The Serie A TOTS came and went this past weekend and I am not sure I know exactly what to think. There were certainly some amazing cards… some surprise inclusions… some horrible boosted options… and overall a step down from the madness surrounding the La Liga and Bundesliga TOTS weeks. However, one thing that remained consistent was the inclusion of the Napoli talisman, Dries Mertens. If you follow these reviews or myself on Twitter: @MaeNine_ then you might remember that I looked at Mertens only two months ago in the newly dropped What If promotional squad. The result?… a 7.5/10 and an overly disappointing experience. The issue came in the form of a lot of fraudulent statistics that said one thing… but resulted in another. This time around I was hoping that Mertens could harness the absolutely crazy statistics that now accompany his TOTS version. The application of the HAWK chemistry style only improved on the madness as Mertens lined up as the striker in my 4-2-2-2 formation… while also playing as the RAM for the second half in the majority of my matches. Mertens proved to be a consistent contributor all weekend in the following squad:
16 goals & 9 assists in 19 matches… why not 20? Simply put it was an accident as it completely slipped my mind that I had played a match before deciding on who to review. When my first 20 matches were complete I quickly took the picture, not remembering that Mertens did not take part in the weekend opener. However, maybe it is for the best as there is a good chance it would have been 16 goals and 9 assists in 20 matches had I done so. While Mertens was an animal early in the weekend against less formidable opponents… as the challenge increased, the ability for Mertens to impact matches started to decrease.
This is maybe the key category to really discuss what went wrong with this review yet again. Everything about this card screams perfect dribbling. The smaller body type mixed with the 99 ACCELERATION & 98 SPRINT SPEED do combine to create an extremely quick card… yet the top end speed never really felt like the speedster you see advertised. Still, the 99 AGILITY & 98 BALANCE felt unbelievably responsive and some of the left stick dribbling you can achieve with this card is poetry in motion. Even the 4 STAR SKILLS are about enough to make defenders dance and overall starts to shape this card as a menace in and around the box. This is all true… until you encounter a quick enough defender to follow the movements of Mertens in close spaces. The issue is that any contact with Mertens is going to result in a loss of possession. The 75 STRENGTH might as well be reversed to 57, because in my experience with Mertens any tackles were an immediate possession loss, which became increasingly frustrating.
One look at the Shooting statistics with a HAWK chemistry style and it starts to look like a scary proposition for any would-be keepers having to face TOTS Mertens. The perfect 99 across the board is only broken by a slightly less impressive 84 VOLLEYS. Nonetheless, when you add in the 4 STAR WEAK FOOT and perfect trait combination you are expecting nothing but goals in the near future. Yet, somehow, someway, I found this card struggled in front of goal too often across the review. It never really stood out exactly what the real issue was… yet somewhere along the way something has gone wrong with the clinical nature of this card. Frustrating… doesn’t quite begin to explain it.
Value/Coins & Good vs. Bad
Value/Coins Rating: 4/5
Good vs Bad Rating: 4/5
I think that 700K would be perfect for this card and really be a temptation for those looking for a bit of quality to add to a CAM or RW/RM position in their squads. For myself, I actually enjoyed Mertens more as a RAM due to the fact that there were fewer opportunities to be tackled out on the wing. Additionally, the passing with this card is quite impressive as 93 SHORT PASSING was especially accurate in those tighter areas in and around the box.
Not really a massive issue considering the offensive positions Mertens will generally occupy… However, the fact that I am selling the Belgian as more of a wide player to facilitate the other quality in your squad… I should mention that his defending is something out of a comedy hour as attackers glide by the pitiful attempts to win the ball back with this card. Not key to our review… but certainly worth noting.
Once again it was a “good from far, but far from good” conclusion with TOTS Mertens… would I be happy if I was granted the Belgian in my red picks? 100%... I think he could be an admirable super sub given the pace and dribbling being applied after opponent's backlines have fatigued. Additionally, the price tag alone would tell you that Mertens remains an in demand card as well. However, I would still not recommend this card as a starter in your squad… there will come a time that he will let you down and from there it is difficult to trust the Belgian in key moments… making it difficult to endorse him to others. In the end, I say pass… there are just too many statistics that look amazing and just don’t live up to the hype. In saying that, one card that certainly won’t let you down... much to my incredible surprise, is TOTS Lukaku… look to my YouTube: MaeNine for a review before Thursday! Hope all is well with you and yours! Cheers for reading.
What a card oml. He can hit any shot and play any nice pass to your players. His dribbling is INSANELY good - basically 99 pace with a basic, 99 dribbling with a basic and he has the short and lean- body type (check last fifa), so obviously he is going to be insane on the ball. It feels weird for a 5'7" player to be as good at shooting and as powerful as he is. He isn't the easiest for links but tbh even if he has 8 chemistry (or 7) he will only lose 1 on each of the stats that would get an upgrade (or 2 with 7 chem) so he is going to play the exact same tbh. He isn't the strongest and did get muscled of the ball a couple of times but that didn't really bother me because it was fairly rare that a player got near him anyways and whenever they did he would've been on the other side of the pitch in 0.01 seconds anyway. I got him from an 80+ Serie A player pick and I don't think i'll get a card anywhere near his level for a very long time. Positions wise I'd recommend playing him st because of his agility and the fact he can make use of his extremely good pace, I do also think CAM works but his when playing them there they quite often need more strength - which he doesn't have. About playing him on the wing (or lm/rm/lam/ram) he is extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY good but his shooting doesn't get used as much which is a shame and I tried some crossed/ corners and I would say that they're alright but could do with being a little better (even thought they're already 90 they don't quite feel it) but then again unless you're a pace merchant, you probably won't need to do that many crosses unless its free and open which this guy can do. The finesse shots on him are very good and i would 100% utilise them and even if you have a hard shot from the side I would put it on this man to score a banger.
If you don't already own him I hope you pack him and he can give you the goals and plays he gave me in my video :)
Mertens was used in both the RS and CAM role in a 4312 formation, in 15 Div 2 matches across a few days. As a striker, Mertens was making several good runs in behind, and usually was able to latch onto a through ball. In the box, his agility and dribbling allowed him to get past most players without any issues, and the 4* skills is a nice bonus to heel-to-heel away from defenders. All this is nice, he's gotten to the positon to take a shot, right? That's where this card is let down; his shots are weak at best, usually pea-rolling across the ground to a waiting goalkeeper's arms. On the occasions that the shots had any power behind them, they would hit the post or the crossbar more often than not.
His passing is pretty good, most passes he makes reach their target. This isn't Pirlo level passing, but good enough for a card that most people are going to play as a striker. He makes cut backs across the box with relative ease. Physically, he noticably lacks strength. When fighting for a through pass played to him there are many times when he just seems to give up on getting the ball or gets pushed away with some force. Maybe he would suit a long-ball play style more than a slow passing build up where he has the space to run in behind or catch the defenders sleeping.
Overall, his pace is good. Better than most, in fact. A good combination of his pace and dribbling allow him to get into the areas to miss the shots, which seems to be a positive for Timo Werner in real life, so therefore can be a positive for this Mertens Card! His xG is much higher than goals that he has actually scored.
Chemistry is relatively easy to find, with Napoli having a good season and getting several attacking TOTS cards, and with the SBC Nainggolan available at the time of writing this review, there are plenty of options.
To conclude, Mertens is a solid player who will create chances if given the opertunity. However, he usually misses the shots taken himself and leaves you very disappointed. He's not worth 1.1m coins as he is on the market, but if his price dropped below 700k, maybe that would be a conversation to be had with the bank manager.
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