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HomeSportsBernie Smilovitz: What kind of lesson are we teaching our kids?

Bernie Smilovitz: What kind of lesson are we teaching our kids?

Highlights The 4-4-2 formation in EA Sports FC 24 is a classic system that fits the online gameplay meta every year, making it a popular choice for Ultimate Team players.
The formation provides a solid and compact defence with a versatile midfield that contributes both in defence and attack, increasing the team’s strength in all areas of the pitch.
Custom tactics and player instructions are crucial in maximizing the effectiveness of the 4-4-2 formation, allowing for a strong pressing game and high-intensity football. Proper player selection is also important for success in Ultimate Team.
EA Sports FC 24 features many different formations that complement contrasting styles. The 4-4-2 offers the perfect balance between defence and attack. We have devised a set of custom tactics to make the system as effective as possible this year.
The 4-4-2 is a formation that has constantly been present throughout the history of football. It has also played a key role in EA Sports’ titles ever since Ultimate Team’s inauguration, with the classic system fitting the online gameplay meta every single year.
The 4-4-2 is commonly used by Ultimate Team players in each game cycle. It is always a viable formation to achieve top Champions Finals rankings and to rapidly climb the Division Rivals ladder.
The formation features a solid and compact backline, which is difficult for the opposition to break through, especially as a further bank of four lies ahead of them. The flat four-man midfield is incredibly versatile. The four players can all contribute in defence and attack which massively increases the team’s strength in all areas of the pitch. The wide midfielders are tasked with being the main creative players while maintaining a duty to get back when the ball is lost. The central midfielders provide constant cover for the defence and also control the tempo in the middle of the park.
The 4-4-2 ultimately seems to never slip the minds of FC 24 players when it comes to selecting a meta formation. We offered our take on the leading 4-4-2 tactics in FIFA 23 in EA Sports’ previous title and we have again created an effective set of custom tactics and player instructions to take the classic formation to the next level in Ultimate Team. However, these tactics could, of course, also help you to win major trophies in Career Mode if that happens to be your area of expertise.
Read more: The best meta squads for all budgets on EA Sports FC 24 (from 50k to 750k)
Custom Tactics
The first step to building the best 4-4-2 tactic is customising the tactics for the team both in and out of possession. This system will be built to support a strong pressing game and to keep your team constantly on the front foot. This setup could allow you to mirror Jurgen Klopp’s gegenpressing style in aid of winning matches in Ultimate Team.
Defensive style: Balanced
Balanced Width: 60
60 Depth: 71
Build-up Play: Balanced
Balanced Chance Creation: Direct Passing
Direct Passing Width: 60
60 Players In Box: Five
Five Corners and Free Kicks: One
Beginning with the defensive setup for these custom tactics, we opted for a balanced style. The classic 4-4-2 that has been deployed by many elite managers defines pragmatism and, as such, we want our players to maintain their natural shape when defending.
We set the width at 60 as we want to take advantage of wing play with this 4-4-2 tactic. While remaining compact centrally, we want our fullbacks and wide midfielders to play wide to create more passing lanes.
The defensive depth for our tactics is set at 71. This is where the pressing focus of the team comes into play. By deploying a high line, we can ensure there is minimal space between the lines for the opposition to play within.
This creates an opportunity for our midfielders to counter-press and regain possession, which can turn defence into attack in an instant.
Onto the defensive section of the custom tactics, we have opted for a balanced style of build-up play. This will ensure that our midfielders and attackers maintain their positions until the ball reaches dangerous areas in the final third.
The form of chance creation we selected is perhaps the most meta option on FC 24. Just like on FIFA 23, direct passing is an incredibly overpowered feature which empowers players to make constant attacking runs.
The width in the offensive areas of the pitch is unchanged compared to the defensive width of 60. There is a clear emphasis on wide play when attacking with this 4-4-2 tactic.
Players in the box are set at five to create an overload in the opposition area. All the midfielders will join the attackers in the danger area, besides one midfielder who will maintain defensive cover.
We set the number of players in the box for corners and free kicks to just one. This can be beneficial for custom set piece routines, or for winning second balls. However, if you have a different preference when it comes to set pieces, feel free to alter our setup slightly.
