FIFA 21 tips can't permanently rule out the conceding of a last-minute winner in Division Rivals – even the best of the best complain about that all-too-regular occurrence – but they can reduce its frequency. FIFA 21 is packed with online sweat merchants and meta teams, and familiarising yourself with new mechanics and other, subtler wrinkles is a strong way to ensure that you're 2-0 up well before any stoppage-time naughtiness can occur. Off-field tricks for transfers and formations are also covered in GR's list of the top ten FIFA 21 tips.
1. Familiarise yourself with the new Agile Dribbling and Creative Run mechanics
There are two new gameplay features that completely change the moment-to-moment action in FIFA 21. Top players will utilise these non-stop so if you want to climb the divisions, you need to use both Agile Dribbling and Creative Runs.
Agile Dribbling is done by holding R1 when in possession. Players with high dribbling stats will be better at this, but anyone can do it. The player will keep the ball close to their body for tighter control while moving slowly, waiting for the opportunity to burst away with pace past a defender.
Creative Runs essentially give you more control over the timing and direction of your teammates' runs. Press L1/LB and flick the right stick to make a player run in a specific direction, so you can pass the ball into space. You can also flick the right stick when releasing the ball from a pass to make the player pass and move.
2. Headers are doable again so crosses are a viable method of attack
In FIFA 20, headers were practically impossible to score. So if you played a lot of that game, there's a good chance you've conditioned yourself to always try and cut the ball back from the corners of the pitch, rather than whipping in a cross for your striker to nod home.
Well it's time to forget that, because crosses are more than valid again. They're not overpowered like they were a few FIFAs ago, but get the ball on the head of a 6ft+ forward or a winger coming in at the back post and they'll donk it home with ease.
3. Complete the basic and advanced SBCs in Ultimate Team to earn some easy cash
The permanent squad building challenges in the basic and advanced categories are brilliant ways of earning some early cash. Completing all of the groups will net you some worthwhile packs, and while the rewards from these isn't guaranteed, chances are you'll flip a profit in the long run. If you want the cheapest methods of completing them, check out dedicated FUT sites like Futbin (opens in new tab) that have community created solutions sorted by the cheapest at the top.
4. Squad Battles is a more forgiving competition to gain coins than Division Rivals
Playing online all the time against evenly-matched opponents in Division Rivals can be an incredibly frustrating experience, especially if things aren't going your way. Instead, hop over to Squad Battles. Even winning matches on the lower difficulties like Semi-Pro can net you some decent points for the weekly rankings, and you'll still get coins for every win. Plus there's a lot less pressure on you.
5. Practice free kicks in the skill games section before attempting them in-game
Free kicks are a daunting prospect, even moreso if you're new to the game. It's easy to blast them with way too much power or hit them directly at the goalkeeper for an easy save. To practice free kicks, head to the Set Pieces category in Skill Games on the main menu and complete all the beginner and moderate ones. The following ones will be free kicks, wherre you can practice your knuckleballs, in-swingers, lay-off shots and more.
6. Think outside the box for cheaper players when creating your Ultimate Team
Certain leagues in Ultimate Team are so popular, the players sell for a premium on the transfer market. Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga are prime examples of this. While those leagues may have your favourite players within, you can get some seriously good players from less popular leagues, meaning your squad will be much cheaper overall.
Look towards leagues like Ligue 1, Liga NOS, and the Chinese Super League for some cheap beasts. With some perfect chemistry links (same club and nation) you can make creative hybrid teams with players from nations across the globe. You're not limited to just one league or one nation.
7. Pacey forwards making inside runs are still the most effective way to score
For as long as humans have been on this planet, pace has been the most valuable stat in FIFA games. Hurtling down the wings or running behind the defenders – who outside of a few exceptions, will never have 90+ pace – has always been and is still the most effective way of attacking, whether you sprint forward and slot it past the goalkeeper or run the ball to the touchline and pass back across the face of goal. Stack your forward line with some budget fast players – or choose a team with rapid forwards in the other modes – and rely on them to sprint with the ball down the pitch.
8. Pick the right formation to suit your playstyle
There are a plethora of formations available to choose from in FIFA 21, from your standard 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 with multiple variants, to rarely seen options like 5-2-2-1 and 3-5-2. We're not here to say one formation is outright better than the rest, because it mainly depends on your playstyle.
Want to ping crosses in like Moyes' United playing against Fulham (but hopefully put them in the back of the net? Use a formation with wingers and a tall, strong striker that can get their noggin on the ball. Fond of incisive through balls that split apart the defence? Play with something that utilises strong, box-to-box midfielders and fast strikers. If you're not sure what your playstyle is, experiment with some different formations and see what works for you.
9. Know all the different types of shot to use in different situations
Shooting isn't as simple as pressing Circle/B and hoping for the best. Different types of shots can be executed with various button combos, which are useful when not faced with an open net. So most of the time.
First up are standard shots. Circle/B means your striker will put their laces through the ball and how long you hold the button down for is what determines the power. When you want to smash it into the top corner and you're facing directly at goal, this is the way to go.
R1/RB + Circle/B will perform a finesse shot. While these used to be seriously powerful in previous FIFA games, they're not quite as overpowered anymore. Finesse shots are still useful in two situations though; when you're on the edge of the box and want to curl one into the top corner with a winger who has cut inside, or when you're one on one with the keeper and want to slot it past them. Use a lot of power for the first, and not much for the second.
L1/LB + Circle/B is the famed chip shot. Scoring one of these is the ultimate dunk on your opponent and there's only one occasion where it works; when you're through on goal and your opponent rushes their keeper out to try and take the ball from your feet. A cheeky chip will soar over them and bounce into the back of the net.
L1/LB + R1/RB + Circle/B will perform a drilled shot. These are mainly used when inside the box because it keeps the ball as low as possible but with a tonne of power. There's no risk of ballooning it over the bar with these, but they are easier for the 'keeper to save.
10. Familiarise yourself with your players' skill and weak foot ratings
Each player has a skill rating and a weak foot rating, both out of five. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Aiden McGeady have five star skills, but they're the exception; learn what skill ratings your players have so you know which skill moves they can actually perform on the pitch.
At the same time, you'll want to know each of your players' preferred foot and their weak foot rating. There's no point having a right winger instructed to cut inside and finesse with his left foot if he prefers his right and only has a three star weak foot.
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