Happy Tuesday. For most Arsenal fans, there isn’t anything overly-exciting about today, save for the anticipation for this weekend’s North London Derby. But, for some, today marks the OTHER beginning of the season - the early release of EA Sports’ FIFA 23 video game. The game is officially available to the general public on Friday, September 30th, but today marks the first day that players can access the game if they pre-ordered it.
I fall firmly into the latter group. Despite the relatively repetitive nature of the game (I mean, you can only reinvent the wheel so many times), it is still a force field that I cannot seem to pry myself away from. FIFA Ultimate Team is a brutal time sink, but the enjoyment of building a super squad and grinding out objectives is still alluring.
As an Arsenal fan, this year’s edition feels less ceremonious, largely because the player ratings for Arsenal are laughably low, especially for their more decorated players. My Gooner-colored glasses notwithstanding, Arsenal’s top rated players being Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard with 84 rating is disappointing (the highest rated players this season are Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Lionel Messi, Kevin deBruyne, and Robert Lewandowski at 91, for reference). Several seasons of mediocre play certainly don’t merit a slew of 85+ rated players, but it is rather unfortunate that players like Bukayo Saka or Gabriel Jesus who are proven talents cannot break past an 83.
On the other hand, the thing I am probably most excited about is the inclusion of everyone’s favorite fictional team, the AFC Richmond Greyhounds. Not only will the London club from the hit show Ted Lasso feature in the game, but coach Lasso will also be a part of the game. EA’s decision to wait until last week to announce it was a brilliant bit of marketing, because it absolutely became a decider for many people on the fence about buying this year’s release, myself included.
So, if you are one of the legions of fans who will be logging on today, happy gaming. If not, that’s cool too! If you are playing anything or looking forward to any other release, let us know about it in the comments.