Player Instructions
Another vital component of constructing the perfect 4-4-2 tactic is to apply the necessary player instructions to your team. The team custom tactics instruct your team how to position themselves, but individual instructions can allow you to intricately change the way your players perform and the runs they make in-game.
The goalkeeper’s instructions are not at all vital to this tactic. You could leave your keeper on default if you prefer a traditional option between the sticks, or you could opt for a sweeper-keeper role.
The central defenders are certainly best left on the default instructions. They must maintain their natural positions in the heart of defence and perform their typical duties.
The fullbacks, however, require several specific instructions to optimally perform their role within this 4-4-2 tactic. They are told to stay back while attacking, and also to overlap – this will ensure they maintain the team’s attacking width if the wide midfielders go inside.
The central midfielders are the team’s primary cover for the back four, and so there are a couple of important instructions that must be applied to them. In this 4-4-2 tactic, they are told to stay back while attacking and cover centre. They will predominantly focus on their defensive duties and will only support sustained attacks.
The wide midfielders are the team’s only obvious source of attacking width. We awarded them the instructions to stay wide and get in behind. We need them to constantly stretch the opposition defence, to create space for the attacking partnership.
The strikers are, unsurprisingly, the most deadly threat within this tactical setup. To fully utilise them, they are told to get in behind and stay forward. We avoided adding custom width instructions so that they could carefully pick out ideal runs based on where gaps present themselves.
The tactics and player instructions we have outlined here will allow you to control a team that is compact and aggressive in defence but is capable of springing attacks out of nowhere.
If this setup suits your style, it could help you to improve your Champions Finals rank and climb up the pecking order in Division Rivals. However, you also need to construct a team that fits our 4-4-2 tactic, if it is to deliver results in FC 24.
Best players to use
Alongside a solid set of custom tactics, you need a selection of players that fit the Ultimate Team meta to succeed in EA Sports’ flagship game mode. Here is a range of players that could help you to achieve success with this 4-4-2 tactic.
In your shot-stopper for this 4-4-2 tactic, you simply need a high-rated goalkeeper. All keepers in FC 24 seem to have mistakes in them, but starting one with top attributes should help to limit those errors.
In the central defensive positions, pacey options would be ideal as the tactic involves an extremely high defensive line. William Saliba, Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger could all provide stellar options that do not lack in their defending and physicality stats.
When it comes to the fullback, as well as focusing on the defensive attribute, the players you use must have a decent dribbling and pace stat, which can allow them to be effective in attack as well as defence.
Marcos Llorente and Alex Scott are solid options for the right-hand side. Theo Hernandez or Trailblazer’s Andrew Robertson are ideal choices for protecting the other flank.
Read more: The 15 highest-rated female footballers on EA Sports FC 24
Onto the midfield, there is a wide range of meta players that could fit perfectly into the philosophy that this tactic provides.
In central midfield, Grace Geyoro or Claude Makelele could provide an out-and-out ball winner and they would be ideal alongside an aerially dominant midfielder all-rounder such as Jude Bellingham or perhaps Yaya Toure if you have an abundance of Coins to work with.
In the wide areas, pace and dribbling are the most important stats to look out for. The likes of Rodrygo, Kingsley Coman and Moussa Diaby would make fine options on either wing.
Finally, in the attack, a combination of different profiles is crucial just like in midfield. Ideally, one attacker will be big and physical and will not link up with the midfielders often – Erling Haaland would fit this role perfectly.
The other attacker should be a more agile player who is confident on the ball and can link up with the midfield players. A player like Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, or Kaddiatou Diani would provide an exceptional but affordable option for this role in the team.
Now you have all the tools to be successful with 4-4-2 in FC 24. These tactics and instructions suit high-intensity football, although you must make sure you have the necessary player profiles to ensure that things go to plan when your team takes to the pitch in Ultimate Team.



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