81 IF Donyell Malen FIFA 20 Player Review

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We kick of FIFA 20 by looking at one the players I was most excited to try out this year -- the new IF Donyell Malen. His base card looked like a must-have for starter teams, but after his five-goal haul, he picked up this special items to start the year.

In-Game Stats

For those of you who have played FUT 20, you'll know how important pace and dribbling are this year. And Malen has both of these in spades. In addition to the very respectable four-star weak foot and three-star skills, he has very impressive stats for an 81-rated card, with the highlights including:

  • 95 Acceleration
  • 91 Sprint Speed
  • 86 Agility
  • 85 Dribbling
  • 84 Finishing
  • 81 Stamina
  • 79 Strength

I used the Marksman chemistry style on Malen, to boost his shooting, dribbling and physicality to truly beastly levels.

Squad and Stats

I mostly used this squad during Early Access:

I switched to a 41212(2) in-game, with Malen playing at left striker alongside Bergwijn, and Bruno Fernandes in behind them.

Malen has been incredible for me, and that's reflected in his stats so far (I've also used him in SBs, but these are just his stats from Rivals and placement games):

Games: 10

Goals: 15

Assists: 4

Let's get into the review!


  • Pace: It's 94, and it feels like it in game. If he gets level with a defender, he's unstoppable -- no defender I've seen can keep up with him, and over the course of a few strides, he'll be away.

  • Finishing: I'll talk about his Composure in the next section, but when he is composed, his finishing is immaculate. His strikes are powerful and accurate and unsaveable. His power shots are especially good, even without timing them, so if you get him through on goal, just rifle one at either post and you'll have a great chance of scoring. It's almost like a coin is flipped any time he's in a shooting position -- half the time he plays to his rating and misses the chance (more on that in a bit), but the other half is when he turns into Prime Moments R9 and buries it no matter what. He's also got a decent long-range shot on him, so don't be afraid to pull the trigger from distance.

  • Agility: Fantastic. When you consider his physicality, it's about as good as it gets. He can turn instantly, pull off skills easily, and he's ridiculous hard to stop when he starts weaving through defenders.

  • Ball Control and Dribbling: Great first touch, and good control even when he's going at top speed.

  • Passing: You may not think this is a pro if you just look at his card stats, but in game, his passing is great. He can play through balls pretty consistently, the build up play is decent, and he's also able to swing in a cross or two.

  • Stamina: Really good for a striker. He's not dead at the ends of games, and is still able to sprint behind defenders deep into the 90th minute.

  • Strength: When combined with great Agility, Ball Control and Dribbling, as well as decent Balance, his strength is excellent. He's very strong in game, and you can be sure that he'll hold off most defenders who try to challenge him. His strength is especially good against fullbacks, which works out really well for him, since they are usually the only defenders who can catch up to him.

  • Skill Moves: I love the four-star skills, as it adds a level of unpredictablity to his play.


  • Composure: My biggest issue with this card. Maybe I'm spoiled by the cards I got to use at the end of last year, but Malen's lack of composure in front of goal is a serious problem. He gets a lot of chances by virtue of his pace, dribbling and power, but he scores only a fraction of them. He has a tendency to put finesse shots wide of the far post, power shots in one-on-one situations will either go over the bar or will creep wide of the woodwork, and he can even stumble on tap-ins. As you can see, he's got a lot of goals for me, but if he took all the chances he had, he'd have at least twice as many goals.

  • Positioning: He's never too far out of position, but he's not exactly making defense splitting runs either. To get the most of this card, you need to trigger his runs, or rely on one-twos to get him in behind. He's not really a poacher either, so don't expect him to latch onto rebounds or loose balls in the box (that's why I have Bruno Fernandes).

  • Weak Foot: Three-star isn't the best, and it isn't the worst; it's just alright. He scores a few on his weak foot, but shots on his left tend to be weaker and more wayward. Does the job from close range, but he can scuff one-on-ones. Not a huge con, but something to be aware of.

  • Lack of Aerial Ability: Despite his height, jumping and heading accuracy, he isn't an aerial threat at all. I don't think he's got a header on target for me in all those games (both in Rivals and SBs), so if that's what your game plan is, don't get him.


I think the best way of summarizing Donyell Malen is by saying that he plays more like an 85-86 rated player than an 81. His pace, dribbling and power make him incredibly meta this year, and he's got great stats in most of the places where it counts. However, he's not the finished product by any means, and is probably a special item or two away from being truly game-breaking.

As it stands, he's an amazing option for the start of the game. He's a goal-scoring machine who will torment your opponents all game long, but is also a player who at times will endlessly frustrate you with missed sitters and lazy running. If you play to his strengths, and give him a bunch of chances, he's going to rack up a decent number of goals for you.


Overall Rating: 8/10: A much better than average option for the start of the game, and definitely competes with much higher rated cards. However, he's probably someone that will come out of your team after a month or so.

Value for Coins: 9/10: 20k+ might seem expensive to some at this point of the game, but with the Ultimate and Champions Editions now live, folks' coins will surely be on the rise. He's comparable to far high-rated and more expensive cards, and he's a lot better than the cards cheaper than him, so I think he's excellent value.

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