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The 5 best formations in FIFA 19: our favourite systems explained

FIFA 19's slower style of play means picking the right setup is more important than ever. Bradley Russell dons his tactical hat to select the best systems in the game

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Rock, paper, scissors: which is the best formation in FIFA 19?  As ever, there is no correct answer; every formation has its major strengths and weaknesses. 

Right now, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are tearing up the Premier League with a swashbuckling 4-3-3, but Leicester famously won the title with a good old-fashioned 4-4-2 that would have made Mike Bassett proud. 

But when it comes to FIFA 19's best formations, there are a few things to know – not least the ideal players you need to make them work, and the roles you should give them. Let us explain...

4-5-1 Attack

4-5-1

Wing play is back in a big way for FIFA 19, so why not take advantage by targeting your attacks down the flanks? The 4-5-1 formation might be a little adventurous for some, but with the right set of players you can overwhelm your opponents from the get-go.

Things to consider: While the two wingers won’t be your most advanced midfielders, they'll need pace to burn and, crucially, medium work rate for both attacking and defensive play. This means they won’t be bombing forward with reckless abandon, but also contributing in the defensive third if required. A burly, physical frontman is also a must.

What to avoid: Even a quick glance at this formation shows an obvious weak point: the lone central midfielder. With individual 50-50s imperative to winning midfield battles, you can’t afford to have a fragile player in the engine room, no matter how technically gifted they are. For a real-world example, think of the sterling work Fernandinho does in balancing out Manchester City's midfield.

Player instructions and game plans: If possible, your lone striker should have Attacking Runs set to ‘Target Man’ so that he can make a real nuisance of himself. Elsewhere, your central midfielder should be set to Stay Back While Attacking.

For game plans, the Offensive Style ‘Fast Build-Up’ can pay off in a big way, ensuring your entire team works as one swift, attacking collective. Forward play is the name of the game here – and this approach allows you to lean heavily on that mantra.

5-4-1 Diamond

5-4-1 diamond

Looks confusing? Fret not: the 5-4-1 diamond formation gives you both flexibility and razor-sharp ferocity in the opposition penalty box. This system has the ability to overload even the best defences, although it's worth noting that it tends to work better online than offline.

Things to consider: Again, wing play is key. You'll also need full-backs who are comfortable attacking with the ball at their feet and overlapping the players in front of them. Without that, this formation can become overly negative.

What to avoid: Old-school centre-halves have no place here. Focus on defenders who have a bit about them technically, whether that’s with laser-focused passing ability or decent dribbling technique. If not, the midfield can become isolated, especially if the holder plays more like one of the aforementioned Sunday League brutes.

Player instructions and game plans: There isn’t actually too much that needs tweaking here, such are the obvious strengths of the generic setup (i.e. attack, attack, attack). For some peace of mind, setting each centre-back to Conservative Interceptions means they won’t mindlessly dive in when an opportunity presents itself.

Conversely, game plans can be altered to within an inch of their life. Weirdly, the Drop Back Defensive Style may be your best bet – just be sure to keep the Width and Depth at a high level, which will allow you to break with lightning speed on unsuspecting teams who have over-committed.

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