Introduction: How do these articles work?
Each week I examine a different team in detail and look at why they’re a good team for FIFA 18’s career mode. The teams are broken down into the following categories:
- Tier 1: Teams in tough divisions that can push on to challenge for silverware
- Tier 2: Teams that will have to fight for survival in a challenging division
- Tier 3: Teams that start in a lower division but can hope to get promoted and work their way up higher leagues
- Tier 4: Teams that start right at the bottom of the pile, with few funds or high potential players
Albacete (tier 4)
Tier 4 sides start at the lowest rung of the football table. They’re great if you want a long-running career mode where you rise through the leagues.
- Scout a new playmaker
Starting transfer budget: £1,342,036
Starting wage budget: £21,440
Default formation: 5-3-2
• Domestic success: Low
• Continental success: Very low
• Brand exposure: Very low
• Financial success: Medium
• Youth development: Low
Key player: Néstor Susaeta
Best young prospect: Álvaro García
Why choose Albacete?
If you want a challenging career mode in FIFA 18 then look no further. Albacete will have a tough time competing with the teams around them, with some of the lowest OVR and potential averages in the division. Their squad needs a major overhaul, but their restrictive budget means you’ll have to juggle several demands at once.
At the same time, you don’t have to be a masochist to enjoy managing them. Their board is very lenient, with the most demanding objective only rated ‘medium’. The budget isn’t amazing, but at the same time it’s not so puny that you can’t buy anyone. And there’s a certain charm to managing a team with the odds stacked so heavily against them – you certainly won’t be bored by an easy career!
Albacete’s key player is Néstor Susaeta. Although his natural position is as a wide midfielder, he’s more effective in the middle. While he’s not very fast, his passing is superb (especially at this level), so he’ll be a key playmaker for Albacete. He’s also an excellent free kick taker, so will contribute plenty of goals over the course of a season. He’s 32 though, so will start declining fast – make sure you find a replacement for him (keep reading for my suggestion).
The highest potential player in the squad is Álvaro García. Think of him as Susaeta’s apprentice – he’s a central midfielder whose passing is his main strength. With his 76 potential he should develop very nicely, so make sure to give him plenty of game time. Within a couple of seasons he should become a worthy successor to Susaeta.
Tactics to use
Albacete doesn’t have a bad first team, although it’s nothing spectacular. Here’s their best lineup:
However, one problem straight away is that the team lacks a high-quality left back (Cifu is actually a right back, but is several OVR points better than the best left back).
Another issue is that lot of these players are either ageing or have reached their potential. We’ll want to develop the more promising players in order to improve the team, and that means rejigging the squad a bit.
So instead of 5-3-2, I suggest changing to a 4-1-2-1-2 narrow formation. This gets your highest potential players onto the pitch, lets you smother stronger teams in the middle of midfield, and leaves space for your full backs to move forward and counter-attack.
Here’s the team’s highest-potential lineup, making use of the 4-1-2-1-2 formation:
And here’s a look at how those players’ potentials stack up:
Bela is actually a winger, while Héctor is a striker. However, your main threat going forward will be through counter-attacks, where Bela’s blistering pace will be very useful, and will combine well with Zozulya’s aerial ability. That gives space for Héctor to sit behind the two main strikers and give another option in attack (or he could be swapped with Susaeta if you want someone to provide incisive through balls).
Key signings required: GK, LB, ST
Albacete need a lot of improvements and there’s no way we can afford them all with their starting budget. But there are a few priorities that we should sort out: in goal, at left back and up front.
Glancing at the list of players above quickly shows that the goalkeeper, Rubén Miño, is the lowest-potential player in the starting lineup. I mentioned above the problem at left back, where there is no high-potential player. Finally, Roman Zozulya is the only good, proper striker in the team – Bela is a converted winger, and Héctor is only loaned in. The other strikers lack potential.
So with all that in mind, let’s see which players we should bring in to improve the team. I’ve tried to keep it realistic, only buying players who are either Spanish or Latin American, and not snapping up insanely high-potential players that would never go to Albacete (not that we could afford them anyway).
