How to Destroy Attacks in FIFA 21: Fullbacks in the Middle

An in game slide tackle in FIFA 21

Whatever your style of play on this year’s instalment, using a team geared towards the meta will improve your results. It should come as no surprise that this applies to defending in FIFA 21 too; that’s why you might’ve seen some interesting centre back pairings of fullbacks.

Time for the deep dive, we’re going to:

  • Explain why this tactic is effective.
  • Show you how to implement the tactic within your team.
  • Suggest a few players you may want to use to shore up your FIFA 21 defence.

Why do FIFA 21 fullbacks work in the middle?

Every year FIFA has a slightly tweaked meta; some games may be geared towards pace whereas others will focus on a more tactful approach to football. For example, way back in FIFA 19 some players were playing centre halves in the fullback positions as it was much more important to have excellent defensive stats across the back line.

In FIFA 21 the meta has changed, no longer is it important to have defensive geniuses in your defence; you’ll do more than fine with defenders who have average looking defensive stats. What is important, however, is pace and agility. It is the year of through balls and without a defence that can deal with quick attackers you will find yourself in trouble in every game mode, from kick off to Ultimate Team.

Fullbacks are ideal for the CB role that requires pace and agility. They have decent enough defending to handle themselves in most defensive situations, and in any case, a fullback’s lower defending stats will result in fewer goals than a centre back’s lack of pace.

How to implement the tactic

To understand how you can use this position change properly, you need an idea of what stats are must-have for this to work.

This year, there are a number of defensive attributes that aren’t vital to success:

  • The jumping stat isn’t all that important thanks to the ineffectiveness of crossing. Similarly, you can lose a couple of inches of height (as long as you don’t have a full defence of Kantes).
  • The importance of strength has also seen a decline in FIFA 21 as we see more and more weak attackers being able to body defenders.
  • Defensive awareness isn’t as important if your CBs are quick enough to react with their pace.

On the flip side, these are the stats which are much more important:

  • Sprint speed and acceleration – this one is self explanatory, you need to be able to deal with the pace that the attackers bring.
  • Agility and balance – defenders who can recover quickly from changes in direction will be able to stop more opposition chances.
  • Aggression – this keeps defenders hungry for tackles and challenges and ensures a high frequency of defensive actions throughout the game.
  • Bonus: look for players that are also good on the ball/good at passing. This means you will be able to launch counter attacks out of your defence.

Our suggestions

Here are 2 of the top FIFA 21 fullbacks that you can use as centre backs:

An image of Reece James' future stars UT card.
An image of Reece James' Future Stars stats
An image of Yuri Berchiche's What IF Ultimate Team card
An image of Yuri Berchiche's What IF Ultimate Team card stats

Another notable mention is Kyle Walker’s normal gold card, especially if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the 2 players listed above.

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