The inaugural ePremier League kicks off this week, with 40 players from the 20 Premier League clubs battling to be crowned the division’s best on FIFA 19. 20 players on PlayStation 4 and 20 on Xbox One will look to climb through their side of the bracket and face off in the cross-console final, but with this competition all being about the Premier League, these ePL stars are only allowed to select players from the English top flight to their Ultimate Team.
RealSport spoke with the two players for Newcastle United, Jake ‘Planet Toast’ Shaw on Xbox One and James ‘JWG2kk’ Greene, as they took us through their lineups for the ePremier League this week. The professionals at the Gfinity Arena have completely unlocked Ultimate Team accounts, allowing them access to any Premier League player on the game.
Formation & Tactics
“There’s only one formation that the majority of players are going to use in the ePremier League, the 4-2-3-1, either the narrow or wide variation. Having the three attacking midfielders to split the line between the opposition’s defence and midfield and get some quick passes going or go for the back-post cross option,” says Planet Toast.
“With the way the game is this year, you want to have your depth as low as possible without being stupid, so I’ve got mine on three bars. You want to keep that defence nice and compact, just like Rafa Benitez does in real life. My top tip would be to defend before you attack to hit your opponent on the break.”
JWG2kk says: “During the game, I like to keep my tactics the same until around the 60th minute. If I’m losing early I will change things, but it’s around the hour mark I’ll start to tweak things, and that’s when I tend to make my subs as well.
“If I’m comfortable, I’ll keep things the same, but if I’m trailing late on I might change my formation. When it’s really desperate I switch to three at the back, but usually I’ll switch to a narrower formation, like a 4-2-1-2 to open up other options through the middle.”
David De Gea (TOTY 97)
Cost: 880k PS4, 864k Xbox
OVR 91 Base cost: 88k PS4, 79k Xbox
Alternative options: Hugo Lloris (Carniball 91), Petr Cech (SBC 91)
Planet Tost says: “David De Gea is the only option in goal, especially when you consider his Team of the Year card. In the Premier League, no one comes close to the Spanish goalkeeper.”
Stats of 98 GK reflexes, 97 GK diving and 95 GK kicking make the Manchester United man the best goalkeeper on the game, and you will see very few professional gamers opt for anyone different in Ultimate Team.
Kyle Walker (FUT Birthday 88)
Cost: 310k PS4, 317k Xbox
OVR 84 Base cost: 35k PS4, 33k Xbox
Alternative options: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Future Stars 89), DeAndre Yedlin (Carniball 86)
PT: “Kyle Walker will be in for the majority at right back. The England international is tall, he can jump, he’s fast and strong at the back.”
The Manchester City defender’s recent FUT Birthday centre back card, reflecting his 2018 World Cup with England, bolsters his aerial ability, and should help defend the back-post cross that is so dangerous on FIFA 19.
Virgil van Dijk (TOTY 95)
Cost: 1.3m PS4, 1.4m Xbox
OVR 88 Base cost: 237k PS4, 210k Xbox
Alternative options: Davinson Sanchez (UCL RTTF 89), Toby Alderweireld (Carniball 90)
PT: “Virgil van Dijk is the best player in the Premier League this season, and with his 95 Team of the Year card, he’s in the top three on FIFA Ultimate Team.”
The Dutchman is a monster at the back, and his 97 physicality, 95 defending, 87 dribbling, 85 passing and even 84 pace makes him the must-have defender for the ePL.
David Luiz (Flashback 89)
OVR 83 Base cost: 4k PS4, 5k Xbox
Alternative options: Joe Gomez (Future Stars 88), Antonio Rudiger (Carniball 87)
PT: “It’s up for debate whether to use Joe Gomez’s Future Stars card, David Luiz’s flashback card or even Davinson Sanchez’s live Champions League item. For me, Luiz just gets the nod.
The flashback David Luiz card shows the form he produced during his first spell at Chelsea, winning the Champions League title with the club in 2012. The Brazilian crucially gets a massive pace boost from 61 to 84, with his defending at 91 and physicality at 88.
Benjamin Mendy (Carniball 87)
OVR 81 Base cost: 1k PS4, 2k Xbox
Alternative options: Serge Aurier (UCL RTTF 88), Marcos Alonso (UEL SBC 88)
PT: “You have the option of playing a centre back at left back, as combating the back-post header is vital on FIFA 19. I haven’t tried Benjamin Mendy’s new card out yet, but his Carniball item does look to be the option to go for.”
JWG2kk: “In the qualifiers I flipped Serge Aurier over to left back, with the Tottenham defender having 99 jumping. I’m still not certain who to go for, so it does look to be Benjamin Mendy.”
French World Cup winner Mendy has pace on the left flank with 91 sprint speed, and standing at 6’1” he has a chance of winning those header, but with 76 jumping and 71 heading, there is still a risk there.
N’Golo Kante (TOTY 96)
Cost: 2m PS4, 1.8m Xbox
OVR 89 Base cost: 180k PS4, 144k Xbox
Alternative options: Fernandinho (TOTW 88), Mateo Kovacic (Futmas 85)
PT: “One of the two CDM players has to be Team of the Year N’Golo Kante. Everyone in the ePL will be using him.”
