There will be big gameplay changes coming to FIFA 20 when it’s released in the autumn. From defending to passing, and shooting to set-pieces, EA will be making alterations to every aspect of the game. So, whether you want to just beat your mate on the sofa or take on the world’s best players online, you’ll need to adapt.
There are many new challenges you’ll face, and although FIFA 20 will play differently to FIFA 19, there’s no reason why you can’t get ahead of the game by putting greater emphasis on manual defending, playing simple passes and getting in those one-on-one situations that will reward you in the next game. This is what you need to know…
1. Learn how to defend manually
There are many techniques that you can use in FIFA 19 to make defending easier. You can hold down L2 / LT to jockey, hold down R1 / R2 to call a second player over to help press the attacker, and you can even hold down X / A to mirror the attacker’s movements.
However, in FIFA 20, manual defending will be the key to success as the effectiveness of containing tactics is being reduced – players and AI teammates will be positioned at a further distance and will be slower to react to attackers’ directional changes.
That should mean that you’ll need to take control over your defenders and react to your opponent’s movements with your left stick rather than relying on buttons to perform certain actions automatically. You can practise this in FIFA 19 now. So, come off that X / A button and start trying to predict your opponent’s movements, or when facing a player who likes to cut inside and shoot, try to show them out wide.
2. Learn how to tackle
There’s a new system in FIFA 20 called controlled tackling. This will ensure that when a defender cleanly tackles an opponent, they should come away with the ball or kick it to a teammate. It’s essentially rewarding players for making the tackle, so learning how to time a standing tackle or a sliding tackle could be important.
It might be worth getting some practise in now – in FIFA 19, it’s tempting to press the standing tackle button repeatedly, but, you can’t just get near an opponent and expect to win the ball straight away, especially if they’re shielding it. So, you need to wait for the right moment to go in for the ball. Same goes for sliding tackles, only making them when you’re head on or close to the player to give you a far better chance of winning the ball.
3. Learn how to jockey
As already mentioned, in FIFA 19 you can jockey by holding down L2 / L1 to get your opponent to turn and face the attacker, before getting close to them and putting in a tackle.
With manual defending being more rewarding it’s unclear how FIFA 20’s improved jockeying system will work, but we know that it will be more precise and will reward players who take control of their defenders.
4. Work on creating better chances
Manchester City are known for scoring tap-ins. That’s because rather than relying on a moment of magic such as Kompany’s 30-yard screamer against Leicester, they’d rather work opportunities that give them a better chance of scoring a goal.
In FIFA 20, you’ll be rewarded for creating these Decisive Moments as when you’re one-on-one with the keeper you’ll now have a better chance of scoring. More shots will hit the target and keepers will be less likely to make superhuman saves in these situations. Open goal situations will also be addressed, so hopefully you won’t miss the target when you’re right through.
So that’s perhaps another thing that you can work on now. Rather than shooting from distance, improve your passing around the box and slide your strikers and wingers in for simple chances. OK, the keeper might pull off a worldie in FIFA 19, but you’ll be rewarded for it in FIFA 20.
5. Work on your passing game
There are also a couple of new tricks that you will be able to use in FIFA 20, including a dinked pass that takes the ball slightly off the ground and over a defender’s leg, and a driven pass and go that results in a more powerful pass, plus improved movement and positioning.
One thing you could practise in the meantime with FIFA 19 is working opportunities by playing simple passes. Your players' passes will be weaker when attempting tricky first-time balls, kicking when under pressure or knocking it at 180 degrees. That means passes will be more accurate when there aren’t opponents in the way or your player’s body is in a good position to play the ball.
6. Work on your shot accuracy
Shot elevation will be important in the new game as lower powered shots will, like the current driven shots, be more consistent and will give you a better chance of scoring.
The same goes for composed finishing, with the game rewarding players for shooting in authentic ways. So don’t just blast it!
7. Learn how to score with the outside of the foot
Shots with the outside of the foot will be improved, so you'll need to get some players with the outside of the foot trait in your squad when FIFA 20 is released. Forwards with this trait in FIFA 19 include Luís Suárez, Gonzalo Higuaín and Ricardo Quaresma.
8. Don’t be tempted to volley it
It’s so tempting to smash the ball when it sits up nicely, but whether you’re crossing ball or shooting, the accuracy of volleys will be reduced, so it will be worth controlling it and creating a better opportunity.
9. High crosses might not be as effective
The chances of heading the ball in the net when you’re up against a defender look like they’ll be lower. If your attacker is in space at the back post, it may be different, but don’t expect to swing a cross into a packed area and score Shearer-style. When two opposing players are jumping for the ball in mid-air it will make it more difficult for the attacker to score.
Also, given that the AI is being improved so that shorter defenders aren’t marking the six footers, scoring from corners and wide free-kicks might be trickier too.
10. Learn a few skill moves but don’t showboat
Working openings will be important, and sometimes you do need to beat a player rather than passing, but don’t spam the skill moves as chaining more than two skill moves in a row will hugely increase the likelihood of your player losing control of the ball.
11. Controlling the goalkeeper will be more risky
Manual goalkeeping won’t be as effective as EA is making their movements slower to increase the realism. If you do use the right stick to take control of the keeper, you’ll have to commit to a direction, so you’ll be second guessing the attacker. Is it worth it? Given that one-on-one accuracy has been improved, it may still be worth bringing them out in those situations.
12. Set pieces will be more in-depth
Both penalties and free-kicks are getting a much-needed refresh in FIFA 20, with a new targeting system allowing for deeper approaches to taking set-pieces.
We don't yet know how different they'll feel, however, so don't give up on FIFA 19's set-pieces for now. There's no harm in refining your mastery of penalties and free-kicks, and who knows - those skills might be at least partially transferrable in FIFA 20.
13. Work on your dribbling skills
There's going to be a greater emphasis on dribbling in FIFA 20, with a new strafe dribbling mechanic offering more possibilities in attack. It seems the idea is to provide players with additional close control and agility options, allowing them to beat players in 1v1 situations with more clinical accuracy.
Because of this, it's worth honing your dribbling abilities in FIFA 19. To get some practise, try using some of the game's best players - Messi, for example - in dribbling-based skill games.
14. Get used to Timed Finishing
If you haven't yet mastered FIFA 19's Timed Finishing mechanic, now is a good time to do so. While EA have suggested that the feature will be tuned for balance in their upcoming game, it's still going to be a key mechanic for scoring goals.
The best way to learn is by using the FIFA Trainer. Turn it on by heading to the settings menu, and it'll give you a visual indicator as to how accurate your timings are. You'll eventually be able to pull off stunning strikes on a regular basis.
15. Head to the street
FIFA Street is being somewhat reborn in FIFA 20 with a brand-new mode called Volta Football. The feature will allow you to play online and offline across various types of match formats and arenas, complete with plenty of customisation.
The obvious way to practise is to get your hands on an old copy of FIFA Street from 2012. But given its outdated nature, it's also worth trying the street mode from the intro of FIFA 18's The Journey, or simply working on your FIFA 19 close control skills in preparation for this new feature.