But just before you get started, adjust your budget ratio to 84:16. This will give you £2,088,379 in transfer funds, and £7,370 in wages.
Cristian Rivero: potential 78
Club: Valencia CF
The problem with Albacete’s lack of potential is epitomised by their goalkeepers. Rubén Miño and Tomeu Nadal have basically reached their potentials, while the team’s other two goalkeepers – Hugo and Jesús Godino – only have 61 and 62 potential respectively. That doesn’t bode well for the future.
I suggest Cristian Rivero of Valencia CF. His 66 OVR straight away makes him Albacete’s second-best keeper, and his 78 potential means he’ll quickly grow to overtake Rubén Miño. He’s tall and has good diving, although you might want to train his handling a bit. That’ll improve with his potential, though.
He’ll cost £650,000, and his wages are £2,100.
Omar Albornoz: potential 75
Club: Deportes Tolima
Now, let’s fix that problem at left back. David Morillas and Mariano Bíttolo have reached their potentials of 68 and 65, while Ángel only has 65 potential. None of these players are of the kind of quality we’ll need in the future.
Instead, buy Omar Albornoz of Deportes Tolima in Colombia. His 64 OVR is a couple of points below Morillas, but it’s close – play him in your starting lineup and he’ll quickly catch up thanks to his 75 potential. His best stat is his 81 stamina, which is vital for those counter-attacks I was talking about in the tactical section. With a team like Albacete, you need to rely on quick breaks – Albornoz will be good for those.
His price is similar to Rivero’s, setting you back £630,000. His wages are very cheap at £1,100.
Tomás Sandoval: potential 80
While the situation up front isn’t desperate, it’ll need to be improved in the future. That’s because Zozulya has reached his potential, Bela isn’t a natural striker and Héctor is loaned in. The other strikers – Aridane, Alfon and Carlos Javier Acuña – don’t have much potential.
That focus on the future is why I suggest you buy Tomás Sandoval of Colón in Argentina. What I like about him is his flexibility: while he’s primarily a target man like Zozulya, he’s not slow and is good with his feet. Don’t overtrain him and his physical stats will grow well, making him very well-rounded. Plus, he’s got 80 potential – rare for a team of Albacete’s calibre.
He’s a little more expensive than Rivero and Albornoz, but is still affordable (and is worth it considering his potential). He’ll cost £800,000, and his wages are £2,200.
Those transfers will total £2.08m, with £5,400 spent on wages. That leaves £8,379 in your transfer budget. Obviously we’ll need a bit more than that if we want to get anyone else or buy a scout, so we’ll need to sell some players. Let’s see who we can offload.
Now that we’ve brought in a new goalkeeper and have Rubén Miño and Tomeu Nadal, we don’t need Hugo. Sell him for £50,000.
There are plenty of central midfielders in the squad already, so we can offload Dani Rodríguez for about £375,000.
Finally, bringing in Sandoval means we don’t really need Aridane. He can be sold for around £450,000.
Future considerations: scout a new playmaker
Replacing someone like Néstor Susaeta won’t be easy given his excellent stats, but it’s going to be necessary given his age. Álvaro García is a very promising player, but I’ve already suggested working him into the starting lineup. With Susaeta soon retiring, you’ll need another creative midfielder to take his place.
Given Albacete’s limited resources and the reluctance of some players to move to the Spanish second division, your best option is probably to scout a new player. This has the benefit of potentially getting you very high-potential players for very little cost. As well as that, if you find a particularly talented player, he may be almost good enough to be first-team quality. With a little development, he’ll soon be an important player.
Considering we’re trying to find a success to Susaeta, you’ll want to send your scout out to look for playmakers. These players’ main strengths lie in their passing and free kick abilities – just like Susaeta. Send your scout to look in Spain, Portugal and South America if you want to keep things realistic.
That’s it for this week’s article on good teams for career mode. Albacete will have a tough go of things in the Spanish second division, but with a bit of work you can overhaul the team and have a great fun – and challenging – career in FIFA 18.
I’d like to hear if you have any thoughts about the format of the article itself. Did you find it useful? Conversely, do you think it was missing something that you’d have liked me to include?