While attacking play is more exciting, defending is every bit as important in Weekend League on FIFA 21 Ultimate Team.
In the third instalment of FIFA101, MsDossary discusses his top tips for defending including tactics, player instructions and your own approach to stopping your opponent.
Before we dive into the tactics and instructions for your defenders, it is more important to understand how to defend effectively on FIFA 21.
Defending manually can be difficult, but it is also what former World Champion MsDossary instructs.
“You have to think like your opponent by reading the pass and where your opponent wants to go,” says MsDossary.
“What would you do in their situation?”
By trying to stay one step ahead of your opponent, you can try and win possession with interceptions and save defending 1v1.
This can leave some defenders left to AI control, but that is not an issue for the former FIFAe World Champion.
MsDossary has said that one change he would like to see in FIFA 22 is “nerfing the AI blocks as it is too overpowered now”.
While this is a pain when you have the ball, it does mean that your AI defenders are likely to stop any shots while you try and hunt the ball down manually.
In last week’s FIFA101, MsDossary shared his favoured formations and tactics for attacking play.
These tactics can be reversed to try and nullify what your opponents are likely to try and do to you.
“Through balls are a very effective way of attacking and getting in 1v1s,” said MsDossary.
We all know pace is the key attacking weapon, so fight fire with fire.
Make sure you have pacey defenders to best deal with the strikers and wingers you are likely to face.
Many players will try to counterattack too, leaving several forward players high up the pitch.
MsDossary says: “I use stay back on my CDM for the [opposition] counterattacks because I already have five players attacking."
Keeping five players back (your back four and defensive midfielder) is a common tactic on FIFA 21 as players attempt to stop leaving large spaces for fast counter-attacking play.
This means instructing all five players to 'stay back while attacking’, but more on that later.
In terms of which defenders to use, there are a plethora of lightning-fast fullbacks to add to your squad.
That said, there are fewer centre backs boasting high Pace stats, so here are the three fastest centre backs to use on Weekend League.
Kyle Walker (OVR 86)
With a ridiculous 93 Pace, Kyle Walker’s in-form card is the fastest centre back currently available on FIFA 21 Ultimate Team.
The City star can be partnered with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez who are both popular options.
Costing 1.2 million coins on PlayStation and around 900,000 on Xbox, Walker is a strong Premier league option.
Lukas Klostermann (OVR 85)
German defender Lukas Klostermann is another rapid centre back, boasting 87 Pace.
This UCL Live card may not be worth an investment just yet as it may be getting cheaper, with RB Leipzig looking to be heading out of the Champions League.
Throw on a Shadow chemistry style and that pace reaches 96. You can add Klostermann’s UCL Live card to your team for around 450,000 coins on both PlayStation and Xbox.
Edmond Tapsoba (OVR 89)
One of the top cards in the recent Future Stars promo event, Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba is another pacey central defensive option.
This is a great card to link to the recent Jerome Boateng Player Moments card, or even next to Lukas Klostermann.
With 85 Pace and 88 Strength, Tapsoba is a great option for 700,000 coins on PlayStation and 600,000 on Xbox.
You’re the boss
Before you play, make sure your players know what you want from them.
One key aspect, as mentioned above, is leaving enough players in defence to deal with the other team counterattacking.
MsDossary has previously shared his favoured formations, and there are always players available to cover defensively.
The common trend for MsDossary is to set your full-backs and defensive midfielders to ‘stay back while attacking’.
“Defensive midfielders should ‘cover centre’ and ‘cut passing lanes’,” says MsDossary.
This will increase their effectiveness at preventing the ball reaching your opponent’s forwards.
MsDossary is also clear that there should be at least five or six players ready to defend at all times.
In your defensive set-up, it is important to match your tactics with your style of play.
Some players will like to use the ‘drop back’ defensive style, but not MsDossary.
“For me, I like to play balanced,” he said, “I love to have high depth so for me five is good, four is good.”
“If your defence is not very effective, you can put ‘drop back’ on 3 depth maybe or four.”
However, if your defenders are dropping too deep, it can be easy for your opponent to retain possession of the ball and build up pressure.
MsDossary says: “When I have a high depth, I want to press my opponent, that is my game style and that’s what I want."
Setting up your pre-set tactics before the game can also have a major impact on the game as you can switch between tactics easily if something is not working.
“If you are losing 2-0 half time and not pressing enough, go with ‘pressure on heavy touch’ or ‘press after possession loss’.
“This year pressing is very effective, so I recommend doing it. Also, 70th minute and losing, ‘constant pressure’ is key,” MsDossary advises.
“Whatever you guys feel comfortable with, I recommend going with it.”
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and practising with your favoured tactics.
The Beast from the Middle East
Nicknamed “The Beast from the Middle East,” Musaed “MsDossary” Al Dossary is a former FIFAe World Champion and currently on the roster for Tundra Esports.
One of the biggest names in FIFA esports, MsDossary has lifted three FUT Champions Cups with his crowning moment coming in 2018 when he won the FIFA eWorld Cup, but he isn't finished.
Still very much at the top of his game, MsDossary eased through the FIFA Global Series West Asia Qualifiers with a 10-0 Grand Final win, and is currently ranked no.1 on PlayStation in the West Asia rankings.