97 TOTY N'Golo Kanté FIFA 19 Player Review

Our second FUT 19 TOTY review, will be on the newly released 97-rated N'Golo Kante. A bit like Mbappe (though obviously older and over a longer road), Kante has seen a meteoric rise over the past few years, moving from complete unknown to major club titan, and now a World Cup Winner. His unmatched work rate and infectious smile have propelled him to global stardom, and with that comes his second TOTY item.

In-Game Stats

No one should be surprised any more, given yesterday's items, but these TOTY cards have been given some insane stats.

Even without any chemistry boosts, Kante boasts an 87+ rating in every outfield position on the pitch.

Seeing those stats, I was unsure which stats I wanted to boost. So I went with the basic, since it gives him some really important boosts (+5 Sprint Speed, Jumping, Strength, Dribbling and Ball Control, +4 Positioning, Shot Power and Agility).

Stats

I decided to try Kante in a couple of different positions and formations. He played as the CDM in the 41212(2) and 4231(2), and the RCM in the 433(4), which is slowly becoming my favorite formation.

Here are my stats with Kante -- unfortunately due to time constraints (I have a major research deadline coming up) I have slightly fewer games with him than I did with TOTY Mbappe.

Games: 9

Goals: 5

Assists: 4

Clean Sheets: 7

Just as with Mbappe, all games are in Division 2.

Let's take a look at his pros and cons!

Pros

  • Pace: Fantastic. Everything you could want from a midfielder. He actually feels faster than his stats say, just because of the incredible agility. No one is going to outrun him, and even from a bad position, he'll recover to win the ball back.

  • Interceptions: Reads the game perfectly. Kante intercepts more passes than any player I've used or seen this year -- if the pass is even slightly wayward, Kante is on it. And even if it isn't, and it isn't a perfect driven pass, there is a good chance of Kante reading and stealing it.

  • Tackling: Wonderful. For someone who is only 5'6, he's got an incredible ability to stick a foot in there and come out with the ball. Sometimes, I wonder if his leg actually stretches to wrap around the opponent to steal the ball -- that's how good he is. If you come within a couple of yards of him, he's going to reach you, tackle you, and come away with the ball. Simply sensational.

  • Strength and Aggression: So aggressive in the tackle, and so strong on the ball. He's going to win the vast majority of 50-50 challenges thanks to that 99 Aggression, and he's almost impossible to shake off once he latches onto your opponent. He's also very powerful on the ball -- once he picks it up and starts running, he's virtually impossible to dispossess. Fantastic.

  • Dribbling: Feels great on the ball. Perfect agility, balance and reactions, along with 96+ Dribbling, Ball Control and Composure (even with the Basic chem style) means that he's a dream to dribble with. He stops and turns in an instant, his first touch is immaculate, and just like Mbappe, the ball is stuck to his feet as he dribbles. The agility and balance mean that he can jockey and track players all game long, and no one is going to wrong-foot him. His fantastic reactions allow him to be the first to react to loose ball situations, and in the rare case of him being dispossessed, he's back on the ball instantly.

  • Passing: On his right foot, he's a wizard. Perfect vision, short and long passing mean that he can ping any pass in the game with confidence. From the CDM role, his through balls and long passes forward are deadly, and he played a defense splitting pass on numerous occassions for me.

  • Attacking Positioning: Not something you'll encounter if you use him at CDM, but from the CM position, he makes wonderful darting runs behind the opposition's defensive lines, getting him into great shooting or passing positions.

  • Shooting: Not something Kante is known for (or rather, was known for -- did y'all see him against Spurs? N'Golo was pinging them for 30 yards without breaking a sweat!), but this item is so boosted that his shooting has become fantastic. Incredible shot power, combined with very decent finishing, means that he can hammer them home from close range. He's also got a decent long shot on him -- I didn't score any, but he did hit the woodwork three times in the nine games. And, just like every player this year, his timed finesse shots are deadly. In fact, his shooting is so good that I felt bad leaving him at CDM -- he was wreaking havoc from the CM slot.

