FIFA 21 4-2-3-1 Formation Guide

FIFA 21 4-2-3-1 Formation Guide
This formation just got a lot better after FIFA 21 Title Update 5. (Image Credit: EA / EarlyGame)

The 4-2-3-1 has been one of the most popular lineups in modern football for some years now. In our FIFA 21 Formation Guide, we'll tell you what makes the 4-2-3-1 special and how to get the best out of it.

As late as the last FIFA 21 Title Update, EA Sports have been working on the gameplay. Due to a change in the game's tempo, the meta has shifted slightly, and so should your tactical approach. We have already introduced you to the best formations. Today we focus on the revitalized 4-2-3-1.

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FIFA 21 4-2-3-1 Formation Lineup
This 4-2-3-1 formation gives you more security at the back while keeping enough men up front. (Image credit: EA Sports)

The 4-2-3-1 in FIFA 21

The 4-2-3-1 is one of the most balanced formations in the game and is once again enjoying enormous popularity among FIFA professionals, as this formation creates many opportunities and yet remains compact at the back.

Compared to some of the most popular formations in FIFA 21, the 4-2-3-1 feels more defensive. You only have one striker at your disposal, but with three CAMs behind him, you have plenty of options, while two defensive midfielders provide the necessary stability in defense.

4-2-3-1 Tactics

To be successful with this formation with only one striker, individual tactics are of crucial importance. We'll provide you with our settings for you to try out. Feel free to adapt them to your playing style as you see fit.

  • Defensive style: Balanced
  • Width: 5-6
  • Depth: 6-7
  • Offensive style: Long Ball
  • Width: 5-6
  • Players in the box: 5
  • Corners: 3
  • Free kicks: 2

When set to balanced, your defenders stay compact and do not play too aggressively. This minimizes the risk of opening space for your opponent to build a counterattack.

The long ball offensive tactic is particularly suitable if you have fast attackers in your ranks. With a striker and three CAMs, one of them is bound to be found by the ball.

Player Instructions

The player instructions are similarly decisive. This formation places certain demands on your players, so to squeeze the most out of it, you need to have the correct set of players on your squad. What you'll need are:

  • Full backs: high speed, passing and physical stats.
  • Defensive midfielders: one anchor with high defensive and passing stats, one deep-lying playmaker with good shooting and passing stats.
  • Outer CAMs: They will operate more on the wings, so they naturally need pace.
  • Middle CAM: A classic playmaker that excels in shooting, passing, and dribbling.
  • Striker: As with any FIFA 21 formation, your striker will have to cover a lot of ground - pace, dribbling shooting, and, ideally, physique all need to be good-to-great.

The player instructions themselves should be:

  • Full backs: Stay back when attacking
  • Anchor CDM: Cut passing lanes, stay behind when attacking, cover the center
  • Playmaking CDM: Cut passing lanes, cover center
  • Outer CAMs: Get Into The Box For Cross, come back on defense
  • Middle CAM: Basic defensive support
  • Striker: Drift wide

Why do we let the striker drift wide? This gives your middle CAM the opportunity to get more involved in the offense. The striker binds the central defenders to himself, creating a gap through which your CAM can create additional scoring opportunities.

The 4-2-3-1 in FIFA 21 is one of the strongest formations in the game, at least since the last patch. Just give it a try and leave yourself enough time to get familiar with it.

Stay with EarlyGame for more quality FIFA content. You can also check our YouTube channel for some visuals if reading's not your main thing.

Original article by EarlyGame's Philipp Briel.

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