Potential Winter Refresh Upgrade Squad – Premier League
Winter Refresh, or Ratings Refresh, is a time when players who’ve performed well in the first half of the season receive upgrades to their regular base card ratings & stats. Although the base cards you may have in your club will stay the same, with the newly upgraded cards put into packs in the place of the old version, upgrades for particular players could lead to upgrades to their previously released special cards.
For the purpose of this article, I have selected a squad of 18 Premier League players, consisting of a first XI with 7 more players on the ‘bench’, who’re in contention to receive upgrades during Winter Refresh. This isn’t an exhaustive list of upgrades, as EA tends to upgrade dozens of players for each league, but this is a mixture of the 18 most notable, most interesting, or most deserved, upgrades that could potentially be coming. It’s a squad that’s dominated by Liverpool & Leicester City players but, for a bit of balance, I’ve limited myself to using a maximum of 5 players per club.
These ratings are based on the latest offline database & are not official, they are also not necessarily how I would personally rate the players. If a certain player you’re looking for isn’t here, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean he’s not going to get an upgrade. Ratings & stats are accurate at the time of writing.
GK: Martin Dúbravka, Newcastle – 80 to 81
In what has been a fairly tumultuous campaign for Newcastle United, it’s fair to say Martin Dúbravka personifies that disorder better than most. Whilst he’s made more saves (103) & more saves from inside the box (71) than any other goalkeeper in the league, Dúbravka has also made more errors leading to a goal (3) than any other keeper too.
Despite this disparity, Dúbravka has received 2 informs & has registered 7 clean sheets so far this season, including clean sheets in wins against Spurs, Manchester United & Chelsea & looks set for a +1 upgrade when Winter Refresh begins.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool – 83 to 85
Alexander-Arnold stands head & shoulders above any defender in the Premier League in terms of creativity; he has more assists (10), more key passes (65), & has created more big chances (13) than any other defender in the league, in fact, he beats most midfielders & forwards when it comes to those stats.
Last season, Alexander-Arnold set the record for the most assists by a defender in a single Premier League campaign, providing 12 assists in 29 league appearances but, remarkably, on current form, Alexander-Arnold stands to break that record already as he currently sits on 10 assists with 13 league games left of the season.
CB: Çaglar Söyüncü, Leicester City – 74 to 79
Having only played a handful of games in his first season at the club, Söyüncü has established himself as one of Leicester City’s starting centre backs following Harry Maguire’s £80m move to Manchester United in the summer, & has been one of the standout defenders in the Premier League this season.
As well as his impressive defensive performances, Söyüncü has shown himself to be an excellent ball-playing centre back, with only Virgil van Dijk playing more successful passes (1820) than he has (1461) in the league this season when it comes to defenders.
CB: Fikayo Tomori, Chelsea – 72 to 77
Despite the fears, it certainly seems like Chelsea’s transfer ban has worked out particularly well for their young talents. One player who’s benefited enormously is Fikayo Tomori, with the young centre-back, who was voted Derby’s Player of the Season last year, impressing many with his assured performances at the back this season.
He was rewarded for his work by England boss Gareth Southgate, who called Tomori up for international duty in October, with the defender making his international debut in the Euro 2020 qualifying game against Kosovo in November. Tomori, alongside the likes of Abraham & Mount, is set for a big upgrade during Winter Refresh.
LB: Andy Robertson, Liverpool – 85 to 86
A miraculous mix of an unstoppable force & an immovable object; Andy Robertson personifies what a modern day full-back should be; capable of putting his body on the line to defend his own goal, while also having the dynamism to turn defence into attack to besiege the opposition’s defence.
Robertson has made 30 interceptions, 44 clearances, 41 successful tackles & has 1 goal & 6 assists to his name in the league this season. So not only are Liverpool blessed with the most creative full-back in the league at right-back, over on the other side of the pitch they have yet another incredible full-back in Andy Robertson.
CDM: Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester City – 81 to 84
Signed as a replacement for the effervescent N’Golo Kanté, who left to sign for Chelsea in the 2016 summer transfer window, Wilfred Ndidi has become the fulcrum to a Leicester City side that has impressed many fans & pundits this season.
As things stand, no Premier League midfielder has made more interceptions (56) or made more successful tackles (86) than Ndidi has this season, with his importance to the team is magnified in his absence, with Leicester having a 67% league win ratio with him in the team, but only a 25% win ratio when he’s not in the team.
CAM: James Maddison, Leicester City – 79 to 82
Another one of the many Leicester City players who stand to receive an upgrade during Winter Refresh is James Maddison. The midfielder is a constant source of creativity in the Leicester City side, with only de Bruyne (88), Buendia (68) & Alexander-Arnold (65) playing more key passes than he has (64) in the league this season.
One of Maddison’s greatest assets is his ability in set-piece situations, with exactly half of his 64 key passes coming from corner kicks or freekicks, so we can expect to see sizable upgrades to his Vision & Free Kick Accuracy ratings amongst others.
RW: Adama Traoré, Wolverhampton Wanderers – 74 to 77
An absolute menace for Premier League defenders & FIFA players alike, Adama Traoré has been terrorising defences all season; virtual or not. Despite his high-octane performances, Traoré’s main flaw was his lack of end product; last season in the Premier League, Traoré had 1 goal & 1 assist in 29 appearances for Wolves, this season however, that record has improved substantially to 4 goals & 7 assists in 24 appearances.
You could argue that 77-rated is still too low given his performances this season but, to be fair to EA, some stats can be hard to calculate at times. But, one thing’s for certain, Traoré’s Strength rating, which currently stands at pitiful 81, needs a BIG increase.
LW: Sadio Mané, Liverpool – 88 to 90
Perhaps unfairly left out of the Ballon d’Or top 3 last year, Sadio Mané, alongside Roberto Firmino & Mohamed Salah, is a part one of the most frightening attacks in European football which looks set to lead Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title.
Having won the Premier League POTM award in November after 3 goals & 1 assist in 4 appearances, Mané went on to be crowned the 2019 CAF African Player of the Year in January & currently has 11 goals & 6 assists in 22 appearances in the league for Liverpool this season.
CF: Roberto Firmino, Liverpool – 86 to 88
While Mohamed Salah & Sadio Mané may grab the majority of the goals & the headlines, Roberto Firmino is a crucial & integral part of Liverpool’s fearsome front three, with his unselfishness & trickery in attack praised by fans & teammates alike.
Firmino’s influence was best showcased in their 4-0 win over Southampton at the weekend; although he didn’t score, the Brazilian registered 4 key passes & bagged a hat trick of assists to move him 2nd behind only Alexander-Arnold in terms of assists by Liverpool players this season.
ST: Sergio Agüero, Manchester City – 89 to 90
It’s been a record-breaking season for Sergio Agüero. His hat trick against Aston Villa in December meant that he not only surpassed Thierry Henry’s record for most goals scored by a foreign player (175) in the Premier League, but also broke the record for the most hat tricks by a single player (12) in Premier League history, a record held by Alan Shearer since 1999.
For a player to have such a remarkable & consistent goal-scoring record at the top of European football as Agüero has, for him to have never had a base card that’s at least 90-rated in FIFA history is surprising to me, but that looks set to change with this year’s Winter Refresh.
Dean Henderson, Sheffield United – 75 to 77
Ricardo Pereira, Leicester City – 82 to 84
Jack Grealish, Aston Villa – 77 to 79
Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City – 84 to 85
Tammy Abraham, Chelsea – 76 to 78
Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers – 80 to 82
Jamie Vardy, Leicester City – 82 to 85