Arsenal FC: How Do the Gunners Stack Up in FIFA 12?
Welcome to my ninth FIFA 12 Player Ratings review article. So far, I've reviewed Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Manchester City, and plan to review AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli later this week.
The 2010-11 season was not a kind one for the Gunners.
At one point, it seemed like the Gunners were on top of the world and could not be stopped: At the end of February, they were one point off of league leaders Manchester United, had just beaten Barcelona in the Champions League, were in the Carling Cup final vs minnows Birmingham City, and were still going strong in the FA Cup.
And then it all just fell apart. First came the League Cup loss to Birmingham City, which seemed to knock all self-belief out of the squad. Losses to Barcelona in the Champions League and Manchester United in the FA Cup over the span of four days compounded the team's misery, and knocked them out of two more competitions they had done very well in for the majority of the season.
Even the league challenge died terribly, with the team falling all the way down to fourth on some awful league form.
So what effect did this meltdown of epic proportions have on Arsenal's ratings?
Let's find out.
Note: Players rated below 70 are excluded.
GK Wojciech Szczesny, 79
GK Lukas Fabianski, 77
GK Manuel Almunia, 74
GK Vito Mannone, 70
It's interesting to note that of all the teams in FIFA 12, Arsenal are the only ones who have four goalkeepers rated about 70.
Although FIFA is supposed to only take into consideration the 2010-11 season, I thought Szczesny did enough to warrant a rating of 81, even if he was injured for most of the second half of the season. A rating of 80-81 would've been fairer here.
Fabianski, Almunia, and Mannone's ratings are fine. I always wonder why Mannone was dropped in 2009-10...Arsenal never lost a game with him in goal.
RB Bacary Sagna, 83
CB Thomas Vermaelen, 83
CB Per Mertesacker, 82
CB Laurent Koscielny, 78
CB Johan Djourou, 77
CB Sebastien Squillaci, 77
LB Kieran Gibbs, 75
LB Andre Santos, 75
In all the FIFA 12 player ratings review articles I've done, Arsenal's ratings for defense may be the more accurate that I've come across.
The only two ratings I could really say anything about would be Squillaci's and Andre Santos; I would have those two players switch ratings. Squillaci was just awful for Arsenal in defense towards the end of last season, and is firmly fifth choice at the club now.
Andre Santos, on the other hand, is still regularly selected for the Brazilian NT and was a regular starter at Fenerbahce.
CDM Alexander Song, 82
CDM Emmanuel Frimpong, 71
CM Jack Wilshere, 82
CM Mikel Arteta, 82
CM Aaron Ramsey, 77
CM Abou Diaby, 77
CAM Yossi Benayoun, 82
CAM Tomas Rosicky, 81
Again, the ratings here are fairly accurate. There are a couple of more inaccuracies than there were in defense though.
Yossi Benayoun and Tomas Rosicky are significantly overrated here. I would give each of them a three point deduction...they're both super-subs at best now and haven't performed well for their clubs in quite some time now.
I have a problem with Alexander Song being rated as highly as Jack Wilshere, so I'd give Jack Wilshere an additional point, as he probably is Arsenal's best midfielder now, assuming he comes back from injury as the same player he was prior to injury.
Other than that, the ratings look solid to me. Diaby, Ramsey, Arteta, Frimpong and Song's ratings all accurately reflect their skill and experience from the 2010-11 season.
RW Theo Walcott, 82
LW Gervinho, 84
LW Andrei Arshavin, 83
LW Rio Miyaichi, 71
ST Robin Van Persie, 86
ST Marouane Chamakh, 81
ST Park Chu-Young, 77
If Arsenal's forwards played at the level their ratings would indicate they should be playing at this season, Arsenal would probably be in a much better league position than they currently find themselves in.
It's hard to criticize the ratings given to Walcott, Arshavin and Gervinho, considering the fact that they all did have very statistically impressive 2010-11 seasons.
Part of me wants to say that each player should've been rated a point lower, but I know that if Arsenal had actually made a good start to this season that I would not be saying that. So, taking only the 2010-11 season into consideration, the ratings for all three of those wingers are fair.
As for Arsenal's strikers, I would increase Robin Van Persie's rating by a point, and decrease Chamakh by a point. Chamakh faded awfully last season, and is rapidly approaching "flop status", while Robin Van Persie was possibly the only Gunner still playing well down the stretch of last season.
His output was his best league output ever, and had he been fit over the course of the whole season he'd probably have won the Golden Boot. For that, I think he deserves an 87.
Last by not least, Miyaichi deserves a 75 for an excellent half-season at Feyenoord, in which he scored three goals and recorded five assists in only 12 games for the club.
Looking at how deep this Arsenal squad actually is, if you had told me that Arsenal would be sitting in 15th place in the league after seven league games with four losses, I would not have believed you. In fact, I probably would've labelled you a lunatic.
But that's unfortunately where Arsenal find themselves, and its hard to know where to point the blame. Of course, a considerable amount of it goes to Arsene Wenger, who's refusal to hire a defensive coach has cost the team dearly, and is particularly frustrating since Arsenal actually have good defenders.
At the same time though, its hard to really know what's gone on at Arsenal, and if Wenger is really just a stingy old man who refuses to give up on a philosophy that cannot stand on its own, or if he really just doesn't have any money to spend on his squad whatsoever.
Getting back to FIFA 12 though, the ratings are all fairly accurate; in fact, Arsenal are probably one of the most accurately rated teams in the game. The only "semi-major" issues of contention are the inflated ratings of Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun; otherwise, the other rating issues are fairly minor.
This Arsenal team unfortunately lacks the star power to hang with the bigger teams in FIFA 12, and even within the EPL is relatively outclassed by the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.
However, it is strong enough to match up against the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham, which is a testament to the game, as that is where Arsenal's level currently is.
What do you think of Arsenal's ratings on FIFA 12? Too high? Too low? Which player ratings do you specifically agree or disagree with? Make your opinion known in the comments section below.
Also, make sure to check out my other FIFA 12 player ratings articles:
I plan on writing articles to cover the player ratings for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli later on, so make sure to check back on my profile for when those articles are released. My older FIFA 12 Player Ratings articles can be found there as well.