try to get one for the road, what is there left to talk about?
Well never fear, because here on 116th street, we know that if you follow the beautiful game stateside, there's at least a halfway decent chance that you play the FIFA series. Where I'm going with this, of course, is to the question on everyone's mind: if the makeshift Arsenal back four of Flamini, Senderos, Toure and Eboue haven't conceded a Champions League goal since the Truman administration, how is EA gonna rate them for FIFA 07? Flamini, whose FIFA 06 rating is something like 71, is a tricky one, because his natural position is central midfield instead of left back, and we know how EA likes to screw with the ratings for players whose skills don't necessarily match their position (Frank Lampard is an 85 in FIFA 06, for example, when everyone knows he should be at least a 92). Anyway, figure Flamini gets a boost in tackling and pace, I see him at somewhere like 84 next year.
Senderos, with his strength, tackling and heading will undoubtedly move up into the 80's, and anything less than an 85 will be a travesty. Kolo Toure was already an 88 in FIFA 06, but he's taken a step into the elite category of defending this year; expect him to register as a 90 in next year's game. Eboue isn't even in FIFA 06, and as such I have no idea how EA will rate him next year. They generally tend to underrate new players, though (Cristiano Ronaldo sucked in FIFA 2004), so I wouldn't be surprised if he came in at a 77, even though he is also probably deserving of an 85 himself.
All FIFA video gaming conjecture aside, what happens when Arsenal's defensive starters return from injury remains to be seen. Cole, Campbell and Lauren have international reputations, as well as a higher pay grade. Cole seems to want out of Highbury, but Campbell and Lauren's futures are more precarious. Is it safe to assume that these kids will be able to duplicate this year's magic next season? If so, then the two vets are surplus. But what if Senderos and Eboue slump next year? Arsene Wenger won't be able to use FIFA 07 ratings to determine who to play.


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