As a Southampton fan, the one thing rarer than seeing our team win, is getting a special card on FUT – we don't have an awful lot to cheer about these days. I've come to accept that saints might as well not exist on FUT, as the last "usable" player we had was Van Dijk, and he left us for a better looking club with more money. Our highest rated player this year is Jannik Vestergaard, an 80 rated CB with 38 pace. Last Sunday, that all changed…
On Sunday 16th December, Southampton managed to hold onto a lead (just about) for the first time since September, and put an end to Arsenal's run of 22 games undefeated in all competitions. I couldn't believe that we had won a game, let alone won against Arsenal. This result pulled us out of the relegation zone, and as the post-match euphoria faded away, I came to a realisation – Ings scored a brace, and we won… could it be?
I checked the r/FIFA IF Watch thread. Sure enough, chartguy had put Danny Ings name up in lights – there weren't that many players on the list this week, and so it seemed like we really might have a chance, however, Southampton being Southampton, and EA being EA, I didn't count my chickens too early. Come Monday I checked everyone's TOTW predictions – Danny was in there! Wednesday afternoon came and when when EA announced the TOTW I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to open my Thursday morning rewards to find the inevitable Danny Ings! I figured the best way to honour this momentous day was to take him for a spin in the Weekend League
I normally run a 187 BPL/Ligue 1 hybrid with FB Sturridge up top, the obvious thing to do was to just swap Sturridge out for Ings, however, in light of this momentous occasion, I decided to run a full Southampton squad for this Weekend League. I went for a 4-3-3 and played Ings as the sole striker, stay central, false 9, stay forward.
Teamsheet: McCarthy, Bertrand, Yoshida, Hoedt, Cedric, Lemina, Hojbjerg, Armstrong, Elyounoussi, Ings, Redmond
By no means a terrible starting stat, but low pace and shooting stats meant that I was going straight in with a Hunter on Danny. Although his overall sprint speed only comes up to 90, that 94 acceleration is decent and is certainly mobile enough to get on the end of through balls ahead of some of the quicker PL CBs. I only ran into issues when trying to dribble away from defenders, however, I've had this with any striker I've used this year regardless of their pace.
The boost from the Hunter chem style puts Ings in a really nice place – with most of the stats nestling around the 90 mark, the only let down being longshots at 74, with how broken longshots are this fifa this has literally zero impact and you can comfortably finesse from the edge of the box all day long. One of the significant upgrades on Sturridge is the 3* weak foot, which although not fantastic meant that I could take on a few shots on the other side, and generally be a bit more unpredictable with my attacking play.
Not overwhelming, but functional. Danny's FK stats are atrocious, his long passing stats are a bit of a mess – don't expect any hollywood balls for him. His short passing is everything you need from a striker. I wouldn't recommend using him in a CF/CAM role as I've seen many people do with Sturridge, but when you compare him to other popular strikers (Josef Martinez, Mauro Icardi, Batshuayi) he's actually got decent short passing stats.
Ings has really balanced dribbling stats, a little bit let down by only having 3* skill moves, and this is another reason that I probably wouldn't use him in a CAM /CF role. It meant I had to learn to roulette and dragback a lot more as I usually berbaspin & lane change a lot. The one thing I would say is that Ings acceleration makes quick, dramatic changes in direction really easy and I found it pretty easy to make space for myself
The only real headline stat when we are talking strikers and defending is Heading Accuracy, at 82 this does the trick and over the course of the weekend league, Danny chipped in with a handful of headers, following advice from r/FIFA I found that driven headers worked really well, and despite the shambolic crossing of Redmond and Elyounoussi I was able to convert fairly regularly. When pumping the ball up to him from goal kicks he would win the ball about 60% of the time, but I didn't really aim for him off of corners as I had a few taller options!
As mentioned in the defending section, Ings won a decent number of headers, at only 5'10 this was largely due to his Jumping stat of 85. Although his other stats look a bit low on paper (Stamina 76, Strength 76) these are exactly the same as Aubameyang's. I had no problems with stamina and didn't have to sub Ings the whole weekend league, I could only see it being a problem if you pay a particularly pressing brand of football.
I normally finish G3 in weekend league, using a 187 meta team with all the usual suspects. Swapping to a 76 rated Southampton side I had hoped that I might get an S1 finish at best. The first few games I got my ass absolutely handed to me, but after adjusting my style of play to accommodate for my teams complete lack of pace, passing, and dribbling ability I started to see some results. It finally clicked in to place when I was 8-10 down and I managed to piece together a run of form which saw me finish on 14-11 (5 games left to play, but what's the point in going for G2?). There were another two games which I could've/should've won, both extra time disconnects (one when Ings was clean through on goal, one when I had just won a penalty)
Ings provided 33 goals in 27 games (and was robbed of another guaranteed 2 due to disconnects!). I was really not expecting a lot from his card and was absolutely overwhelmed by how effective it was, especially when you look at the absolute shitshow of a team around him. A lot of people review a card nestled amongst an 85+ rated team, but I was working with some absolutely shocking players and he still managed to find the net game after game after game. I was really impressed by his movement, using the false 9 position meant that he was usually in a great position to trigger a 1-2 and a lot of my goals came from abusing this mechanic. The other thing I would note is that he would generally get into good positions for through balls as I was breaking and would regularly beat defenders & keeper to the ball. The only frustration would be if these fell on his left side, as the 3* WF felt a little lacking when trying for high power shots at the far post – but in comparison to the 2*WF I'm used to with Welbeck, it was actually pretty useful.
To context this, his goal per game ratio is a record high in my club, above SBC Depay, FB Sturridge & UCL Marega. The easiest comparison to draw is probably IF Mauro Icardi, and this is because their physical and dribbling stats are near identical, the only real differences are that Ings is better at passing, and IF Icardi is better at finishing (easily solved with the hunter chem style). The other difference is about 170k coins.
The biggest result of all is that I actually had fun playing weekend league. Every game was so much more intense… you know that feeling when POTM Aubameyang & Hazard are running at your CBs? Now imagine that your CB pairing is Maya Yoshida and Wesley Hoedt. Get a fresh pair of boxer shorts at the ready.
Every victory against a stacked Icon/POTM team felt like a title-win, every time Danny smashed one past De Gea's smug face it was positively euphoric.
Thanks for reading.
tldr: The players you pick don't seem to make much of a difference to WL results, so you might as well play with players you like and enjoy FIFA. Danny Ings is cheap and can kick loads of goals with a hunter on him.
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