Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at four effective moves you can use to make space for a shot on goal under pressure…
The vast majority of matches I play online are very close these days, and usually decided by a single goal.
Occasionally I have one of those games when everything seems to work and I might win by a number of goals, and equally I have the odd off day when I’ll be on the wrong end of a thrashing, but in the main I find myself pretty evenly matched with my opposition most of the time.
In matches like that, when both teams are defending well, being able to create just enough space to set up a shot on goal while under pressure can be the difference between taking one point or all three, so it’s handy to have a few moves in your locker that can help you do that. In this week’s Backpage we’re going to look at the techniques I use the most to buy space and test the keeper when it really counts…
In really close games I usually find that my attacking players are under constant pressure from defenders, who are looking for even the smallest opportunity to dart in and nick the ball or block a shot.
That’s when I like to use the Push Back move to quickly create the space I need to shoot.
The Push Back involves nudging the ball back in more or less the direction it came from with your first touch, using just enough power to get it away from the nearby defender and out of your feet so you can shoot with your second touch. There’s no turning involved so you need to be front, side on or somewhere in between to the goal when you receive the ball, then it’s just a case of running into the pass and hopefully going past the defender.
If you were to try a first-time shot with a defender so close by then there’s a really good chance they’d be able to block the strike, or maybe your player wouldn’t get his feet sorted out in time to hit an effective shot. By pushing the ball back to where it came from you can move away from the defender, who is facing you rather than the ball so will find it tough to accelerate in time to keep up, and create enough space for an effort on goal.
It’s an incredibly simple move, but when well timed it’s a really effective way to make space in tight areas.
WEAK FOOT TURN
Unpredictability is key to all four of the moves here. If the defending player can’t read what you’re about to do then you’ve obviously got a much higher chance of success, so it’s important to disguise your intentions as best you can when in the final stages of an attack.
The Weak Foot Turn technique takes this a step further in my opinion because you intentionally make it appear to be very predictable, before throwing the surprise in right at the end.
For example, let’s say I have the ball with Robin Van Persie and I’m just about to move inside the opponent’s penalty area. There’s a defender or two close by tracking my run and, when I turn to Van Persie’s left side and accelerate to the ball, everything about my approach and shape screams that I’m going to shoot. The defending player – who will probably know that RVP is left footed – reacts by moving to block or tackle, then at the very last moment I turn back on to Van Persie’s right foot and let rip with a shot on goal. Here I’ve done everything I can to make my next move appear to be predictable, before hopefully catching the defender out with the last-minute turn on to my weaker foot.
This kind of move works best with players like RVP who are well known for being dominant with one foot, but who also have an excellent weak foot rating that is perhaps not such common knowledge.
Ibrahimovic, Suarez, Rooney, Ronaldo, Ribery, Falcao, Aguero, Lewandowski – all of those forwards have a dominant foot that every FIFA player will be aware of, but a four star weak foot that they may not know about. A four star weak foot is still very dangerous inside the box as long as the player has a good Finishing attribute to compliment it, so shaping to shoot with one foot before switching to the other can be an extremely effective way to buy you the space you need to finish.
This also works outside of the box, but for that you’ll need a player with a very good Long Shot rating and preferably a five star weak foot, like Kroos, Cazorla or Sneijder. They really are the hardest players of all to prevent from taking a shot, because they’re so comfortable on either side.
Again it’s a very simple move, you’re just sharply changing direction with the left stick, but it’s hard to stop if you can do a good job of really making it look like you’re setting up a shot with your player’s strongest foot.
The next move I use a lot works in a similar way…
FAKE SHOT STOP AND GO
The first part of this move is the same as the Weak Foot Turn in that you go through almost all of the motions of taking the shot – this time to the point when you swing your leg back before striking the ball – but it differs in that you don’t have to beat the defender by turning on to your weaker side. Instead you fake the shot and stop completely for a split second, just long enough for the defender’s own momentum to create some space, then you burst into it and shoot with your second touch.
Because the opposition player is anticipating the shot, they’ll be trying to tackle or block as quickly as possible – often with the sprint button held down – so the brief delay is usually enough to send them past you, creating the space you need to shoot before they can recover.
To do it, power up a shot then press the short pass button as the meter fills and release the left stick. Your player will stop, then you can hold sprint and push the ball away to set up the strike.
There’s no need to have a four or five star weak foot for this one, because you’ll hopefully be able to take the shot with your dominant foot if you time the move right.
Finally, I use the Heel Chop skill move to create space in very crowded penalty areas.
It’s a four star move and there are a couple of ways to do it, but I think the easiest one is to hold LT or L2 while doing a fake shot move – so powering up a shot and cancelling with the short pass button – while pointing the left stick in the direction you want to chop.
It works best when you’re moving at speed and the defending players are being drawn towards you, attempting to prevent a shot. Once you chop the ball left or right it’s very tough for a defender to react in time to change their run path, which gives you the space to get the shot away. I’ll generally try to end up with the ball on my player’s strongest side if possible but, like the Weak Foot Turn, this move is also useful if your player in possession has a four or five star weak foot.
So they’re some of the techniques I find most effective when I’m locked in a close game and need to make just enough space to take a good shot on goal. If you’ve got other moves that work well then please share them with fellow FIFA fans by commenting below or by tweeting your tips to me @darren_cross
As always, thanks very much for reading this week’s Backpage and I hope to see you again next time.