The group stages of the World Cup have brought numerous new and exciting players to the FUT Markets in recent weeks and TOTMD2 was no different. TOTMD2 brought in a new crop of talent for FUT Managers to harvest, and right away my attention was drawn to the right side of the pitch; Xherdan Shaqiri: the Swiss Locomotive.
With a squad focused primarily around the EPL I was intrigued with the idea of a stronger version of Mo Salah on my right flank. Shaqiri’s stats suggest that he would bring a lot of the key qualities that I value in Salah, along with a 4 STAR WEAK FOOT, and a character architype that I was hoping would translate into added strength on the ball. Immediately, I realized that there were three distinct categories to divide Shaqiri’s stats, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Shaqiri would flank the following squad:
Shaqiri is a magician on his preferred left foot. If you are afforded the opportunity to open up for a curler outside of the box, it is more surprising when the ball does not find the top corner. The addition of the HUNTER chemistry style also adds a nice boost to the finishing of an otherwise well stocked shooting category. The video below has a small sample set of some of the goals Shaqiri scores and many look like carbon copies of each other. After hitting one or two curlers early on the opposition begins to overplay Shaqiri’s left and opens the door for his right foot to cause a threat as well.
There is not a lot to mention about Shaqiri’s passing and I think that this is a good thing. At this point in the game you expect any worthwhile players to be able to play the ball where you want, when you want. None of Shaqiri’s individual passes stand out to me, however he was in my default short corner position and the ability to cross the ball, with precision, on both feet, was a huge added bonus. When it comes to passing in general Shaqiri hits his mark more often than not and his crossing is spot on.
I put this rating in the good category because when it comes down to straight up dribbling Shaqiri has the ball on a string. The ball is like a yo-yo and just when opponents think they should lunge, Shaqiri is able to suck the ball back and make defenders look foolish if they go fishing for tackles. My one issue will Shaqiri’s dribbling more to do with his pace and more specifically his lack of acceleration. Many times I would easily manoeuver around my opponent, only to have them tackle me two seconds later as I pulled away at a snail’s pace. But I will reiterate that this is not a dribbling issue per say and I was quite happy with the responsiveness of Shaqiri’s turns and pivots on the ball.
At a dead sprint Shaqiri is quite fast. There were a few times throughout the weekend that I was sure a defender was about to catch me and break up attacks at any moment, then Shaqiri would have just a little extra to pull away and find the right pass or hammer a shot towards goal. The major issue with Shaqiri’s pace is that he accelerates like a train. The wheels are trying to turn over, but it just takes a while to get going, and even longer to hit top speed. I can only assume that this is a drawback of Shaqiri’s body architype and his wider frame affects his acceleration in some way. With HUNTER applied Shaqiri is at a full 99 ACCELERATION, but it does not translate to in game speed.
Again, he is an attacker so what do you expect. But he really cannot defend at all.
5’6 – 72 JUMPING, 85 STAMINA, 71 STRENGTH, 73 AGGRESSION it is all quite terrible reading. As previously mentioned I was hoping that the frame of Shaqiri (who looks massive in-game) would somehow translate into some hidden strength; I can report that this is definitely not the case. In fact it almost felt the opposite. As previously stated Shaqiri can dribble quite well, but the pace of the top end defenders just means that they are right back on top of you nipping the ball away and leaving the Swiss Locomotive trying to gain momentum to catch up. Additionally, Shaqiri’s lack of stamina makes him a candidate for substitution early into the second half as he begins to drop off in quality. One bonus that I will comment on is that Shaqiri’s 38 HEADING ACCURACY does not seem “accurate at all” and I was able to score the few headers that fell Shaqiri’s way. I realize that heading is a defensive trait, but based on Shaqiri’s 5’6 height and poor jumping it might read that he is terrible in the air. This is not at all the case, if he is alone in front of goal he will still find the back of the net.
FINAL SCORE 4.25/5
Wait? What? How? If you add up the above ratings you do not get quite as generous of a score, in fact you get 3.75/5 so why the increase? It is my belief that sometimes the stats don’t lie and that every so often the answer is staring you right square in the face. This weekend Shaqiri managed 16 goals and 3 assists in 20 games of Weekend League. This includes 3 or 4 rage quits by my opponents that could have led to further opportunities for goals. For a player that costs 100k in a Weekend League that feels more difficult with each passing week, against more and more stacked squads, these stats demonstrate the potential value of TOTMD2 Shaqiri. The past few weeks I may have fallen into a bit of a trap myself within my reviews after being spoilt with Monthly Rewards such as TOTS Neymar and TOTS Goretzka. It stands to reason that if you spend 500k or 1 million coins on a player that they will be amazing. But for 100k, you can still derail your opponents with the Swiss Locomotive: just open up on that left foot and let her fly.
Cheers for reading.