As both major football games become esports focused, PES 2020 formations are a Konami priority – getting your tactical set-up just right often proves the difference between winning and losing, especially online. As a result, eFootball PES 2020 (opens in new tab) gives you a plethora of strategic choices to ensure your team ticks exactly as you need it to. This plentiful selection can be overwhelming to the new player, so to help with that and ensure the best get even better, I've put together this PES 2020 formations expert guide.
Best PES 2020 formations: 4-3-3 (4-2-1-3 in PES)
Best for: Players who like cut and thrust football
Going forward: This formation relies on you getting your wingers in behind the opposition full-backs as quickly as possible, enabling them to angle a free dribble towards goal, or to cross it in to a waiting Centre Forward.
Naturally this requires you to utilise a wide attacking area, allowing your players to find space. Dragging your wingers as high and wide as possible and using the Hug the Touchline advanced instruction ensures this method.
It doesn’t matter if you favour a possessive or counter attacking style in order to do this but having a long-pass build up and high support range is essential.
Keeping it tight at the back: The danger with this formation is that with your wingers high and wide up the pitch, the defence can be left exposed, especially out wide where any opposition overlaps aren’t covered.
If this is a concern, consider deploying two of your three midfielders as DMFs to provide cover, whilst setting up to contain attacks through the middle.
What you need: Pacy dribblers on the wings are a must and if you’re able to complement them with a clinical finisher in the box it pays dividends. Elsewhere, DMFs with high stamina and good defensive abilities are advantageous.
Best PES 2020 formations: 4-2-1-2-1 (4-3-2-1 in PES)
Best for: More patient PES players
Going forward: The aim of the game here is to move the ball toward goal with a series of short passes to retain possession, while keeping your teammates close by.
PES offers a number of attacking instructions to help you do this. Play with a possessive attacking style, build up with short passes through the centre, and instruct your players to maintain formation with a low support range to ensure they’re in position.
Using the fabled Tiki-Taka advanced instruction sees players take up positions to help facilitate this. If you need even more help, employing false full-backs offers even more outlets in the middle.
Keeping it tight at the back: Having players grouped so closely together means that once you lose the ball it becomes imperative to win it back before your opponent finds any of the space left unattended. Using aggressive pressuring and frontline pressure to strangle your opponents can be an effective way of doing this – with a little help from the stamina draining Gegenpress if needs be.
Elsewhere, having 2 DMFs means you can afford for your back line to play a bit deeper. This can be particularly helpful if your opponent is looking to break with quick counter attacks.
What you need: Whilst great passing and dribbling throughout your team is essential, the bigger need is that of your own patience. Whilst an effective formation, a methodical approach is required for it to pay off and waiting for exactly the right time to make that killer move is crucial.
Best PES 2020 formations: 5-3-2 (5-2-1-2 in PES)
Best for: Those who put defence first
Going forward: Yes, the focus here is on defending – but with two centre forwards lurking up the field it can be devastating in attack too. The key is to get the ball up top as soon as possible, so use a counter attacking style with long-ball build up. Setting your preferred striker as a counter target so he offers a dangerous out ball also pays dividends.
For the more daring, instructing your full-backs to be attacking can provide some width if things are getting a little too narrow. Use these sparingly so as to avoid conceding soft goals.
Keeping it tight at the back: This formation is so defensive there’s little you need to do to ensure things are tight. Using two deep lying midfielders to close down attacks gives you the luxury of being able to drop your defensive line back a bit, giving your opponent even less chance of unleashing a killer pass.
What you need: It goes without saying that for this you need good centre backs: three of them to be precise. As this isn’t the most creative setup, a striker with abilities to make things happen on their own is crucial.
Best PES 2020 formations: 4-2-1-3
Best for: The potential professionals
Going forward: If it’s good enough for the current PES World Champion – Usmakabyle – then it should be good enough for you too.
The formation is designed with one thing in mind: attacking. Everything should be focused on working the ball through the midfield – nicknamed ‘the dog’s leg’ by PES casters, and up to the narrow front three to finish the job.
Moving the ball quickly is vital for this formation to be at its most effective, so work it through your midfielders at a rapid pace. As a result your players should be kept on a tight leash positionally to ensure they’re in the right place to receive a pass at all times.
Lowering the range of support also ensures that there’s plenty of passing options once the ball gets to the business end of the pitch.
Keeping it tight at the back: Having a front three means you’re already light defensively, and the narrowness of the formation finds lesser players increasingly susceptible to opposition attacks.
To counter this, it’s imperative to win the ball back at the earliest opportunity. Frontline pressure, aggressive harrying of opponents and a defensive line positioned as far forward as possible limits opposition space and make it difficult to find a route to goal.
Beware though, this strategy is very high risk. If your defending isn’t up to scratch you could find yourself on the wrong end of some emphatic hammerings.
What you need: Squad strength and depth: The high pressure nature of the defending drains stamina, and you need to make changes to last the full 90. A midfield with high passing and attack with high finishing attributes also help immensely.
PES 2020 is out now. To up your game even further, head over to our PES 2020 tips (opens in new tab) covering 5 essential things to know before you play.