  • Presence: His last pro is really what you buy Kante for. He's everywhere on the field. One moment, he's almost scoring a goal for you, and the next, he's 70 yards back, stopping your opponent from taking a timed finesse shot.

Of the stats above, perhaps the most impressive is the 7 clean sheets he helped me keep in nine games. As y'all know, the timed finesse is the most effective, and most common, way to score goals this year. With Kante in my side, my opponent couldn't find the space needed to unleash these shots. He was that quick when it came to closing down threats.

I played a team where my opponent was running a front four of Neymar, Messi, POTM Hazard and FUTmas KDB, but none of those four players could find the yard of space needed to shoot. Every time they powered up the strike, N'Golo Kante's smiling face was bearing down on them, and before they knew it, he had either blocked the shot or just coolly tackled them and come away with the ball. His ability to complete shut down an opponent is a thing of beauty.

Cons

  • Weak Foot: When you pay 3.5+ million for a CDM/CM, you need their passing to be fantastic. And on his right foot, it is. But the moment you shift the ball over to his left, it begins to falter. His short passing remains immaculate, but he's not going to be too great at playing the ball any further than 15-20 yards on his left. That means that if you recover the ball with him, and you're on his left foot, you'll be restricted to simple passes, or you'll have to switch to the right before playing it long. The weak foot is also problematic if you use him as a CM, and he wanders forward - he's going to struggle to finish anything on that left peg.

  • Height: I know that a player like Kante should be deployed in positions where height isn't too important, and that his other defensive contributions more than make up for it, but I still think it is a weakness that must be addressed. Against a tall player, or a moderately tall player with decent jumping, Kante is not going to win the ball in the air. That means that if he's deployed as a CM or a lone CDM, he's not going to be winning goal kicks and kick starting attacks. As one of two CDMs (like the 4231), it's not as much of an issue (as there is someone else to cover for him), but it still bugs me from time to time. He's definitely got a jump on him, and against shorter players or opponents who don't jump, you'll be fine, but don't expect him to be winning those long balls.

  • Skill Moves: Really not an issue as a CDM, or even for many people at CM, but I really like my CMs to have the three-star (or more) skill moves. His 2-star skills means that staples like the heel flick or the roulette are no longer options.

Summary

As the second CDM in a defensive duo, Kante is unmatched. He's everywhere on the field, he reads the game perfectly, and he'll stop any attack. Even as a CM, he's a truly elite player -- he has more than enough passing, dribbling and shooting to dominate in a more offensive position. Kante is a game changer -- he's going to make you play better, and you will win more games with him.

But is he worth it? Maybe. Kante is a very unique item -- there really isn't another item like him in the whole game (barring TOTY Modric, who goes for 4.5+ million). I felt a very noticeable improvement in my gameplay when I used him -- he stopped me from conceding a lot of goals, and definitely helped me win what would have otherwise been very tight games. So for that reason, I'd say he is worth it, especially if his price stays down below 3 million this weekend.

The question comes down to this: given the current makeup of this game, is it better to invest in elite attackers or in elite defenders? Personally, I'd rather spend money on an marquee attacker (gotta score as close to 100% of those timed finesse shots as possible), but that's entirely up to you. If you feel like you are lacking in the attack, skip Kante and get Mbappe. If you are free-scoring but unable to stop your opponents from doing the same, Kante is the man for you. With the strength of assisted defending this year, you can basically just let Kante run around on his own, and he'll put in some serious work.

Rating:

Overall Rating: 9.75/10 - A wonderful defensive and central midfielder (potentially the best in the world), with just a few minor issues.

Value for Coins: 8.5/10 - 3.5 million is a lot to spend on a midfielder, but if you do sink the coins into Kante, he won't let you down.

Over the coming week, I'll be trying to review as many of the TOTY players as possible. If you have any questions/thoughts/feedback, or suggestions for who I should review next (both during TOTY and after this promo ends), tweet me at @Wookiechew23, or drop a comment below!

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