The little Frenchman is one of the most versatile players on Ultimate Team, and despite standing at just 5’6” tall, Chelsea man Kante has no Ultimate Team stats lower than his 89 shooting. You can play him almost anywhere on the pitch.
Fabinho (UCL RTTF 88) or Paul Pogba (Headliner 91)
Fabinho Cost: 520k PS4, 519k Xbox
Fabinho OVR 85 Base cost: 13k PS4, 13k Xbox
Pogba Cost: 1.7 million PS4, 1.9 million Xbox
Pogba OVR 88 Base cost: 180k PS4, 157k Xbox
Alternative options: Matteo Guendouzi (Future Stars 87), Moussa Dembele (SBC 87)
PT: “I’ve gone with Fabinho alongside Kante. A lot of people will go for Paul Pogba in here, but because he is 6’3” I play him higher up the pitch. Liverpool’s Fabinho gets the nod for me, over a similar player like Matteo Guendouzi of Arsenal.
An 88 live Champions League card makes a lot of sense, with Fabinho proving defensive protection with an 88 defence rating and 87 physicality. Don’t forget that the Brazilian has filled in at centre back for Liverpool this season and has very strong 98 penalty taking ability.
JWG2kk: “I go for Pogba in defensive midfield, because he can drive from deep with the ball and shoot from range. The Manchester United man has enough defensively, but Kante does most of the work for you in the middle of the park.
The real bonus with Pogba is his technical ability. For a big man he is great with his feet, with 89 dribbling and can strike from range with 87 long shots.
Paul Pogba (Headliner 91) or Marcus Rashford (Headliner 88)
Pogba Cost: 1.7 million PS4, 1.9 million Xbox
Pogba OVR 88 Base cost: 180k PS4, 157k Xbox
Rashford Cost: 710k PS4, 714k Xbox
Rashford OVR 82 Base cost: 3k PS4, 4k Xbox
Alternative options: Raheem Sterling (UCL RTTF 91), Leroy Sane (FUT Birthday 90)
PT: “As I mentioned earlier, Pogba moves up to the right attacking midfield position. He may not play here in real life, but his height makes him deadly for the back-post cross, and his five-star skills allows him to find space to get balls into the area.”
It’s clear that Pogba can play in a range of positions, with the United star holding 91 passing and 90 physicality. Do be wary of his high attacking but low defensive work rate, however.
JWG2kk: “I’ve got Marcus Rashford out on the right-hand side, with his updated card receiving an increase to five-star skills.”
Other than that trickery, England international brings more pace to the line up with 99 sprint speed, and his striker’s instincts will come into play when the ball is delivered into the area.
Kevin De Bruyne (TOTY 97)
Cost: 2m PS4, 1.9m Xbox
OVR 91 Base cost: 139k PS4, 121k Xbox
Alternative options: David Silva (Centurion 93), Christian Eriksen (TOTW 91)
PT: “The Team of the Year Kevin De Bruyne goes in the middle for me. In my opinion he is the best player in the Premier League, and his 97 rated card makes him the highest rated on the game.”
Manchester City star De Bruyne may have had a tricky season with injury, but his 99 passing, 96 shooting and 96 dribbling means he’ll be a necessity for the ePremier League. With 99 crossing in that passing stat, and a five-star weak foot, you could also play him in the wider positions.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (FUT Birthday 91)
Cost: 601k PS4, 580k Xbox
OVR 87 Base cost: 61k PS4, 58k Xbox
Alternative options: Eden Hazard (TOTW 94), Richarlison (OTW 86)
PT: “During the ePL qualifiers, I think I used four different players in the LAM position. More than likely I’m set to go with the new Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang right wing FUT Birthday card.”
Having a striker in wide areas is such a bonus, with the 6’2” Aubameyang a clear asset at the back post. His right-wing positioning reflects his time at Borussia Dortmund, where he played in a front three alongside Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus under Jurgen Klopp.
Heung-min Son (FUT Birthday 88)
Cost: 457k PS4, 417k Xbox
OVR 85 Base cost: 14k PS4, 15k Xbox
Alternative options: Sergio Aguero (UCL RTTF 93), Mohamed Salah (TOTW 90)
PT: “Heung-min Son plays up front, but others could go for Sergio Aguero or Eden Hazard. The Spurs man has a five-star weak foot and electric pace which is vital when running through on goal.”
Especially with his new FUT Birthday card, the South Korean Son is such a threat on Ultimate Team. Try stopping his 90 pace, 90 shooting and 90 dribbling.
PT: “Honourable mentions on the bench will be the likes of Eden Hazard, but I like Richarlison who has a five-star weak foot. He’s good in the air with 92 heading, so expect him to bring an impact as well as the clinical finishing of Aguero.”
JWG2kk: “Off the bench for me it’s got to be Hazard, and also Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool man doesn’t have a reliable weak foot, but if you put him on the flank you can manipulate the ball on to the left. Plus, having him coming in fresh around 70 minutes is tricky to defend against. The only Newcastle man who could make an appearance on the bench would be Salomon Rondon, with an 84 TOTW card and 98 heading, he could make a difference at the death.”
Planet Toast's lineup
Watch Planet Toast and JWG2kk as well as the rest of the division’s best at the first ever ePremier League this Thursday and Friday. The tournament is to be broadcast live on Sky Sports, but you can also stream the ePL on Twitch at twitch.tv/easportsfifa.