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META FIFA formations to control the game: 3-5-2

Written by Stakester
28 Oct, 2021

If you’re losing control of a game, put on the squeeze with this high pressure, attacking formation. If you tweak it to your play style, 3-5-2 is one of the most meta formations in FIFA this year.

Ever had that feeling where you just can’t grab control of the game and you know it’s only a matter of time before your opponent scores? If you’re under pressure like that, then this 3-5-2 formation could be the answer for you.

The big advantage of 3-5-2 is the sheer number of players you can attack with. Your RM and LM will outflank those narrow, park-the-bus defences and give you loads of options as you break forward. You can then get the ball into the box; whether you cross it, use the driven pass or lob it into the middle.

You might be worried that you’ll get exposed on the counter attack, but if you set up your custom tactics correctly you can operate in a 5-3-2 as soon as you lose the ball. You can get so many bodies back that it’s very tough to break you down and you’ll be able to keep clean sheets.

Control the space

Set your defensive style to balanced to avoid your defenders shooting out of the line and creating unnecessary gaps. Set the defensive width to 40 to ensure there aren’t any huge spaces between your central defenders or either side of the back three. Remember, your LM and RM are going to be your full backs and you can rely on them.

Going forward, set the build up play to long ball so you have players making runs in behind. For chance creation, we recommend starting on balanced, but you can use direct passing if you’re good at triggering runs with the L1/LT. Just remember to look after the ball and keep it simple when you attack with so many players flooding forward.

50-55 works well for width (try it out and see what you like best), keep players in the box on 3 and make sure you set corners and free kicks to the lowest setting to avoid those quick counter attacks. 

Player Instructions

The first thing you need to do is find out which of your STs has the best stamina. Then set them to come back on defence and stay central. When you lose the ball, they’ll drop into midfield and become your LCM/RCM. Your other CMs will shift across to accommodate him, leaving you with a three-man midfield. 

Set your other ST to Stay Central and Stay Forward so he can lead the line – and then set your CAM up to support him in attack. Get into the box for cross means he’ll be there to support attacks when you get your LM and RM in behind. Stay forward means you’ll always have an extra man to hit when you go forward.

Play down the wings

Your LM and your RM are crucial to this formation: They need to be able to get up and down, providing overlaps in attack and extra bodies in defence. That’s why you set them to come back on defence; but after that you have some decisions to make.

We recommend balanced width as you can activate the “hug the sidelines” instruction manually in-game by pressing up and then right on the d-pad. We also recommend balanced crossing runs, but you can set them to get into the box for cross. The upside is that they’ll run onto anything that’s overhit, but the downside is that they can go too early, or get caught too high up the field. You have been warned!

Protip: use conservative interceptions to manage the stamina of these wide players – it stops them sprinting out of the line to try and win the ball and you’d be surprised how much that adds up to at the end of a game.

Double defensive midfielders

Keep it simple for your central midfielders: stay back while attacking, cut passing lanes and cover centre. You’ll have plenty of players breaking forward so you need these guys to cover the space – otherwise the opposing team will find pockets of space all over the pitch. 

If you become really comfortable with the formation, you can set one of them to balanced and see how you get on, but you’re going to be taking a big risk when you come up against good players in FUT Champions or Division Rivals. 

Clever CBs

This is a good, surprising tip for your CBs. Set attacking support to overlap for your left sided and right sided players, but keep the middle defender on stay back while attacking. Overlap won’t make any of your players run forward, but it will make them push wide with an L1 pass so they can play one-twos with your CMs.

Grab control of the game

You’ll find a lot of opposition players panicking when you flood forward and they’ll give the ball away trying to play out. This allows you to really pile on the pressure and kill the game off in a short period of time. It’s a feature of FIFA 22 that you can score 2 or 3 quick goals in succession before the pace of the game seems to reset, and this formation is a great way to capitalise.

But, as with any new formation, be prepared to practise with it and get a feel for how your players respond before you write it off. Once you’re comfortable with it, you’ll be wearing teams down in Weekend League like Antonio Conte when he brought the back 3 to Chelsea. You’ll have to settle for packs rather than a Premier League title, though.

Try this formation and tactics out on Stakester, where you can win money and prizes playing Online Seasons. Test your skills today!

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