Defending isn’t the most glamorous aspect of football. When we think of the best defenders we don’t think of silky skills and classy goals, we think of grit, determination and physical presence. No surprise then that a lot of us focus more on attacking on Fifa than we do defending and find it tough to defend and keep clean sheets. Keeping opposition goals to a minimum is key to success and even though some of us may prefer the “you score three goals, I’ll score four” mentality, it is still worth learning how to keep opposing goals to a minimum to lower your attacking workload and need to score shedloads of goals.
Best Defensive Formations
The most common formations in modern football are the 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1) and the 4-5-1/4-3-3 combo. Both can be used effectively defensively, but I would not recommend going three at the back if you are looking to keep clean sheets or just to defend better. Five at the back is an option but can leave you restricted at the back, so one of the more balanced formations can certainly work for you.
Set Your Mentality
You can set your mentality during the game to Ultra-Defensive, Defensive, Balanced, Attacking, or Ultra-Attacking. These are pretty self explanatory, but don’t think that you need to go to ultra defensive or even defensive to keep it tight at the back. Balanced is usually okay but if you go to attacking you should expect your full backs to bomb forward and your back line to push up, leaving you exposed to counter attacks or quick players to get in behind.
The Best Form of Defense is Attack
The oldest cliche in sports it may be, but it is true. I’m not saying commit too many players forward, I’m saying that the best way to keep it tight is to ensure you have a lot of the ball and that it spends more time troubling the opposition’s goal than it does your own. Be patient in your attacking and keep possession as much as possible, which will frustrate your opponents.
Sign Good Defenders
You need to have a good solid foundation to keep clean sheets, and you can do so by having the best defenders available to you. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get decent defenders, and can pick up some young players who will go on to be greats. Defenders that are slow and weak are doomed from day one, look for strong, fast players with ability to header and tackle. You should have at least one speedy defender if you’re going to push up a lot so he can nip counter attacks in the bud.
Protect your Back Line
The players both in front of and behind your back line are important too. Personally I like a diamond formation, offering a Defensive Midfielder to anchor the midfield and protect your centre backs. Don’t forget that you should also get the right man between the sticks, a good Goalkeeper will help your defensive confidence and bail you out of some tricky situations.
This is the area I have struggled with in the past. I’m an impatient so and so and have been known to rush out with my defenders and leave gaps in the defense. Try and do your closing down with midfielders tracking back and don’t rush out with your defender, also don’t slide tackle when a standing tackle or jockeying would do, there’s no need to commit when you don’t have to.
Any more Fifa 13 Defending Tips? Share them with us in the comments below.