Week 3, the infamous international break and as expected, a mediocre TOTW that followed. However, one of the few bright spots came in the form of the Liverpool frontman Roberto Firmino. While the Brazilian has struggled to find the goal for Liverpool of late, he was on target twice in the Seleção’s 5-0 domination of Bolivia earning him a place in a TOTW to forget. Having previously used the non-inform Firmino I was already familiar with some of the qualities Bobby would bring to my squad and knew he would be best suited as a striker. In FIFA 20 Firmino was one of my favorite attacking midfielders due to his drive on the ball and his ability to unlock my opponent's midfield. Unfortunately, this burst of pace is not as potent in FIFA 21 and leaves Firmino unable to cover the CM and CDM positions effectively… yet still a fantastic option as a ST, CF, or CAM. In an attempt to help with this fleeting pace I applied a HUNTER chemistry style to Firmino and played him alongside Ousmane Dembélé in the ST position of my 4-4-2 formation. Firmino was the talisman on the road to Elite 3 in the following squad:
We were told at the start of FIFA 21 that a wider variety of players would be useful and effective, thus avoiding the carbon copy squads match after match after match. While the combination of Joe Gomez, VVD, and/or Varane seemed to be the only CBs I came up against… I was impressed with the midfield and attacking variety that I faced. Up until this weekend I had used a variety of pacey strikers and was moving towards a feeling that the META was going to be “the quick and the dead” yet again this year. However, after realizing early on that the 89 ACCELERATION & 87 SPRINT SPEED meant Firmino did not possess that high-end speed I started to focus more on the talents he did possess and the result was 20 goals and 16 assists in 20 matches of Weekend League… a fantastic and consistent return.
Main Statistic - Dribbling
Dribbling Rating: 9.7/10
The first Weekend League is in the bag and the complaints are already flowing in. Honestly, I didn’t find it as bad as others, but it was undeniable that the drop-back-one-depth-autoblocking defensive style is back and in full effect. In my experience I have only found one method to break this down … a combination of patience on the ball waiting to find an opening to your strikers… followed by the close control required to maneuver between oncoming defenders and the back tracking user-controlled CDM. This weekend Roberto Firmino carried out Phase 2 of my plan flawlessly and his 92 BALL CONTROL, 85 AGILITY, 86 BALANCE, 91 DRIBBLING and 5 STAR SKILLS were key to the goals he scored and created throughout the weekend.
Main Attribute - Strength
Strength Statistics: 74
Nothing overly impressive about the statistic itself, but after factoring in the 5’11 (181cm) frame and the 86 BALANCE again it was clear early on that Firmino was an absolute force leading the line. Even the 82 JUMPING added to the holdup play and ability to win and/or keep the ball in the congested areas while transitioning up the pitch… a huge key to his quality in the game, and my success this weekend.
Value/Coins & Good vs. Bad
Value/Coins Rating: 4.5/5
Good vs Bad Rating: 5/5
Much like Allan Saint-Maximin I find myself looking at potential options in the 100 - 150k price range and wondering… is Firmino really worth 50k more at 200k? The answer is, not quite. This card does have some serious upside with Firmino’s 92 FINISHING, 89 SHOT POWER, and 4 STAR WEAK FOOT … but in all honesty, I did not notice a significant difference from NIF Firmino. All in all, I don’t think you would ever regret spending the 200k to get Bobby in your squad… but I feel at this point in the game cycle, if you do not already have a top of the line squad (as I realized this weekend many do) 200k might just be a bit high.
There were really only two issues with this card throughout my review. One was the pace or lack thereof as was already stated. Two was the complete lack of defensive attributes that ultimately takes away from what could be a fantastic multi-position card. In reality, it was only the 65 TACKLING that I really noticed as Firmino just could not win the ball back consistently enough. As a striker hounding defenders he is perfectly fine but just could not cope with added defensive responsibility. But after those two deficiencies, it is all upside with this card and Firmino really shone in one of the less spoken about areas; passing. In FIFA 21 it is more and more obvious that passing is going to be a key factor throughout the game and Firmino has it down to a mastery level. The 89 SHORT PASSING follow by 93 POSITIONING led to some incredible pass and move tiki-taka football in and around my opponent's box… leading to a goal more often than not.
Besides Allan Saint-Maximin this has been my favorite card to use in FIFA 21 so far. The responsiveness of the dribbling and the quality in the finishing was just enough to propel my squad into a Week 1 Elite finish… something that I did not start accomplishing until closer to Christmas last year. In the end, the thing I like most about Firmino is that you feel rewarded for your quality play when this card is in the squad; The passing is crisp and perfectly angled, the dribbling is tight and elusive, and the shooting is powerful and accurate resulting in a wide array of goals. In closing, I have enjoyed my 30+ matches so far, and I believe you would too. Cheers for reading.
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