The 2020/21 ePremier League is underway, and PS4 semi-finalist Marc "MarcMarleyyy" Marley is the latest FIFA pro to share his knowledge in the FIFA101 series.
Marley is representing Brighton this year and will be looking to go one better after finishing runner-up to Tom Leese in last year’s tournament.
Take a look at Marley’s advice for defending on FUT 21 below, as well as how to get the best from your team.
Improvise, adapt, overcome
Each year FIFA players face new challenges as the gameplay changes slightly, with new elements of the game becoming more/less effective.
This year was no different as Brighton and Scotland FIFA pro Marc Marley explains.
“I struggled a little bit more with defending crosses and stuff that shouldn’t really work,” said Marley.
“The first few games I was playing I wasn’t really expecting the opponent to be doing these kinds of things, but it was working,” he continued.
“I was really in big trouble at one point, and I think last year it was easier to control the game and play at the pace you want to, but this year it is so easy to get done by one through ball or one cross.
Marley recalls a particular match in which it nearly cost him the game and how he overcame his defensive concerns by throwing caution to the wind.
“The one game I nearly got put out, it was a case of I’m just going to throw everybody forward and if I get counterattacked it’s going to happen as I was getting destroyed by it anyway.
“I ended up just going all-out attack and managed to score a few goals at the end to get me through.”
It turns out, attack really is the best form of defence, especially on a free-scoring game like FIFA 21.
Marley is one of the best in the world when it comes to skill moves on FIFA Ultimate Team, and he also has some useful advice for defending against them too.
“The biggest one (skill move) at the moment is the directional nutmeg or the mini bridge,” says Marley.
“If you get it right, it’s impossible to defend. That has been the skill move at the highest level over the past few weeks and especially at the last qualifiers we saw it a lot.”
In terms of defending against the directional nutmeg, Marley believes there is very little you can do other than do the basics well.
“You can’t really do anything against the directional nutmeg if someone gets it right, which is a problem,” says Marley.
“I would just say to try and make sure your player switching is right and you’ll know in different situations sometimes you have to step off or press them high and be aggressive, it's different for everyone you come up against.
“I would just say, get your player switching right and be aggressive.”
Turn on the style
Two other skill moves Marley uses regularly are La Croqueta and the ‘McGeady spin’.
As explained by Cameron Wiley last week, these skill moves can be incredibly tough to deal with when using the ‘cancel’ skill move.
“The other two [skill moves I use] are the La Croqueta cancel, so you cancel the skill move, and the ‘McGeady spin’ cancel, they would be my top three for this year.”
These skill moves are particularly effective around the box and can help you find space for a shot.
Marley explains that he uses these moves “In the box or on the edge of the box, especially La Croqueta cancel can be very good to just wriggle your way through defenders.
“The directional nutmeg if you have a 1v1 with a defender, then you get that off and you’re in behind straight away.”
Fix up look sharp
Every pro we have spoken to during the FIFA101 series has said the same thing, find what works for you.
Marley echoes this sentiment and insists there is no magic formula for success.
The Brighton star favours the 4-4-2 but says “You’ll find the formation that just seems to fit your play style.
“I’ve been using it (4-4-2) since the start and know it inside and out so there is no reason to change formation.”
Lots of FUT players have switched to five at the back in recent weeks, but this is something that Marley doesn’t suit his style.
“I tried it for a few days before the last qualifiers and it’s just not for me.
“I don’t believe in five at the back, but it is really good, and I hate playing against it.
“On weekend league and someone’s got five at the back you know you’re in for a game, but I’ve stuck with 4-4-2 throughout the year.”
I’ve used 4-4-2 from the start and my tactics really haven’t changed too much. The one change I’ve made is putting more players in the box to be a bit more attacking.
If you want Weekend League advice, Marley is the perfect man as he was recently ranked number one in the world on the mode.
“The biggest thing for weekend league is concentration,” says Marley.
“You can practice during the week and try and play against players that are better than you, but for me, it’s just concentration in weekend league.
A lot of the time when I lose a game it’s because I’m not really bothered or I’m trying to interact with my chat on stream.
It’s the person who wants it more or is concentrating more than usually wins, so I would say take plenty of breaks and always be at 100% when going into games.”
Well, there you have it. Keep up your concentration levels for success in FIFA 21 Ultimate Team Weekend League.
ePremier League 2021
Marley is currently competing in the ePremier League and faces Manchester City’s Shellzz in the PS4 semi-finals.
Having beaten Fulham’s Damie 4-3, Marley will be looking to go one better than last year and lift the ePL trophy having lost to Hashtag Tom in the 2020 Grand Final.
Marc Marley was speaking ahead of the ePL Finals. Watch live as eight finalists go head-to-head from 6pm, Friday 26 March on Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport online, twitch.tv/EASPORTSFIFA and all Premier League channels (premierleague.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube).