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FIFA 17: essential tips and tricks from the real experts (i.e. you)

Update your stadium list in career mode

Board objectives improve career mode this year, but a major buzzkill over time is constantly playing in stadiums with fake names such as Molton Road and Crown Lane. If that bothers you like it does me, you can fix with the aid of Silas1980's magnificently comprehensive stadium assignment thread on the official FIFA forums. 

Not only does it give names for all stadia in the game for you to input in the in-game editor, but also options for you to choose from when more than one ground closely matches a real-life equivalent. So both Estadio de las Artes and Sanderson Park will suit for John Smith's Stadium, home of Huddersfield Town.

Slight catch: to use these edits in career mode, don't select the 'download latest' squads option when starting out; it'll reset all your stadium-related changes. Instead, before you go into mode to start a new career, go to Customise > Edit teams > Download updates. Then, when you do start your career, select the 'current customised' option. Again, not 'download latest'. You've already done that.

Prioritise value for money over big names

This is true for both career mode and Ultimate Team: you'll pay a premium for big name players, for no reason other than their popularity. Often FIFA 17's mechanics mean they're not nearly as good in game as real-life – for instance, EA admits Thomas Muller's overall rating "doesn't make sense" when you look closer at his individual attributes.

Instead, scout for value and attributes that fit your style of play. All of the below are excellent suggestions, from FluffyTonka on Operation Sports

"Balázs Dzsudzsák is a beast. He's a free agent, captain of Hungary and has his real face in the game. Right midfielder with a left foot, like Mahrez. Has excellent free kicks, crosses and passes in general.

Marko Grujic from Liverpool. He's 6'3" and bosses the midfield, a bit like Pogba. just big and strong and cuts off passes in the middle. He has enormous potential too – his potential is 88, making him one of the best mids in the game in a few years. [In career mode] you can pick him up on a loan, and buy him outright for around 1.5million.

Same with Regan Poole from Manchester United. Can get him on loan, then buy him. He's a smart CB, a little short, but his ground passing game and his tackling are great."

And yet more, still from FluffyTonka on the excellent Operation Sports: "Lucas Silva: really cheap from Real Madrid. Slotted him straight into my Huddersfield midfield, and he is bossing it. He's box-to-box, he tackles and he passes and he bobs up for the occasional goal and goal assist as well. 

Ben Mee, centre-back from Burnley. Another short CB at 5'11, but has 91 for jumping, so he hasn't lost an aerial battle yet and he's good on the ground with the ball and he's pretty quick over the ground to cover for my high pressing tactical game. He's got his real face too.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward. This guy plays like prime time Pepe Reina. Really good reflex saves and positioning. he develops well and is a great goalie for lower leagues. He's out on loan (from Liverpool) to Huddersfield, but I bought him after the loan spell ended. You can get him after year one in your career.

Connor Chaplin. Striker. He develops into a beast. After two years he was an 80 rated ST, and considering he spent all of his first year only playing cup games and coming off my bench, that's pretty good. He's only short, 5'8", but he's quick, agile and always makes smart runs and finds space. You can get him dirt cheap from Portsmouth off the bat."

Read – and practice – EA's penalty tutorial

This one is direct from the developer, specifically because I've not seen it explained with better clarity elsewhere. I find penalties to be the most distressing element of FIFA 17, and said as much in GR+'s review, but they do improve if you heed the developer's lessons – for instance, mastering different run-up angles, and occasionally dropping in a stutter step by tapping L2/LT. 

Want a proper challenge? Go full manual

The first page covered upping variety in opposition tactics by fiddling with sliders; but there's a way to make things constantly different – and more difficult  – for you as a human player, too. That way is switching to full manual controls. It delivers the greatest possible challenge from the AI, and many argue makes FIFA play the like a true footballing sim, rather than a sweaty videogame.

Official FIFA 17 forumite Farat recommends this method with gusto: "The closest comparison I can think of to assisted controls is safety wheels on a bike. They are a valuable tool to increase your confidence but when you become competent they are really just limiting you from doing anything drastic. Initially when people change to manual controls they get a shock. They will under-power passes and apart from the basic North, South, East and West passes it seems difficult to control the minute changes in direction. Once you get the power of passes correct then direction is the only issue. You eventually learn North-West, South-East, North-East etc. After basic directions you soon find that you have a full 360 degree range of passing control. 

With this new ability you can control the tempo of the game. Passes do not always have to be in front of players anymore. The players run does not dictate where you pass the ball. Now where you play the ball dictates the movement of the player. You can now play the ball in front of a static defense and wait for an opening instead of being forced to constantly play forwards. Playing an absolutely wonderful through ball over the top of the defense to set your striker loose is now a moment of brilliant execution more than just a decision that you have made. The delicate little flicks and chips also become a point of pride and a moment to savour." 

Farat says crossing and shooting are the biggest challenges when it comes to adapting, but that it's worth taking time to master both. "Hitting the goal is the first thing that you must try and do, so inevitability there is a lot of shots which go straight at the keeper. Eventually though, you do develop a sense of control and can pick out the corners of the goal, both from close range and from distance. When you do score a goal from 35 yards out though it is a rarity and something to treasure."

If you're planning to adopt this method, be sure to read his impassioned, convincing impressions in full.

A tip for the one thing you definitely don't want to do in new FIFA 17? Fork out more than £500 on virtual players. But you mightn't have a choice if you wish to build the ultimate Ultimate Team.

Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar+'s sports editor, obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB – and very occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym. Namely: Bill Bryson, Pitch Perfect, and the Streets Of Rage series. I have two kids who aren't quite old enough to play Madden yet. Soon, though…