(First ever review so hopefully I don't butcher the format!) Picked up Paulinho on the web app for my starter team and have been blown away by his dominance in midfield so far. If he were still in one of the big five leagues this card would be wildly more expensive. Instead, he is probably the best bang for your buck in midfield out there, certainly for the first few weeks. He completely runs the show in games against the weaker starter teams, and when my no money spent squad gets matched up with the much more expensive squads, he’s more than equal to the challenge.
Partnered in a nice little triangle with Anderson Talisca and Renato Augusto, I started off using him as the sitter in the double pivot of a 4-2-3-1, and he was incredibly solid. He brought a real sense of solidity in front of my defence (which I invested in last), has an excellent tackle on him, and crucially (unlike a lot of starter DM’s I’ve used over the years) can actually pick a good pass out once I’d won the ball with him. With 4*/4* and solid passing numbers, I feel comfortable with him on the ball even when my opponent is pressing high trying to get back into the game.
However, once I’d spent a few coins on the backline and felt a bit more comfortable on the game, I took the shackles off him, removed the stay back instruction, and he really began to shine. Thanks to his really high stamina he’s able to be all action all game and not burn out too much and that, combined with the H/H work rates, has meant he’s able to regularly to join the attack and still get back into position to help out defensively. He feels must faster than I expected when I first saw the card, not in a Kante of previous years side to side buzzing defensive kind of way, but if you spot him on a darting run from deep, he can really build up good speed on the breakaway and, already said, gets back defensively without any worries. In front of goal he’s got some real threat for a deep lying midfielder. His long shots are good value to earn a corner (I’ll come back to them!) and I have had one fly in past De Gea from a mile out that certainly caught my attention! Closer in, if he finds a pocket of space with a late run, he’s good value with a powerful cross-goal shot. From corners he’s an absolute menace though! I’ve not bought any chem styles yet, and on basic his jumping goes up to 97, and this (combined with his strength and heading) makes him a great target. So far, four of his goals have come in the air, while a couple more for the team have been caused by him rattling it of the woodwork and someone else knocking in the second ball.
In short, Paulinho is unbelievable value for the early stages of the game. He’s a complete midfielder, who adds defensively and offensively, and should be more than capable of sticking around with the power curve at least for the first weekend league or two – if not further depending how quickly it ramps up this year. His links are a little limited in the CSL, but there’s a good triangle there right now and of course Brazil is highly doable once you move on from them.
- Felt faster than expected
- Tremendous defensively
- Good goal threat from midfield
- Incredible stamina for this early in the game
- Great option at corners thanks to jumping/heading/strength
- CSL limits you, particularly long term, as far as links go