I'm the fella that has regularly been posting regular formation guides that I've used to pretty decent success.
A full list of my guides for the 4222, 442(2) and 352 can be found here:
They're all recently updated, and I still use every formation there as they are all very viable and strong in their own regard.
I typically stray away from the meta, trying to counter it with formations/tactics that exploit those that follow YouTubers/pros blindly. Reason being: most people are predictable. You mostly know what kind of player you're facing, due to the fact that the majority of FIFA players play the exact same way with only small variations from each other; thus making it easy to cater to them and take advantage of our knowledge. But they don't know us; we aren't the same. . . and we capitalise on this. (That sounded a bit creepy.)
Saying that, this does not mean that I cannot/do not play formations regarded as meta. There's a reason these formations are widely used. Probably because the formation is pretty good – surprise, surprise. I used this 41212(2) formation in the WL just gone to elite rank as I packed 95 red Kimmich and wanted to see how he went as an attacking full back and I was having fun, so I saw no need to stop playing it.
41212(2) is a formation that I do enjoy playing. (much more than 4231…. boooooring). It's an aggressive formation which caters to my personal play style. I've always said I like to smother my opponents on attack and defence. This formation allows you to do just that. I don't piss around passing around pointlessly, (especially in this formation). I consider myself a player that takes risks and chances. I attack at speed and am most certainly not a possession player. Yeah, I usually have more possession than my opponents, but that's a by product of my play style. I tend to cause my opponents to panic into conceding possession cheaply and with a high defensive line, that results in me winning possession back and continuing the onslaught.
To the guide. . .
Fast paced and very aggressive
Plenty of passing options in attack and when transitioning out of defence
Smothers your opponent and takes advantage of opponents who defend poorly
Utilises both a CAM and 2x strikers enabling you to play little triangle patterns with your attackers and capitalise on any gaps your opponents leaves.
Fantastic player spacing
Our biggest con can also be our biggest pro. We have no natural width, but that means we overload the middle of the pitch. On defence we can struggle due to no width, true, but on attack, our opponents with wider formations can be overloaded through the middle of the pitch.
Let's get straight to it. As recently mentioned in this guide, the obvious con is lack of width. Though we alleviate this issue with some of my instructions, defensively, we're still never going to be as strong on the wings/out wide as formations that incorporate wide players
Single CDM. You're going to need to be able to manually defend well with this formation if you're going to use it to its full capacity. For reference, check my guide out on manual defending:
You can struggle if you're suffering from lag/input delay. You need to move the ball fast in this formation as your players are all relatively close to each other. It's a dream to play when in good conditions, but can be a bit of a nightmare in poor gameplay.
You're going to have little to no time on the ball, so you need to think fast and plan a few passes ahead where possible.
I'll add a small tip to this section that when coaching other players I noticed a lot: Meet the ball, don't let the ball come to you. What I mean by that, is when passing to your player, move your receiving player towards the ball. Some people play with their analog stick permanently pressed in the direction of their opponents goal. Stop that. You're going to lose possession cheaply and sit there wondering to yourself "How come my opponent is so aggressive and gets the ball off me immediately after I pass it?" This is usually the chief culprit.
Attack, attack, attack. This formation is often regarded as a ping-pong, one-two-through ball formation. I'm not going to bull-shit you here. This formation is exactly that. It's all about quick small passes between your players. We have a ton of players in the middle with so many options. Use them. Also, be unpredictable. Don't just always try to force the ball forward. Sometimes you need to go backwards to go forwards. Play little passing triangles with your players (which this formation has an abundance of). If you're not passing the ball a lot more than your opponents in this formation, you're playing too slow and passively, in my opinion. I've had games where my CAM has had 70+ passes. Your opponents should never, ever, beat you on completed passes. It shouldn't even be close.
Be aggressive. Don't sit back and let your opponents dictate the play. We want them to fear us. We're the chief dictator. We want our opponents to shit themselves whenever we have the ball.
Defensive Style: Press after possession loss (Can also use Heavy touch). Try both, see what you prefer.
When we lose the ball, we want it back ASAP. We're not going to sit back and rely on the AI defenders to clog the middle of the park around our own box until our opponents screw up. We are relentless. We play a high line to facilitate this. Yeah, we can be countered. It happens. But regardless, we want to win the ball high up the pitch so we can continue our attacking onslaught.
Offensive Style: Balanced
Players in the box: 5
Free Kicks: 2
We use balanced here, however, an argument can be made for possession. Personally, I like to be a bit unpredictable; and I find possession preset makes my attacking patterns a bit static. We incorporate our full backs into the attack, (more on that later), so I like them to stay wide rather than pulling in for the short option – which is what happens when you're on possession.
Width is on 6 just to give us a little more spacing between our players. Honestly, I don't notice much difference when moving in small increments, but I started on 6 and feel no need to change.
Players in the box: 5. In initially I had this on 7, but I found that my CM and CDM pushed a little too far forward and I was a bit too susceptible to counter attacks. I prefer my CM to be hanging around the edge of the box rather than inside of it. The more players you have in your opponents box, the more players they have also. AI block too many shots, so try to limit how many of your opponents AI are camped in the box.
