Smolov was beyond a doubt my favourite striker last year, not his normal card or IF, but the card that you got from doing the league challenge, it was only an 84 but his acceleration, strength, 4 star weak foot, agility, passing and heading ability combined with his size is what did it for me. He also got a tots to top it all off at the end of the season.
I summed up a lot of attributes here but the main attraction of this card (and also his tots) was his size and strength combined with great acceleration. I could just stand still, accelerate and lose the defender immediately. Sure you would say there are other strikers like that, but the size and strength really does make a difference, a smaller, weaker striker could get more easily caught in the run because the defender can push him off the ball, with a striker like Smolov the defender has a lot more problems pushing him off the ball, especially when he's running away from him.
When fifa 18 started I kept an eye out for smolov, but I quickly realized this was not going to happen, he got no IF's and his normal card was already lower rated to begin with. By the time the tots started I was already completely forgotten about him, but suddenly last week I saw him appearing between one of the many tots players, and he's dirt cheap. I bought him for 45k.
In the first couple of matches he didn't really perform well but that's because I played him like some of my other strikers, I was relying on his top speed, but that's not how you play smolov, it's not his strongest point anyway. His top speed is only 90 and while that would be great during the season, at this point, with 90 sprint speed, you will not outrun the defence of a lot of opponents in the higher dvivions. It's the acceleration and agilty that creates the magic with Smolov. With this player you can easily beat a defender, not necessarily on the fast break but when he's right in front of you and doing positional defense. You just turn a little, use your body to protect the ball if necessary, make him guessing what side you're going to choose and boom, launch that rocket and he will lose you.
The agility is also completely broken on this player, it says 88, but it feels like 98, his dribbling, reactions and composure are also quite high for a player with 90 dribbling, that's because his balance stat will bring the overall down, but low balance is normal on big player. Still, his balance isn't that low for a big player like that, and that's probably the reason why his agility feels a lot more than 88.
His passing is more than good enough for a striker, his long passing is a bit low but he still has quite good vision. I would try to avoid long passes if necessary, and that's not very difficult because smolov is very good at retaining the ball. I would keep moving with him though, the defense at this point has become so good with many players that you will have a hard time keeping the ball when standing still, no matter what player you're using.
So all in all, if you know how to use smolov, he's probably be one of the best strikers you ever had. There is simply no other striker like him, I know some of you are going to say kluivert, ronaldo, bale, or even rashford. But all of them will be either smaller and/or accerate slower. Not to mention smolov has 93 overall shooting stats and 90 overall dribbling. Aubameyang isn't even in the same ballpark because of the dribbling, strength and shooting. The closest you wil get to him is with thierry henry, and he will even accelerate slower by one point, and have one strength less as well. That will make a difference, but the biggest difference is probably that balance stat, and that makes smolov feel a lot more agile and steady. Let's also not forget about the different workrates and the staggering price difference.
You will have to go through the trouble of linking him up though, and it's not a walk in the park but is defenitely worth it. If you know how to play him, he will be a key player for your team and a real game changer.
Heck even if you don't know how to play him he will be a great player. A big player like that with 93 pace, 93 shooting, 90 dribbling, 82 physical, 81 passing, 4 star weak foot and pretty much no weak points is the striker of dreams, especially for that price.
- Acceleration, agility, size and strength
- Attack positioning, finishing and shot power
- Volleys and curve
- Vision and short passing
- link up
- long passing