Europe’s domestic leagues are all well underway, but for millions of fans around the world, the season doesn’t truly begin until the latest iteration of EA Sports’ FIFA drops. Of all of the modes available, none hold a candle to the popularity of FIFA’s Ultimate Team mode - FUT for the uninitiated - where players can build their dream team with players from the top clubs and compete against other players from around the globe. At its best, it’s a fun way to play manager and experiment with rosters, lineups, and tactics. At its worst, it’s an addictive gambling-adjacent money-making machine that incentivizes a predatory pay-to-win model. Nevertheless, the next edition is around the corner, which means the hype train is arriving at the station.
As players are gearing up for EA’s 29th FIFA title to be released on October 1st, the lead up has had its usual pre-release rigmarole - new game modes, improved player animations, tweaks to gameplay, etc. But for FUT fans, the most anticipated announcement is always the player ratings, followed immediately by the never-ending arguments over whether or not a player’s EA rating is accurate.
Arsenal’s official FIFA 22 ratings were released this week, and hoo boy, they are bleak.
Arsenal official fifa 22 ratings pic.twitter.com/1nP91RmCS7— Luka™️ (@SuperJackyW10) September 13, 2021
For Arsenal fans who also happen to play FUT, you might want to skip this FIFA - or, at least, hold off on adding any Gunners to your squad. Following Arsenal’s worst domestic campaign in league history last season, ratings for most of last season’s top players have taken a hit. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, who was Arsenal’s top rated player last season with an 87 overall rating, has dropped 2 total points to 85. He still remains Arsenal’s top rated player, which shows just how low Arsenal’s stock has fallen across the footballing community.
Other notable player rating drops:
Bernd Leno - 85 to 84
Thomas Partey - 84 to 83
Martin Odegaard - 83 to 82
Granit Xhaka - 80 to 79
Of the attacking players to make any positive movement, one the largest (and most deserved) is Bukayo Saka, who saw his rating jump from 77 to 80, which, speaking as both a FUT player and Arsenal fan, still feels relatively low, especially considering his performances for England in the Euros. But the largest jump belongs to Emile Smith Rowe, who enjoyed a nine point jump from 69 to 77 after his breakout success in Arsenal’s midfield last season. Joining the attackers who saw improvements is Gabriel Martinelli, who is now rated 75 after a 74 rating last season, bumping him from a Silver-rated player (65-74 overall) to a Gold-rated player (75 and above).
Defenders saw the largest across the board improvement, which makes sense after Arsenal featured the 3rd best defense in the Premier League. Kieran Tierney jumped from 78 to 80, Rob Holding from 75 to 77, Gabriel from 78 to 80, and Pablo Mari (confusingly) from 75 to 76. Despite the bumps, none of them will be anyone’s first choice when building their team.
Most of Arsenal’s new signings enjoyed a nice bump following their move to the Gunners. Aaron Ramsdale went from 75 to 77, Takehiro Tomiyasu from 72 to 76, and Ben White from 75 to 77.
The best news for Arsenal fans is that the Gunners can claim the joint highest rated player on the women’s side, as Vivianne Miedema has earned a well-deserved 92 rating. Tobin Heath, having just joined the Gunners, is also among the top 10 women’s players with a 90 overall rating.
Overall, this Arsenal team has felt the effects of a poor campaign with rating drops for some of their biggest names and no player on the men’s first team breaking the 85 rating threshold. At the end of the day, though, none of these ratings really count for anything more than digital clout. Sure, there is a certain level of pride on the line for players and fans when player ratings are announced, but they are little more than vaguely-applied attributes based on arbitrary measurements and overall popularity. It’s fun to discuss and nitpick them, and while there is definitely a sense that some Arsenal players got the short-end of the rating stick, it’s also something of a barometer of the team’s cache in the global footballing community. That none of Arsenal’s players are rated above 85 means little to the real matches, but it is a painful reminder that the Gunner’s stock has been dropping precipitously for years.