Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at four ways to turn your form around and change those losses to wins…
Until very recently I was in a shocking run of form in FIFA 13.
It all started when I conceded a last-minute winner in a game I felt I should have won and, as each result continued to go against me, my confidence took a knock until I eventually felt like I was going to lose before a game had even kicked off. It got so bad that I had mates queuing up for an Online Friendly so they could take an easy three points while my terrible run went on.
Whether you’re a veteran of the FIFA series or new to the game, I reckon there’s a very strong chance you’ll have experienced this at some stage yourself. A run of poor form has happened to pretty much every FIFA player I know, but there are a few things you can do that will help when it happens to you and in this week’s Backpage we’re going to take a look at them…
1 Use The Team You Know Best
Picking a team you’re really comfortable with will hopefully mean you’ll know who the top players are in each position and exactly what they can do, which will help you make easier decisions when it comes to choosing your next move in any game situation.
You’ll know which foot your main striker is dominant with, the midfielder that has the best ball control, the defender with the greatest heading ability and the full-back most likely to get caught out by fast opposition. That’s a whole bunch of things you won’t have to think about as much as if you used a team that’s less familiar, so you’ll automatically make quicker decisions in-game.
My go-to team when I’m on a bad run is Anzhi Makhachkala. Knowing exactly what their players are capable of instantly makes me feel more confident when I’m heading into a game, and confidence plays a huge part in losing and winning streaks.
Always turn to the team you know best.
2 Pick Your Favourite Formation
When you just want to get that elusive win under your belt to end a losing streak it’s tempting to rush into the game and get started as quickly as you can, without taking a moment to check on your formation and make sure you’re familiar with the team shape.
When you do this it only takes an opponent to pop up unexpectedly in space, or an attempted pass to go where you thought you had a player, to highlight the formation and the importance of picking one you know well. Conceding a goal or giving possession away like this can knock that all-important confidence and contribute to a bad run continuing.
Instead, take the time to go into the squad screen and pick a formation that you know inside out. By doing that you’ll again save yourself some extra thinking, because you’ll know exactly where your players are and when in relation to the position of the ball, so you won’t have to spend too much time checking the radar.
The idea here is very similar to using a team you’re most familiar with in that, because you have less to think about, you’ll get a confidence boost before a ball has been kicked.
3 Slow Down, Be Patient
When you’re desperate to get a win it’s easy to lose your patience in a game, which can really make things harder for you in both defence and attack.
I can think of loads of times when I’ve gone chasing the play or been too aggressive when defending in an attempt to get the ball back as quickly as possible and end a poor run, and they almost always ended badly for me. A good example is being too keen to win possession with the last defender when the ball is played into the striker he’s marking. If I was impatient here I might have tried to predict which way the striker would turn then move my defender into that space or – worse – go steaming straight in with a tackle. I should have been holding my position, protecting my goal and slowing my opponent’s progress by forcing him to turn back or pass to a team-mate in a less-dangerous area. Basically, I should have been more patient.
Impatience can ruin attacks too.
When you’re rushing to get a goal it’s easy to do things like try lofted through passes that aren’t really on, dribble with one player when you should really hold and wait for support, or take a shot from a bad angle with a striker’s weak foot. As attacks break down time and again it can start to feel like you’re never going to score, so your confidence takes a knock and the bad run goes on.
Instead, slow things down. Build your attacks, move the ball around your team and create better scoring chances. Try to make space for your players by using one-twos in the right areas, and work to get the ball to your striker in the best possible position on his strong side before you take the shot. Keep it simple. I’m not saying here that every single attack has to be slow and steady – by all means go for the counter if you spot the right opportunity – but don’t just charge forward every time.
When you’re on a losing run it’s more important than ever to avoid rushing your attacks and conceding possession too easily.
4 Take No Risks
There’s never a good time to pass the ball straight to a striker directly from a short goal kick, or lob it directly to an unmarked opposing winger, but the absolute worst time is when you’re bang in the middle of a losing streak, which is probably when you’re most likely to do it. It’s also not usually a good idea to go for a risky pass across your own box with a defender, attempt to control a high ball when you’re under pressure or try to nod a cross to a full-back.
When you need to stop letting in goals, take absolutely no risks in defence.
Aim goal kicks to your tall striker, avoid playing passes to defenders unless you’re sure they’ll get the ball first, clear high balls instead of trying to control them and use the shoot button to head crosses as far away from your own goal as you can. It’s not Total Football, but it is effective and you can always go back to a more attractive playing style once you’ve ended the run and got some points in the bank.
So they’re the four things I do when I can’t seem to get a win, and they really do seem to work. Thankfully my bad run came to an end as soon as I went back to these basics – I was able to save my online season and stop dodging invites from my mates.
If you’ve got any great tips for ending a losing streak then please comment below or tweet them to me @darren_cross so the rest of the community can take a look.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week.
As always, thanks for reading the Backpage and I hope to see you here next week.
FIFA 13 is availble to buy now on Origin for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC.