We are now one week away from the release of EA Sports newest football game, FIFA 15. I thought it would be fun to look over the squad and see how the ratings look compared to last seasons title. In FIFA 14, Everton was one of my favorite squads to use in Career Mode thanks to their promising youngsters, solid defense and a low budget that provided for a challenge in the transfer window. For the sake of brevity, I won't cover every single player in the squad, but instead highlight a few of the key players.
Romelu Lukaku - Lukaku was originally rated at a 77 overall at the beginning of FIFA 14, but after his spectacular season in which he scored 16 goals for the club, his rating was increased to an 80 overall. In FIFA 15, not much has changed in regards to his rating. Lukaku still remains at an 80 in FIFA 15, but has received upgrades to his shooting, passing and heading. Lukaku is a fun player to use due to his excellent strength and pace, and this should not change in the new title.
Samuel Eto'o - Fans of the FIFA series likely know that in last year's title, Samuel Eto'o was an absolute beast at the striker position. With 91 pace, 86 dribbling and a darn good shot, placing Eto'o in your squad meant that you were consistently blowing by opposing center backs with relative ease. Sadly the FIFA 15 version of the Cameroonian has been toned down quite a bit. Eto'o's pace and dribbling have dropped pretty significantly, meaning he will not be the game changer he once was.
Ross Barkley - Everton may be without Ross Barkley for the next few months, but that doesn't mean that you can't play as him in the meantime. At 77 overall, Barkley was a fun player to use in Career Mode due to his great upside. He also had solid pace, dribbling and despite a low shot rating, he was capable of scoring some absolute screamers. Barkley hasn't received a significant boost this year, only rising one overall point to a 78 and gaining an upgrade to shooting.
Kevin Mirallas - The Belgian winger was a speed demon in FIFA 14 with an 88 rating for pace and could dribble around any defender. In Ultimate Team, Mirallas will remain at an 80 overall despite being ranked at an 83 in other game modes. He is still ridiculously fast with an 88 pace, and received a boost to his shooting rating, but dropped in every other category.
James McCarthy - Players of the FIFA series may find it hard to appreciate a player like James McCarthy. He's a tough, hardworking defensively-minded midfielder who excels and winning the ball and moving play forward. He was a great player in Career Mode since he is still young and can be an anchor for any lower budget team. McCarthy has been upgraded in the new title, rising from a 75 overall to a 79 overall, improving in defense and pace.
Leighton Baines - Coming in at 83 overall, Baines is one of the better left backs in the Premier League. He is a solid free kick taker and can cross the ball with the best of them. He was a solid player for Ultimate Team since he was relatively cheap and solid defensively. Sadly, Baines has dropped one point to an 82 overall, seeing losses in pace and dribbling. However, he has received a boost in the defense category and will still be a good choice at left back.
Seamus Coleman - Coleman in FIFA 15 is an odd case of addition by subtraction. He has risen two overall points, but has bizarrely dropped in pace and passing while slightly improving in shooting, dribbling and defense. He wasn't the best player to use in FIFA 14 unless you got your hands on his Team of the Season card in that case you had an 82 overall at right back. Regardless, he isn't a bad player to slot in at right back, especially since he is still young.
Tim Howard - Finally we come to the goalkeeper. After an amazing World Cup performance that saw him stop a record 16 shots, Tim Howard has received a slight boost to his overall rating. Now at an 82 overall, Howard would be another great addition to any squad, especially those looking to make an American based squad in Ultimate Team. His positioning and diving have increased in FIFA 15 making him a solid goalkeeper for your Premier League or USA squad.