Corners and Free kicks are personal preference. I use 3 and 2 as it helps against counter attacks from corners/free kicks.
Strikers: Both of them on get in behind.
- I do not use stay forward in this formation as I find my players get caught offside a little too much when used in conjunction with get in behind. What I suggest is a nice happy medium. I can still find my attackers with through balls, but their runs are from a bit deeper lending me a little more time to spot the pass before they're flagged offside
CAM: Stay Forward, get in the box for crosses
- Don't need/want him on defence. He plays a very key role, and will see by far the most of the ball. Along with your CDM, he will be the most important player on the pitch. I use stay forward to preserve STA and to be an outlet for counter attacks. I use get in the box for crosses as sometimes my strikers will be forced wide (or my full backs will be overlapping), and I want him to be an easy option for a dirty,(I'm not proud), sweat across the face.
CM I do not touch these
- I don't use anything here. I just leave everything on balanced; as I need them to do a bit of everything. Balanced is just that: balanced.
CDM: Stay back while attacking, cover center
- We don't need this guy on attack at all. Hell, we don't even want him in our own half if we had an option. We have a ton of attacking players, this guys job is to just sit back and shield the back 4 the best he can and to break up counters. Very, very key position. As well as your CAM, this guy should be the best player you can afford for that position. Don't skimp on your CDM. He is absolutely vital, and if you half arse here preferring to spend all your coins on attackers, you will definitely feel it. Also, no, Firmino and Griezmann are not CDM's. Stop that shit.
LB/RB: Stay back while attacking, overlap.
I start my full backs on stay back while attacking, but that is definitely not where they stay. From kick off, I immediately use the D-pad option to put them on "Attacking full backs". These guys provide us with our width. You're going to need Full backs with decent STA as they will be up and down like a yo-yo. The reason I don't start them on balanced/join the attack, is because when the game's tight, and I'm looking to close it out, I disable attacking full backs with the D-Pad and they revert back to stay back while attacking. I don't want to have to pause to bring up the menu and manually change the instructions. I'm too lazy for that shit.
I use overlap as I don't want them cutting inside. I want them to hug the sideline to help stretch my opponent out. The width they provide allows me to overload my opponent through the middle and prevent my opponents defenders from marking my attackers out of the game. Typically my CAM is doubled down by two CDM's, (4231, yawn), but with attacking full backs, and the width they provide, I find my opponent drags his CDM around and thus helps prevent my CAM from being isolated against 2.
CB: All default
- Nothing to see here
GENERAL TEAM SETUP
As per every single dual striker guide I've ever made, I recommend one beast (Ibrahimovic, CR7, Jovic, etc,) and a fast and agile ST to compliment. This just allows you different avenues when trying to attack. High attacking work-rates is preferred, with medium/low defensive work rate. We want our strikers up top, not running into midfield helping defend. I can also suggest that if your striker has a high defensive work-rate (Son, Firmino), to turn on "stay forward" for that striker to stop them from drifting too deep.
Super key position. If possible, find a CAM with decent STR and a 5* WF. 4* is a bare minimum. You want 4* skills at a minimum also. Your CAM needs to be a typical CAM. Converted strikers will struggle, unless you can find one with very good passing. High/Medium is preferred, but honestly not critical. Work Rates on your CAM don't matter too much. You want him to just sit outside the box anyway when you're attacking through the middle
Best you can afford. Look for at least one of your CM to be an all rounder (Nainggolan, Goretzka), and the other one can be a little more attacking (FB Firmino, Pogba).
High/High is the dream, but High/Med is more than fine. Both mine are High/Med and do just fine.
Good WF and 4* skills are a huge bonus here, as well as decent long shots. But you can most definitely get away with 3* skillers. 4 is just gravy. Strength and height are also a huge advantage to have. Unfortunately, in this game, the best defensive players aren't necessarily the players with the high defensive stats. PAC, STR and AGR is more than enough; hence why FB Firmino does just fine as a CM.
Your tank. You need this guy to be a fucking unit. Try to shy away from high attacking work rate here. You want him to just sit back and shield the back 4 all game. You don't want him pushing forward trying to help.
Vieira is the absolutely dream, but obviously, most players cannot afford him. Players like Allan are decent on a budget, as well as Kante, (providing your CM's have a bit of height about them).
Best you can afford/link up.
41212(2) is a very fun formation to play. It's fast and aggressive and does well enough vs. everything you will face. By utilising our full backs in attack, we're also putting a plaster over our weaknesses. It's a relatively easy formation to build towards, and you can find cheap options for all positions for players who are on a budget. Due to the nature of the players used, you can also flex between this and 4231 using dynamic tactics, as the player types used for both are somewhat similar.
Also, on a completely unrelated note, if you have the coins go and do SBC Houssem Aouar. He's a fucking god amongst men, and can play CM, CAM, LAM and even CDM (dual CDM formations), at a very high level and his versatility allows you to fit him in any formation seamlessly.
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