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FIFA 22 formations: the 7 best set-ups for your Ultimate Team

FIFA 22
(Image credit: EA)

As the best FIFA 22 formations proves, the key to winning games on Ultimate Team isn’t as simple as copying-and-pasting what worked last year. FIFA 22 brings a serious overhaul: finesse shots from outside the box are more powerful than ever, pace has been given a slight nerf, and working the ball patiently is outright encouraged. No matter how you want to play, from Jurgen Klopp-style breathless counter-attacking to a more considered, Guardiola-esque approach, we’ve got you covered. Get up and running on Ultimate Team, or elsewhere, early this year via GR's best FIFA 22 formations guide.

3-4-1-2

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

3-4-1-2 is not only an incredibly versatile formation, it also allows players to put a stop to opponents abusing overpowered finesse shots this year. If you have three strong centre backs, you’re able to constantly use the R1/RB pressure to ensure players don’t have time (or space) to crack off a long attempt on goal. Set the middle centre back to have ‘Aggressive Interceptions’ in Player Instructions, too, to aid in quick turnovers and counter attacks.

Going forward, you can use the wide players as either wing backs or out-and-out wingers, depending on your personnel and match situation. We recommend lowering depth oh-so-slightly to around the 30-40 range, however, while also applying the ‘Stay Back While Attacking’ instruction to the most defensively minded of your pair of central midfielders. That allows for a great deal of fluidity elsewhere in the attacking third, while being protected from any sudden changes in possession – so you can play your way without worrying about getting caught cold.

4-1-2-1-2 (2)

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

Why the narrower variant of 4-1-2-1-2? Simply put, much of the action in FIFA this year gravitates towards the middle of the park. Yes, you can get success from wide areas but, given how target men are less effective due to goalkeepers’ improved shot-stopping ability in the box, it pays to play patient and through the lines.

4-1-2-1-2 (2) allows you to drag defenders out of position – especially if they’re playing four at the back – and overwhelm any defensive pivots. If you throw in a False 9 instruction for one of your strikers, that manifests itself in a chaotic blur of attacking talent that should always mean you have one player free. If you do need some width, you can always set the full backs to join the attack if chasing a game. But be warned: that requires a considerable amount of stamina.

4-2-2-2

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

4-2-2-2 is one of those FIFA 22 formations that works well out of the box, but may need tweaking depending on your play-style. At the very least, you’ve got a solid base of two defensive midfielders that should stop any playing between the lines from the first whistle. However, you should ensure any players in this setup don't have the dreaded High/High work rate as it can leave large spaces in behind. We’re looking at you, Jordan Henderson.

The two CAMs in the formation must also have high agility and dribbling to ensure they can carry the ball towards the two forwards. Without that, they can get seriously isolated. Passing, as you may have figured out by now, feels slightly heavier and a little less accurate than previous years. 4-2-2-2 can help cut out the middle man by using the pair of attacking midfielders as your main outlet.

4-2-3-1 (narrow)

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

Again, we’re opting for the narrower version of a beloved tactic. Why? From our experience online, most teams love trying to overload the final third in the centre. It’s also the easiest it’s been in a good few years to defend crosses.

To help create some width, set the left-sided CAM to ‘Free Roam’ with the left back set to ‘Join The Attack’ – or on the other flank if your right side is stronger. Also ensure there’s a get-out-of-jail card handy by having one CDM having Cut Passing Lanes toggled on. Putting Pressure on Heavy Touch and Fast Build Up on tires your players out, but can be a useful tool to blunt force your way to victory with this formation in the closing 15-20 minutes of games.

4-3-2-1

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

Want to counter-attack like Liverpool? 4-3-2-1 might not exactly match Jurgen Klopp’s swashbuckling brand of lightning-quick football, but it’s not far off it. To patch up any holes in your defence, set your team to drop back and lower the depth a smidgen as you see fit.

The real issue with this formation is finding quality CFs. If you do uncover a diamond of a square peg in a round hole, be sure to set one (or both) to ‘Get in Behind’ to really stretch any defences that play high up the field. It also helps having a physical presence up front that can play with their back to goal and lay off short, simple passes to the two marauding centre forwards.

5-2-1-2

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

For our money, probably the best formation in the game – but you need world-class wing backs. If they don’t have 80+ pace and stamina to match, 5-2-1-2 won’t be as effective as you’d hope.

Outside of that, this is the easiest formation to plug in and play. There’s no real tweaking required, though we’d recommend the central midfield partnership to consist of one nimbler player with an eye for a pass and another whose sole aim is to destroy and recycle the ball quickly.

5-3-2

FIFA 22 formations

(Image credit: EA)

This is a slightly more conservative 5-2-1-2 and probably best utilised against stronger opposition – a scenario that is unfortunately commonplace against near-endgame squads that have already been put together on Ultimate Team.

Like with the 5-2-1-2, you need strong wing backs and, in this instance, a real variety of central midfield players. Got a trio of cloggers in the centre? This isn’t going to work. Similarly, a handful of players with no real physical presence are going to be outfought and outmatched in the trenches. It is, however, a master-key of sorts that can line up well against pretty much any formation in the game – and can hide some seriously glaring weaknesses if you’re still building up your Ultimate Team.

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Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.