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The 5 best formations in FIFA 18: our favourite systems explained

FIFA 18 best formation

Stuck in a rut, or just getting started? Either way, this in-depth guide from Bradley Russell will have you hailed as a tactical genius in no time. Step aside, Pep

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Football is a complex game. Formations can leave many a manager (and fan, for that matter) scratching their head trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

It’s no different in FIFA 18. It may be tempting to stick to a tried-and-tested formula, yet there are times when nothing is going right and you can’t break out of that barren run.

If that sounds like something you’re suffering through, try giving these five systems a whirl...

5-2-1-2

Five at the back can seem like heresy to those who are more willing to go gung-ho but, honestly, this is as close as you’ll get to a true Conte-esque three-at-the-back formation in FIFA 18. With plenty of chances to overload space on the pitch, and attacking threats coming from all angles, this might just be the ace up your sleeve needed to get the better of your opponent.

Most of your attacking play is going to come through your CAM, so make sure he’s a great dribbler or can lay out those diagonal balls to onrushing full-backs

What to consider: This formation doesn’t work without wing-backs who have high work-rate and stamina attributes, so they’re a must. Elsewhere, most of your attacking play is going to come through your CAM, so make sure he’s a great dribbler or can lay out those diagonal balls to the onrushing full-backs.

Things to avoid: Stay clear of defensive-minded CMs like the plague. Not only will they force your team to play deeper, they’re also likely to be a lot slower so you’ll be overwhelmed in the centre of the park. Two pacey strikers likely won’t work in this formation either, as you’ll be left with a lot of runners and not many bodies directly in front of you.

Specific player instructions: Both wing-backs should have Attacking Runs to ‘Always Overlap’; the centre of the back three’s Interceptions set to ‘Aggressive Interceptions’; CAM to ‘Free Roam’ and ‘Stay Forward’; one striker (if you wish) set to ‘Run in Behind’.

3-4-2-1

Another back three - sorry, they’re just really in vogue right now. It helps that, this one at least, is very effective at overwhelming opposition defences. If 5-2-1-2 is the Tony Pulis of formations (focusing heavily on counter-attacks), then 3-4-2-1 is its swaggering, Guardiola-esque cousin.

Aggressive CBs will be the death of you here, as will CMs who like one marauding run too many

What to consider: It’s possible to completely throw caution to the wind but, ideally, you’ll want more defensive-minded wingers to counter-attack the smogarsboard of swashbuckling attacking talent at your disposal. Also, if you’re playing Ultimate Team, it may be difficult to come across many LF and RFs.

Things to avoid: Aggressive CBs will be the death of you here, as will CMs who like one marauding run too many. Leave the responsibility to that front three – and try not to play too slowly, otherwise you’ll find attacking chances in short supply.

Specific player instructions: One of RF/LF set to ‘Stay Central’ to act as an auxiliary strike partner; all three CBs to have Normal or Conservative Interceptions; one of CMs set to ‘Stay Back While Attacking’; wingers set to ‘Come Back on Defence’ and ‘Stay Wide’.

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