FIFA 15 Guide: Detail analysis of team sheets and tactics

Team sheets are one of the new additions to FIFA 15, and offer a great way for players to tinker with line-ups even further and add new levels of customisation. Fans of management sims will feel right at home, except now you get to actually take advantage of your adjustments by playing out all the changes you make.

It’s important to understand how changes to team sheets affect performances on the pitch, so we’ve put together some tips to keep in mind when you start playing Mourinho with your teams.

Think about your formation
Everything you do with your team sheet will be dependant on your formation. Are you playing a narrow midfield? How many holding midfielders/strikers/centre backs are in the starting 11? Understanding your formation, and its strengths and weaknesses, will dictate the player instructions you use.That said, there are some general rules which you can adopt and take forward for any mode in the game.

Have several team sheets
Don’t have a single team sheet that you continue to change throughout the season. Have at least three, one of which (in Career Mode) dedicated to cup competitions, using your younger and reserve players. Also vary up the formation so you’re able to exploit opponent weaknesses.

Narrow midfield equals overlapping full backs

If you’re playing a midfield diamond or three which lacks width, then it’s vital to have your full backs overlap. This is great for opening up play and taking advantage of space left by defenders dragged inside by the midfield and forwards.

Wing backs will often press forward without any defender marking them, so the opportunity to get the ball high up the pitch and get an early cross or attack inside is ideal, especially if you have a striker who’s strong in the air.

Most teams attack with at least six players, but depending on the speed of your break, you can press with as many as seven or eight, so don’t worry if both full backs are pushing up the pitch, as you should still have your two centre halves and at least one midfielder back.

How to instruct two centre midfielders

If you have two centre midfielders (not central attacking, but centre or central defensive), it’s important to instruct only one of them to attack when you have possession and the other to stay back.

If both stay back, then you won’t have enough men forward to break down the defence, especially if they ‘park the bus’, and if both go forward, you’ll be exposed on the counter attack.

Keep in mind that these instructions apply to the position, not the individual player. That means that if you substitute a defensive-minded midfielder for an attacking one, he will still be under instruction to stay back when you’re attacking, and you’ll need to change this.

How to instruct strikers
If you’re playing with two strikers, have one of them drift wide, and the other “get in behind”, that way they won’t keep making the same runs on attack. Make sure it’s the smaller, weaker (aka faster) of the two strikers that’s moving wide while the big man stays central. For instance, Falcao will stay central for Man United while Rooney drifts wide.This will drag defenders out of position, leaving space for wide men who, if instructed to cut inside, will exploit.

Depending on if the winger is playing on the same side as their strong foot (left winger on left, for example), you’ll have to adjust your instructions of whether to cut inside or stay wide. Gareth Bale on the right wing is better served cutting inside and looking to shoot or making a through ball, while on the left he’s better attacking the wing and trying to cross.

Keep your attacking players forward
Don’t allow your strikers and attacking midfielders to work both forwards and backwards, they’ll be exhausted before half time. Make sure they stay forward when defending so they are able to attack with pace. A maximum of four players should stay forward when defending to make sure you’re not outnumbered.


It’ll take time to find the right combination of instructions, formation and personnel, so take your time adjusting and tweaking. Don’t be afraid to drop key players to fit your system.It’ll take time, but the payoff will be more than worth it.