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The 7 best formations to use in FIFA 19

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Which formation is right for you? You'll improve your chances of success in Career Mode and Ultimate Team with these tactics.
Written by Fraser GilbertPublished on
In FIFA 19, tactics matter more than ever. The new Dynamic Tactics feature allows you to customise game plans to suit different styles of play, while new player instructions and improved balancing result in a more in-depth focus on the beautiful game.
Naturally, the most important thing to consider is your team’s formation – and this time around you've a huge array of options at your disposal. We’ve picked out seven examples that should help you to achieve victory in online and offline competition.

3-5-2

A screenshot of the 3-5-2 formation in FIFA 19
3-5-2 is a defensive tactic
Just like last year, the 3-5-2 is one of the most well-rounded and effective formations in FIFA.
This is very much a defensive tactic, sporting three centre-backs and two central defensive midfielders. This provides outstanding cover in the middle, but you’ll need to counter skilled opposition wingers by using wide midfielders with good defensive work rates.
Given the lack of support out wide, show hesitance when utilising the wings going forward. It’s also important to equip your side with talented players in the CDM and CAM positions, or you’ll struggle to make proper use of this tactic.
Pros:
  • Great defensive formation
  • Depth in central positions
Cons:
  • Susceptible to counter attacks
  • Requires wide midfielders with high work rates

4-1-2-1-2 Narrow

The 4-1-2-1-2 formation in FIFA 19
You need players with high defensive work rates to play 4-1-2-1-2
Both the narrow and wide versions of the 4-1-2-1-2 should remain popular choices in FIFA Ultimate Team this year.
The biggest benefit is in the midfield, with the formation packing four central midfielders complete with attacking and defensive variants. This makes it a great, balanced tactic down the middle, while the wide version can be used to add width if necessary.
An essential component of the narrow tactic lies in the full-back positions. The 4-1-2-1-2 doesn’t utilise any wide midfielders or wingers, so it's crucial to use players with high defensive work rates and excellent stamina to quell opposition attacks.
Pros:
  • Excellent depth in midfield
  • CDM provides defensive cover
Cons:
  • Lack of width in attack
  • Needs talented fullbacks to work

4-2-4

The 4-2-4 formation in FIFA 19
You'll need some great defensive midfielders to play 4-2-4
The 4-2-4 is brand-new to Ultimate Team in FIFA 19, and is already proving to be one of the mode’s most popular choices.
Primarily, this formation is about attacking. Two wingers support a couple of strikers, so be sure to equip those slots with suitably skilled players. Quick passing and clever dribbling are the key to making the most of this tactic.
The obvious downside here is the lack of central midfield support, with just two CMs occupying that space. As a result, it’s crucial to place highly-talented workhorses in these roles, or you’ll soon be shipping goals at an alarming rate.
Pros:
  • Perfect for attack-minded teams
  • Great for highly-skilled FIFA players
Cons:
  • Minimal support in defence
  • Requires two superb midfielders

4-3-2-1

You need great players in the LF and RF positions to play 4-3-2-1
You need great players in the LF and RF positions to play 4-3-2-1
The 4-3-2-1 (otherwise known as the ‘Christmas Tree’) offers very few downsides for players who like to attack in central positions.
You’ll want to equip the LF and RF slots with pacy players to complement a prolific finisher in the striker role. Expect to create plenty of chances when using this formation.
The only thing you’ll need to be wary of is that you’re not afforded much width. Ensure that your full-backs have good work rates where possible, and restrict your attacks to narrow passes and killer through balls to ensure maximum effectiveness going forward.
Pros:
  • Well-balanced formation
  • Dominant in central positions
Cons:
  • Occasionally too narrow
  • Doesn’t suit fans of crossing

4-3-3 Attack

A screenshot of the FIFA 19 formation, 4-3-3
You need a great CAM to play 4-3-3 Attack
Although we opted for the holding variant of the 4-3-3 last year, the attacking version is arguably more effective in FIFA 19.
The difference between the two is that the CDM converts into a central attacking midfielder, which is the most crucial position to focus on here. Be sure to fit it with an effective, talented playmaker, complete with skilled wingers to help stretch opposition defences.
The obvious downside to the 4-3-3 Attack is its forward-thinking design, so your two CMs need to be proficient at cutting out central attacks. Expect heavy involvement from your CBs, too – prioritise pace and physical attributes in these positions.
Pros:
  • Good width in attacking areas
  • CAM offers extra strength upfront
Cons:
  • Susceptible to counter attacks
  • Defensively weak in some areas

4-4-2 Holding

A screenshot of the 4-4-2 formation in FIFA 19
A holding 4-4-2 is a good formation for FIFA newcomers
The traditional 4-4-2 remains a highly-effective tactic in FIFA 19, particularly when utilised in a holding formation.
It’s a good tactic for FIFA newcomers due to its balanced approach, as well as its defensive bias. The most important consideration is your wide midfielders – they'll require pace and skill to act as your main attacking outlet.
At the back, you’re spoilt for choice with two CDMs sitting ahead of four defenders. Physical defensive midfielders with high stamina are important, while upfront, you’ll require versatile strikers to compensate for the lack of central support.
Pros:
  • Good defensive base
  • Suits balanced play styles
Cons:
  • Relies on skilled wide players
  • Strikers lack support

5-4-1 Flat

The FIFA 19 formation: 5-4-1
5-4-1 can be a good counter-attacking formation
The 5-4-1 Flat is another new Ultimate Team formation in FIFA 19, and suits patient players who favour a counter-attacking approach.
It’s certainly not the easiest formation to create chances with due to its overly defensive nature. But, when equipping it as part of your ‘defensive’ or ‘ultra-defensive’ game plan, the 5-4-1 Flat acts as a good way of getting bodies behind the ball.
That’s not to say you can’t get goals with it. Fill your wide midfield spots with ultra-pacy players, and when the opposition pushes for a late goal, use that width in combination with a prolific striker to launch a counter attack.
Pros:
  • Rigid defensive formation
  • Perfect for counter attacks
Cons:
  • Utilises a lone striker
  • Requires plenty of patience
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