I see a lot of people asking 'is he usable as a link to Talisca?', and that just undersells this card so much man. Don't get me wrong, the link to Big T is a huge selling point, but this man is more than worthy of a place any Brazil-based squad in his own right. Never mind 'usable', he is an absolute BOSS!
For context, I run him with a catalyst (recommend trying it, his defending is already good), as a LCM in a 4321 or 4312, with balanced offense and an instruction to get in the box. He's in a fairly decent squad alongside the likes of OTW Talisca, RTTK Fekir, Benz, Dembele, & IF Theo Hernandez (in red) and no word of a lie, he's probably my second most important/influential player after Fekir.
Paulinho just has so much about him, that it's impossible for him not to impact every single game. With a chem style, his pace never feels inadequate, his passing is pinpoint to feet, and through balls are only occasionally let down a bit by a lack of curve. Dribbling is very tidy due to his good balance - yes he's not going to slalom past players too often, but he doesn't feel heavy and his strength makes it easy to retain the ball. That strength also combines perfectly with his great base defending which means that, even though he is primarily an attacking resource in my team, he really helps out winning the ball back as well.
Now, I know what you're thinking, he says he's an attacking player, but there's no mention of the shooting, but that's because it deserves it's own paragraph. Paulinho's shooting is absolutely ON POINT! As you'll see, his stats are very well balances across finishing, power and longshots, and that means that - for me at least - he takes any reasonable chance he's presented with, and even some you might not expect. Anything in the box with a decent site of goal is going in, edge of the box with the keeper to beat it's flying top bin, and on top of all that you can really feel the finesse shot trait as well (that's why I play him LCM rather than RCM). It's not super easy to work the space due to his average agility, but opponents often stand off him as they assume he's not a threat from 25yards, only to then see it whip over/around the keeper and into the net :)
Finally, he's also a clutch player, with a real uncanny knack for coming up with a big goal when you need him to a la Ronaldo, Drogba etc. The bullet header that kept my WL qualification hopes alive? Paulinho. The 80th minute drive from the edge of the box in an otherwise 0-0 game that got me better rewards? Paulinho. The INCH-PERFECT 25 YARD CHIP over the keeper after breaking the defensive line to secure promotion in Rivals? You guessed it, Paulinho!
Great all round shooting, defending and physical.
Excellent passing in a straight line.
Well balanced dribbling that allows him to hold the ball well.
4*4* allows him to do all of the above equally well with either foot.
Great stamina and work rates mean he's doing it from the first minute to the last, even with press on possession loss.
If I'm going to nit-pick, then: not going to sprint away from any body, or weave through 4 tackles, and curve could be better if you're trying to bend a through ball around a defender.
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