In 1993, EA Sports created the ever popular FIFA series, and consequently birthed a new group of football geniuses: the FIFA Generation. Over the last 20 or so years, we’ve played for countless hours, and compiled an incomprehensible amount of football knowledge. For the first time ever, we will share some golden secrets of the beautiful game. Our advice applies to analysts, managers and owners alike. There is literally no aspect of football our expertise doesn’t extend to.
1. 4-4-2 is an outdated formation, and if that’s how you set your team up, then you’re an idiot. Who plays with two strikers anymore? Nonsense. 4-2-3-1 is much more suited to the modern game. It allows your team to play at a faster tempo, with the attacking three interchanging at will. We didn’t copy José, he copied us. We swear.
2. Believe it or not, there is a difference between RAM, RW and RM. Likewise with LAM, LW and LM. We are aware they play relatively in the same position of the pitch, and are expected to do more or less the same things. However, there are subtle differences, and we’ve just decided to keep them secret due to the gravity of the information. You’ll just have to trust us.
3. Paul Pogba may just be the second coming of Jesus Christ, sign him at all costs. We’re pretty sure there is nothing he cannot do. Shoot? Check. Pass? Check. Tackle? Check. Tell Fergie to go fuck himself? Check.
4. How would we fix Manchester United? Glad you asked. Manchester United’s success in the Ferguson period coincided with our impressionable youth, and the success of our beloved FIFA. So naturally, we’re all United fans. It’s an easy solution, we don’t see what all the fuss is about. Sign Tony Kroos, along with the vast majority of Dortmund’s squad. Boom, problem solved.
5. On the subject of transfers, we don’t see why anyone claims it’s so hard to sign a player. In our experience, the process only takes a matter of minutes. All you need to do is offer roughly £10 million more than what the player is actually worth, and any club will be willing to sell. The player doesn’t want to join your club, leave his family, or move from the beautiful Catalonia region to rainy London? No problem. Offer him astronomical wages and a 20% goal bonus, and he won’t be long changing his tune. Running a club is rather easy.
5. Ronaldo plays up front. Never mind the tactics of Champions League winning coaches such as Sir Alex Ferguson, José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, who have played him on the wing. Don’t even take notice of his sensational goal record from that position. It’s quite obvious that Ronaldo’s pace will allow you to get in behind any defence. Just pop a ball over the top and – goal. Works every time. The way football should be played.
6. Under no circumstances should Barcelona ever start Sergio Busquets. What’s that you say, he’s in there to defend and break up play? Rubbish – the only play he breaks up is Barcelona’s. If you start Xavi, Iniesta and Fàbregas, you’re never going to lose the ball, so there will be no need to defend anyway. You’re welcome, Luis Enrique.
7. Over our long years of experience, it’s become obvious that the box-to-box midfielder is dying. When we hear box-to-box, the combative Darren Fletcher comes to mind, that Scottish moxie willing him up and down the pitch. Nowadays, it seems midfielders are limited to only one side of the pitch. CDM’s get nosebleeds once they cross the halfway line, and CAM’s can’t even spell “defend”. We yearn for a time when midfielders were the whole package. If you find one, hold onto him for dear life, make him feel special.
8. If ever phased with a selection decision, always pick the faster player. In fact, the only thing that truly matters in the game of football is speed. Technical ability, great reading of the game and influential passing means very little if the player can’t run really, really fast. We advise you pick the fastest players in every position. Even the goalkeepers- you can never be too careful.
9. For the love of all that is pure and holy, never, ever, play the offside trap. We’ve come to loath it, and recommend it be henceforth known as the “death trap”. Why, you ask? There’s always that one little humorist ready to make us look like fools, charging out of the backline like barbarians, as he infuriatingly waltzes in behind for the sophisticated finish. You could say, we really fucking hate the offside trap.
10. Confused at when you should play three at the back? It’s simple. As soon as you go one goal down in the match, whether it’s the 3rd minute or 83rd minute, immediately switch to formations to play three at the back. You may make a substitution to complement this change, but it’s not necessary. Just play your fastest fullback on the wing, and the slower one centre-back. Our statisticians have spent excruciating hours figuring out that with this tactic, you will draw level 50% of the time, compared to not drawing level only 50% of the time. Hours upon excruciating hours (two games of FIFA) they spent.
11. Contrary to popular belief, Emile Heskey should be played off of a target man, not act as the actual target man. He never took our advice, look where it got him.
12. Barcelona’s “Tiki-Taka” is fine, if you like that sort of thing. We’ve come to find it a bit boring and even soporific. We all know that Bayern Munich’s high intensity, counter attacking football is the modern way to play, and win. We knew it before Munich did, we were saying it for years. Where do you think they got the idea from?
So there you have it, only some of our reservoir of knowledge. Consider yourselves enlightened. Having read this your football understanding rating is holding steady at 77. You’ll need to put in the hours to get that number up.