FIFA 16 Career Mode, Pt. 1: Christmas Morning
The day that FIFA comes out is always a day that can hit two birds with one stone for me, being both an avid gaming fan and passionate football fan.
So naturally, when FIFA is released I am like a child on Christmas morning, I have managed to own every FIFA game since 1998 and will continue to do so probably until arthritis from playing days on end cripples my fingers until they’re rendered useless.
I don’t understand how America got the game before us either, I say that more out of jealousy than anything.
I get FIFA 16 and the first thing I do is load up my customary beginning; my fabled Arsenal career mode.
Arsene Wenger has left Arsenal, too much dwindling in the transfer market has ultimately left Arsenal behind in the title race with their rivals. This led to a fall-out between the players who had lost faith in the Frenchman. The board and fans had also grown tired of not challenging for the Premier League or Champions League nearly as much as a club of Arsenal’s stature should.
Wenger also felt his project to transform Arsenal into a modern club had been complete; hungry and talented squad, modern stadium and buckets of cash to spend, but that wasn’t his style.
I received a call from my agent who informed me that Arsenal wanted to sign me on a three-year deal. I jumped at the chance.
The only bit of business that had been done was the signing of Petr Cech from league rivals Chelsea, fabulous bit of business and just the foundation I needed. A lack of movement besides that meant impatience befell the previous manager’s tenure; I would not let the same thing happen.
First I wanted to test the squad out and see where they were at before I did any activities. I used the annual pre-season invitational tournament as an experiment for the squad. It was all the way over in Asia. The longest I’ve been on a plane was seven hours, we were travelling to Singapore.. 13 hours away. I planned to sleep for 90% of the flight, even though finding a comfy spot in a plane seat is like finding Shergar.
First game I set out to see where the first eleven was, both in terms of ability and fitness. I understand summer can be long and arduous, especially after a Corona or ten. We turned out against Seattle Sounders (second mention of America in this part, quite a theme?) the under-appreciated Mesut Ozil scored my first goal as Arsenal manager, quite a surreal feeling. We went on to win the game 1-0. GET IN THERE; UNBEATEN. FIST PUMPS ALL OVER THE SHOP.
Second game was a bore draw, it turns out the teams fitness wasn’t up to two games in a couple of days. Jack Wilshere was as wasteful as half of his seasons in an Arsenal shirt, gave away the ball far too much for my liking.
I was looking to strengthen the midfield after sweeping out some deadwood. Mathieu Flamini was the first to go in a £2.2million sale. I also wanted to strengthen at centre back where we had less options than the chocolate box after Christmas Day.
Our final group game of the invitational tournament was against Champions League finalists Juventus. Brilliant, a game where we can test ourselves against Europe’s finest… … And it was a test, a test that we failed, a 1-0 loss and a very drab display to say the least. A lot of tweaking needed.
However, we survived our group. We came out in the semi-final against Bayern Munich. Oh, dammit. We’ve been here before. The match was another dreary affair, a 0 - 0 draw which culminated in a penalty victory for us. Wait a minute. England just beat Germany at penalties!? Take that Angela Merkel!
No player has done enough in the squad so far to warrant a place in the first eleven. Santi Cazorla has put in a couple of good performances and, probably, has been the best player for me so far. He missed a penalty in normal time against Bayern and I’m hoping that doesn’t effect his confidence going into the new season.
Oh hey, by the way, here’s random transfer bid of the season. Chelsea want Calum Chambers on loan. Why not? As long as he gets game time and improves, I’ll allow that to happen. The fans are absolutely baffled by my decision, but trust me, there’s always method to my madness.
Final of the pre-season tournament and we were up against our group friends Juventus, hoping to be a bit more successful than our group outing. That lasted all of two minutes however as Mario Mandzukic found the top corner with an absolute screamer from the edge of the box, Plan A had unravelled as quickly as it had begun. We then went 2 - 0 down thanks to Paul Pogba (a future Arsenal player maybe?). Olivier Giroud managed to grab a consolation after he pounced on an Evra/Buffon mix up. We were unlucky not to grab an unlikely equaliser as Reine-Adelaide had an effort saved by the mercurial Buffon, Reine-Adelaide by the way, best of a bad bunch on the day.
I moved quickly after the tournament to sign a natural, potent goalscorer which the fans had craved. Alvaro Morata from Juventus became available at a snip of what his potential could be. I spent £21million on a striker who could become worth £60million and be the best striker in the world one day. Bargain. He was fresh of the back of a superb season with Juventus and could make an immediate impact in both the team and the league. My legacy has begun.
Shortly after that, I added workhorse Sven Bender to the squad for a snip at £14million, the bite in midfield that we needed to compliment the technical ability and provide rotation with Francis Coquelin.
We will leave it there, tune in next time for the traditional season opener; the Community Shield.