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17 Nov 2020

FIFA 21: Msdossary reveals the best formations to use in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team

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4-1-2-1-2 (Narrow)

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4-2-3-1 (Narrow)

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4-4-2 (Defend)

Want to improve your FIFA 21 game? Fancy yourself turning pro? Well, now’s your chance.

We’ve teamed up with Tundra Esports and star player Msdossary - regarded by many as the finest FIFA player on the planet. 

Here, Msdossary reveals what he believes to be the best formations in FIFA Ultimate Team. Let’s kick off.


The basics, but you need to get them right!

What formation you employ should reflect on the style of play that suits you.

4-1-2-1-2 (Narrow)

Strikers (ST) need to be set to ‘stay forward’ and ‘get in behind’ in the tactics. They will also be joined by the attacking midfielder (CAM) who should be told to ‘stay forward’ too.

CAM stay forward
STAY HIGH! Three players will remain upfield ready to counter

The defensive midfielder (CDM) should be told to ‘stay back while attacking’, ‘cover centre’ and ‘cut passing lanes’. This will provide balance to the team as three players will remain forward.

Both right back (RB) and left back (LB) should also ‘stay back while attacking’. Leaving five players in defence at all times will nullify your opponent’s effectiveness on the counterattack.

Msdossary’s Tips

“I think that is the best instructions for this formation. It suits me really well when I play with it and I really enjoy the 4-1-2-1-2.

CDM tactics
GET FAMILIAR! These should be your basic CDM instructions

It is a very attacking one, so I enjoy it. I use stay back on my CDM for the counterattacks because I already have five players attacking.

If I don’t put my CAM to stay forward, he will come back too close when I want him on the counterattack.”

4-2-3-1 (Narrow)

Another formation without wingers, setting the striker to ‘get in behind’ and ‘drift wide’ will help you stretch the defence and create more space for your midfielders. It goes without saying but set the striker to ‘stay forward’ too!

ST drift wide
SPACE INVADER! It is crucial that the striker is able to fill the space across the backline

The three attacking midfielders should remain ‘balanced’, while the two defensive midfielders should be set to ‘stay back while attacking’, ‘cover centre’ and ‘cut passing lanes’.

Like the 4-1-2-1-2, both full backs should ‘stay back while attacking’. This should always leave you with six players defending.

Msdossary’s Tips

“Some players like to put their CAM on ‘stay forward’ but it depends. For me I like to play like this for a more balanced game.”

4-4-2 (Defend)

This variation of the classic 4-4-2 formation leaves you with two defensive midfielders. It is also the first formation on this list that deploys wide players.

Both strikers should be told to ‘stay forward’ and ‘get in behind’. The ‘balanced width’ instruction will also ensure they vary their runs too.

FB stay back while attacking
STAY AT HOME! FIFA 21 is not the game for marauding full backs

A standard setting for the defensive midfielders should be used with the same instructions as the two previous formations. Full back instructions are also the same as above.

The wingers will get through plenty of work. Ensure they are helping out defensively by setting them to ‘come back on defence’.

Winger instructions
ENGINE! The wide players will need to have good stamina

When you have the ball, you want them to ‘get in behind’ and it comes down to preference on runs for crosses into the box, with Msdossary preferring ‘balanced crossing runs’.

Msdossary’s Tips

“You have two strikers and pacey wingers who you can play with.

For this formation you need to have top CDMs. I have (Ruud) Gullit and (Zinedine) Zidane so that makes it easier.”


Msdossary keeps his team on balanced tactics in both attack and defence, although certain periods of the game require alterations.

“For me I like to play balanced. I love to have high depth so for me five is good, four is good. When I have a high depth, I want to press my opponent, that is my game style and that’s what I want.

Balanced defence
LIFE's ABOUT BALANCE! Balanced styles give you the platform to play your way

If your defence is not very effective, you can put ‘drop back’ on 3 depth maybe or four.

If you are losing 2-0 half time and not pressing enough, go with ‘pressure on heavy touch’ or ‘press after possession loss’.

pressure on heavy touch
UNDER PRESSURE! You can force your opponent to turn the ball over

This year pressing is very effective, so I recommend doing it. Also, 70th minute and losing, ‘constant pressure’ is key.”


Whilst Msdossary uses the ‘balanced’ attacking style, he explains why other tactics can be effective.

For quick counter-attacking play, Msdossary opts for the offensive style ‘Long Ball’ over ‘Fast Build Up’.

long ball
PLAY FAST! Fast build up play is effective but the long ball provides balance

“The problem with the fast build up is you can not control the ball. Whenever you have it you need to pass up front. ‘Long Ball’ is more balanced attacking.”

Unsurprisingly, if you want to keep the ball then ‘Possession’ style is your best option. This is effective if you like to play tiki-taka football or just want to see out a game.

possession style
KEEP BALL! Keeping possession can really frustrate your opponent

Whatever you guys feel comfortable with, I recommend going with it.”

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