Best FIFA 23 formations guide to the four best tactical set-ups

Struggling on the pitch? These FIFA 23 formations will help raise your game

Best FIFA 23 formations guide to the four best tactical set-ups

(Image credit: EA)

Getting your head around the best FIFA 23 formations is absolutely crucial this year. EA’s swan song to the iconic football franchise is a more patient affair, one that demands you dictating the space from the opening whistle – unless you want to find yourself on the wrong end of a nasty hiding. Tried-and-tested formations are out the window in FIFA 23. We’ve put the hours into Ultimate Team, Career Mode, and Seasons to bring to you the best FIFA 23 formations: how to use them, their strengths, weaknesses, and that last crucial 1% you should be looking at to squeeze the very best out of your team – no matter their abilities.

Best FIFA 23 formations: 5-2-1-2

Best FIFA 23 formations guide to the four best tactical set-ups

(Image credit: EA)

Best for: Counter attacking players

Going forward: This formation carried me to a 70% win rate last year and, unlike some old FIFA favourites, is still worthwhile this year.

The secret to this tactic is all in the marauding wing backs. FIFA 23 so far has been a war of attrition in the centre of midfield and the dribbling nerf means it’s much harder to escape your marker than in previous years. 5-2-1-2, however, gives you an out ball nine times out of 10, with the wing backs in the system almost always being available to continue your attack.

Keeping it tight at the back: While this isn’t a complete gung-ho formation, you should be proactive in your defending by operating on the front foot. The team instruction ‘Pressure on Heavy Touch’ is a godsend this year, allowing you to suffocate any ponderous build-up play from the opposition. If you want to keep things a little conservative, set your full backs to only join the attack at your command by having them set to ‘Stay Back While Attacking’. Then, a tap of the L1/LB button can set them free on the flanks.

What you need: Wing backs with bags of stamina and high attacking work rate are a must. Alphonso Davies is the prototype for this sort of formation

Best FIFA 23 formations: 4-1-2-1-2 (narrow)

Best FIFA 23 formations guide to the four best tactical set-ups

(Image credit: EA)

Best for: Controlling the tempo and frustrating your opponents

Going forward: You may have already noticed FIFA 23 feels heavier than past instalments. This helps while you get adjusted to a new way of playing.

Use ‘slow build up’ in the tactical instructions and one more physical striker to hold the ball up. That way, you can manipulate the space and pull off passing triangles and combinations with the zippier interplay this year. Don’t be afraid to go route one and mop up any headers too.

Keeping it tight at the back: Putting ‘Drop back’ on may not be seen as the sporting move – but all’s fair in love and FUT. Use that and resist the urge to manually control your CDM to ensure you have a solid base in your own third. The rest can be tweaked as you go – though we’ve found lowering your depth slightly more than the default settings works wonders.

What you need: Passing is king in FIFA 23, so pack out that midfield with those who can spray the ball around with ease. It also helps if you have a CAM with high agility, balance, and ball control skills as they’ll be needed in the final third. A pair of nippy strikers wouldn’t go amiss either.

Best FIFA 23 formations: 4-3-3 (flat)

Best FIFA 23 formations guide to the four best tactical set-ups

(Image credit: EA)

Best for: Players who love to attack – without thinking too hard about tactics

Going forward: It’s hard to really recommend lone striker formations in FIFA 23. 4-3-3 is the exception. For now – before the patches rain down – crosses from certain angles are highly effective. Make the most of that by doubling up on tricky wingers and a towering target man up front. We’ve opted for the flat variation on 4-3-3 here, though, because it’s harder to beat a man one-on-one. Having myriad options behind you in midfield as a winger helps maintain the rhythm and puts a stop to frustrating turnovers.

Keeping it tight at the back: This is about as plug-and-play as it gets for your defence. You should be wary of any full backs with high attacking work rate, however, as it can leave your defence vulnerable to a swift counter attack.

What you need: Focus on the striker and work backwards. Without a formidable forward, this formation isn’t as effective as it could be. Two wingers with skill moves, acceleration (that has the edge over sprint speed so far), and four-star weak foot also makes this 4-3-3 really tick.

Best FIFA 23 formations: 4-2-2-2

Best FIFA 23 formations guide to the four best tactical set-ups

(Image credit: EA)

Best for: Keeping it tight at the back

Going forward: You can really cause havoc with the player instructions in a 4-2-2-2. Having one of your strikers set to ‘Drift wide’ means space often opens up inside for the narrower CAM to make hay. Combo that with some aggressive overlapping instructions from your wing backs and you can overload either side of the pitch whenever you choose.

Keeping it tight at the back: Conceding too many? 4-2-2-2 is your friend. The two CDMs are invaluable. Space is already at a premium in FIFA 23 and their presence helps clamp down on any surging runs from midfield, as well as cutting off the majority of passing lanes. They also mean you can take a few more risks with your attacks as there’s always going to be four men back at any time.

What you need: While speed isn’t as overpowered as it once was, a nippy CAM with high dribbling stats can work wonders here. They’ll often need to carry the ball large distances in midfield. The two CDMs, meanwhile, should have low attacking work rate and strong defensive and physical stats such as Interceptions, Defensive Awareness, and Standing Tackle in the 80+ range.

Bradley Russell

I’m the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you’ll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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