Wembley Stadium has played host to some excellent games in the last few years, the Champions League finals between Manchester United in 2011 and between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund two years later instantly spring to mind. However nothing could prepare the fans for what happened on one cold winter night when a FIFA 15 simulation threw together the Slowest XI and the Worst Positioning XI.
As the teams walked out onto this famous ground – with the Worst Positioning team already coming out of the wrong dressing room – the crowd could barely control themselves in anticipation for this clash of the titans. The teams had already been created on FIFA 15 and you can see the original articles here for the Pace XI and here for the Worst Positioning XI. We sat down, ready to watch the events that were about to unfold.
The game got off to a steady start with the two teams sizing each other up and trying to work out how they stacked up against their opponents. Early on Aston Villa’s Charles N’Zogbia was the main threat for the Positioning XI, causing all sorts of chaos with his close control and passing skills. The Slow XI were really struggling to string together any kind of attack with a perplexing preference to ping balls over the top that Peter Crouch and Rickie Lambert, unsurprisingly, couldn’t get on the end of.
After half an hour we had the first clear cut chance when Marc Albrighton sent over a glorious ball into the box but Chris Baird had run too far forward and stretching to reach the ball he could only head over. The next chance fell to Lambert who was played through by Crouch but he took so long to run forward and cut inside onto his left foot that Chris Smalling had recovered and made the tackle.
Ten minutes later we had the break through when Emmanuel Riviere burst through but Mikel Arteta, struggling to keep up, floored the French striker. Luckily Riviere had managed to get his pass off and N’Zogbia wasted no time in firing the ball past Rob Green. Five minutes later N’Zogbia was sent through again and Paul Konchesky lunged in trying to win the ball but he missed the ball and gave away the penalty, joining Arteta in the book. N’Zogbia stepped up and calmly slotted the ball down the middle, fooling Green.
Neither side made a change during the break and that might have been a mistake for the Slowest XI as they quickly fell further behind when Billy Jones waltzed his way through the right side, played the ball off to Riviere who found N’Zogbia with the Villa man slotting home for his hat-trick.
Just minutes after that it was 4-0 when John Obi Mikel, acting as the team’s deep-lying playmaker, threaded a perfect ball through and N’Zogbia’s pace took him clear before he finished well. The Slow XI decided they had to make a change but they weren’t exactly inspiring substitutes with Gareth Barry and Tom Huddlestone replacing Arteta and Frank Lampard. Barry immediately summed up his team’s afternoon, blazing high and wide from a free-kick in a good position.
The Worst Positioning XI brought on Claudio Yacob for Baird and they then made another change, bringing on Saido Berahino for Riviere, aware that their opponents were becoming even slower due to fatigue. The final change for the Slowest XI was Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud who came on for Crouch but the Frenchman was woefully ineffective, hardly getting involved in the game at all. The final sub for their opponents saw N’Zogbia come off to a standing ovation with team-mate Gabriel Agbonlahor coming on in his stead.
The stats at the end of the game tell their own story, with the Slowest XI managing just one shot whilst the Worst Positioning XI had 56% of the possession, completed 90% of their passes and had eight shots. The standout performer for the victors was undeniably N’Zogbia but Mikel also deserves a mention for completing 92% of his passes, winning 14/17 of his dribbles and generally providing a calming influence in front of the defence.