Assigning FIFA Card Ratings to 21st Century Arsenal Legends

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2017

Tony Adams was not included in FIFA 17.
Tony Adams was not included in FIFA 17.Clive Mason/Getty Images

EA Sports' new FIFA 18 game has included a number of Arsenal legends in their Ultimate Team mode.

Listed in the game as Icons, the former Gunners players included are Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Davor Suker, Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, David Seaman, Jens Lehmman, Emmanuel Petit, Freddie Ljungberg and Sol Campbell—and their FIFA ratings are listed here

However, what of the players EA has not included? What would their attributes look like?

In this piece, we look at a number of Gunners legends from this millennium and estimate their FIFA skills. They're ranked according to the highest overall rating—and we start with a true Arsenal hero.


Tony Adams

English footballer Tony Adams of Arsenal, during a Premier League match against Nottingham Forest, 16th January 1999. Arsenal won the match 1-0. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Overall: 89


Pace: 68

Shooting: 45

Passing: 61

Dribbling: 52

Defending: 92

Physical: 91

Tony Adams just makes the cut having featured for Arsenal briefly in the early part of this century. The English centre-half retired in 2002, but his playing days are still fondly recalled by the fans.

Adams' scores reflect the fact he was not the most technically gifted player. However, he was an outstanding defender.

In some ways, his greatest attributes would not be quantified within the game—Adams was a superb organiser and an inspirational leader. It's difficult to reflect his sheer force of personality within the game, but nevertheless he would still have a high score.


Gilberto Silva

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 14:  A portrait of Gilberto Silva of Arsenal prior to the UEFA Champions League, Group E match between Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven at Highbury on Septemner 14, 2004 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Position: Defensive midfield

Overall: 87


Pace: 77

Shooting: 71

Passing: 79

Dribbling: 74

Defending: 88

Physical: 90

As a Brazilian World Cup winner and mainstay of the "Invincibles" team, Gilberto Silva would probably be within his rights to wonder why he isn't in the game already. 

Although he was an effective all-round player, Gilberto was a master of the defensive elements of midfield play. Like Adams, he seemed to have an almost supernatural ability to anticipate how play was going to unfold. Invariably, he was in the right place at the right time. 

Gilberto also has a high score for his physicality. Both he and Vieira were giants at the heart of the Arsenal midfield. Opposition players would be intimated by their sheer size as much as their ability.



LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 7:  Kanu of Arsenal scores the opening goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on January 7, 2004 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Position: Centre-forward

Overall: 86


Pace: 74 

Shooting: 80

Passing: 83

Dribbling: 89

Defending: 32

Physical: 79

Although never quite first choice under Arsene Wenger, Kanu is a legend of Nigerian football. He also earned cult-hero status in north London, with his idiosyncratic style of attacking play permanently endearing him to Arsenal fans.

It's difficult to name a modern forward who shares Kanu's particular set of skills. He was tall, deceptively strong and outrageously skilful. His greatest asset was his imagination—he attempted the seemingly impossible and frequently had the technical ability to put it off.

Kanu was a flair player but never a luxury. He found ways to channel his impudent skill into efficient contributions to the team—often from the substitutes' bench.



LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28:  Harry Kewell of Liverpool is tackled by Lauren of Arsenal  during the Barclays Premiership match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on November 28, 2004 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Image
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Position: Right-back

Overall: 86


Pace: 80

Shooting: 67

Passing: 79

Dribbling: 73

Defending: 82

Physical: 85

These days, Wenger appears to turn good defenders into bad ones. However, a decade or so ago he was seemingly able to create top defenders at will. So it proved with Lauren, who had played predominantly as a midfielder in La Liga before the Arsenal manager decided to repurpose him as a right-back.

Lauren was as skilful as you would expect a midfielder educated in Spain to be. However, he also enjoyed the rougher elements of the English game. He never shirked a challenge, and he had remarkable composure under pressure—as evidenced by his penalty-taking.

It's worth noting that Lauren has a high score for passing. He was frequently the instigator of Arsenal's moves from the back, as he was willing to receive the ball from the goalkeeper despite the attention of opposition markers.


Martin Keown

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM:  Arsenal's Martin Keown with his sons Niall (L) and Callum (2ndL) raises his arms as he is being saluted by teammates  before kick off in a testimonial football  match for himself against England X1 at Highbury in north London, 17

Position: Centre-back

Overall: 85


Pace: 78

Shooting: 36

Passing: 55

Dribbling: 44

Defending: 89

Physical: 82

Adams and Campbell might be the most celebrated centre-backs in Arsenal's modern history, but both received plenty of support from Martin Keown.

What Keown didn't know about the art of defending probably isn't worth knowing. He was an impeccable man-marker, tracking his opponents for the duration of the game and barely giving them a moment's rest.

His low dribbling score shows that Keown was not the most adventurous player. However, as a pure defender, there were few better.


Sylvain Wiltord

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom:  FILES - Picture taken 31 August 2003 in Manchester shows Arsenal's French Sylvain Wiltord (R) fighting for the ball with Manchester City's Jihai Sun during their Premiership clash at Manchester Stadium in Manchester. Bundeslig
PAUL BARKER/Getty Images

Position: Centre-forward

Overall: 85


Pace: 87

Shooting: 79

Passing: 77

Dribbling: 80

Defending: 52

Physical: 67

It was Sylvain Wiltord's versatility that made him such a useful asset to Wenger. Although nominally a striker, he frequently played on the left and right wing, stepping in to replace Pires and Ljungberg whenever it was necessary. 

However, he was far more than a mere utility player. Wiltord was an impressive dribbler, spinning easily away from his markers and finding space in the tightest areas of the field.

He was a confident finisher and wrote his name into Arsenal history when he scored the goal at Old Trafford that sealed the 2001/02 Premier League title.


Kolo Toure

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 24:  Kolo Toure of Arsenal holds off Jefferson Farfan of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal at the Phillips Stadium on November 24, 2004 in Eindhoven, Netherland
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Position: Centre-back

Overall: 84


Pace: 78

Shooting: 54

Passing: 72

Dribbling: 73

Defending: 83

Physical: 89

Like Lauren, Kolo Toure's first few Arsenal appearances were in midfield. However, it was when he switched to centre-half in the summer of 2003 that he really found his niche in north London.

Toure was an excellent footballer, but his greatest asset was his power. When he made a positional error, he invariably had the speed and strength required to make up for his mistake.


Ray Parlour

LONDON - FEBRUARY 10:  Ray Parlour of Arsenal battles for the ball with Graeme Le Saux of Southampton during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Arsenal and Southampton at Highbury on February 10, 2004 in London.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Imag
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Position: Right midfield 

Overall: 84


Pace: 76

Shooting: 83

Passing: 79

Dribbling: 79

Defending: 74

Physical: 88

Stamina is a useful quality in FIFA. Sometimes you need a player you know you can rely on to sprint from the first minute until the last.

Ray Parlour is one such player. Although more talented than his detractors might suggest, his primary asset was his incredible work rate.

When Wenger took over at Arsenal, many fans suspected the industrious Parlour would soon become surplus to requirements. Instead, he evolved into one of the Frenchman's most trusted lieutenants.

Parlour was a great all-rounder: a relentless runner, a goalscorer and a selfless defender.


James McNicholas is Bleacher Report's lead Arsenal correspondent and follows the club from a London base.


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