7 critical FIFA 18 tips – direct from the developer EA Canada

The team behind FIFA 18 shares its scouting report on Ultimate Team, The Journey and mastering the new defending model

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Merely glance at social media and you’ll note FIFA 18 doesn’t lack for supposed experts – but no one knows the game better than its own development team. Which is why FourFourTwo got on the hotline to Vancouver-based creators EA Canada for the inside scoop on all this year’s big changes.

Is there a secret to mastering FIFA 18’s new defending mechanic? What’s the best approach to the revised penalty system? And who exactly should you target if lacking Ultimate Team coins? (FFT can also help with that, by the way, via our own comprehensive guide.)

All these questions and more are tackled below by creative director Mat Prior, lead gameplay producer Samuel Rivera and live producer Yahsir Qureshi

1. 15 players you need to target in Ultimate Team

“With every new iteration of Ultimate Team we see an evolution of gameplay which results in a number of players emerging as stars. Outside of the stalwarts like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Robert Lewandowski – who shine every year – we’re seeing reality mimic itself in FUT with players building a reputation both on and off the virtual pitch.

"For more defensive players, Raphael Varane, Jordan Lukaku, David Alaba and Eric Bailly have a great mix of strength and overall defensive stats to put a stop to most attackers.

"In the midfield positions, Leon Goretzka, Ivan Perisic, Christian Eriksen and Radja Nainggolan all have great work rates and shooting prowess, making them a constant danger.

"For more attacking players, Gabriel Jesus, Alejandro Gomez, Sadio Mane and Timo Werner all possess the agility and lightning-quick reactions to score goals and frustrate defenders.” - Yahsir Qureshi

2. If they’re too pricey, there are bargains in FUT too...

“If you have a few thousand coins and are looking to find a bargain there are a number of players who can help you on your way, depending on your play style.

"Looking for a GK? You’d be hard pressed to find better bargains than Asmir Begovic, Joe Hart or Jose Reina. If you are looking for defenders to outmuscle opponents, Ashley Williams, Daniele Rugani and Ryan Bertrand are very strong candidates.

"If you are looking for midfielders who are versatile and provide different options to suit most play styles, Yohan Cabaye, Quincy Promes and Suso fit the bill. If you're looking for bargain attacking players who can outpace defenders, Joshua King, Jose Izquierdo and Luciano Narsingh all present a constant threat to any defence.” - Yahsir Qureshi

3. The new defending model requires patience and timing

“The defender should not sprint towards the dribbler all the time. It’s easy for a dribbler to avoid a defender that has a lot of momentum, as in real life. Contain or manual contain are the best ways to maintain a good defensive position. Once you are in a good position, you have to decide what type of tackle is the best for the situation.

"One of the advantages of the new ‘Hard Tackle’ is that when powering it up, the defender is also going to be looking for a regular tackle. This means if you’re in a good position, and the ball is close while powering up, you will launch a regular tackle before reaching full power. If the ball is further away and you reach full power, you will launch a hard tackle that will take you closer to the ball.

"You may experience a short delay when trying to tackle but missing. To be extra clear, this delay will only happen if you are going to miss the ball. If you are going to successfully contact it, there is no delay. This happens because in order to understand if you are requesting a 'Hard Tackle' we need to detect ‘button up’, instead of ‘button down’.” - Mat Prior

4. Struggling with penalties? Here’s how to master them

“The first advice is to turn on the trainer, by pressing the up button in the D-pad, to visualise how the aiming mechanics work. Once you are comfortable deciding your direction and power, you can try more advanced mechanics – like changing the aiming direction just before the player kicks the ball.

"It is possible to read where the penalty taker is aiming by looking at the direction of his head. However, the better the attribute of the PK taker, the less you can notice the head movement. If you change your shot direction too late though, you may get more error.” - Mat Prior