Like you, we've been smashing the FIFA 17 demo, and now we can't wait for the real thing. Here are the teams we're most eager to try out once the full game is released and why…
One of the biggest problems with online FIFA fixtures, perhaps, is that too many players are inclined to shamelessly (with apologies to genuine-issue Madridistas) stick with the objectively best team in the game, Real Madrid, rather than experimenting with other sides.
To whet your appetite for the imminent launch of FIFA 17, we’ve prepared the following guide to interesting sides that you really should try out. You’ll still probably get kerb-stomped by an angry 14-year-old with an unhealthy Ronaldo fixation every other game, of course – but that’s a story for another article.
"The centre-back pairing of Smalling and Bailly is also one of the fastest in the game, making them suited to the demands of dealing with the usual jet-heeled forwards you meet at this level"
Inexplicably overrated by EA in recent years, the mismatched lambs of Man United have regularly tottered to the slaughter at the hands of fellow five-star Seasons sides. The introduction of Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Bailly this year adds undeniable steel to the spine of the first team, while Mkhitaryan’s talents as a creator translate more favourably in FIFA’s simulation than the subtlety of the easily-bullied Mata.
The centre-back pairing of Smalling and Bailly is also one of the fastest in the game, making them suited to the demands of dealing with the usual jet-heeled forwards you meet at this level.
United finally have good squad depth and tactical flexibility in most positions and, at long last, a handful of genuine-issue superstars. The only problem, perhaps, is that a lack of another top-quality right midfielder/winger rather condemns Mkhitaryan to duties on that flank when he might (whisper it) actually be a better fit for the slot just behind Ibra.
"If the initial impressions of the FIFA 17 demo hold true in the final game, though, this might be Barcelona’s year in the digital domain"
The curious thing about Barcelona is that, despite their abundance of talent, it’s often been a struggle to get the most out of them in FIFA since the early Pep years. Despite obvious individual ability, trying to coax them to play as a cohesive unit in attack *and* defence – let alone authentically recreate the best pound-for-pound passing side in the world – has always been a puzzle that few people have ever solved, which is why you see so many online opponents opt for the more direct and palpable merits of Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern and Dortmund. Barca can be fun, but tend to feel oddly lightweight in the major head-to-heads.
If the initial impressions of the FIFA 17 demo hold true in the final game, though, this might be Barcelona’s year in the digital domain. The quality of their front three is irrefutable: they’re the second, third and fourth most highly-rated players in the game. But if defensive midfielders are more disciplined in their position, as appears to be the case, we might finally see Sergio Busquets make a difference when (and, more importantly, where) it matters. The addition of Umtiti to the back line will also strengthen the side in all the right ways: he’s almost certainly due a respectable bump from his relatively modest FIFA 16 rating.