Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross reveals how he won the FIFA 12 H2H Division 1 title, and how you can too…
Last weekend I finally managed to win my first Division 1 league title in the brilliantly addictive Head To Head Seasons mode.
This came as a complete surprise to me because I’d only just managed to avoid relegation in the previous season, surviving mainly because I got lucky in my last couple of games. My most recent campaign was a different story though. I started it off by looking for a new club to use, in the hope that I might unearth a gem and have a smoother path to Division 1 safety. Team picked, I went straight into a game and, although I lost to a single goal, I dominated the match and felt that – with a bit of tweaking – I could be on to something.
Seven wins in a row and 25 goals later, I’d bagged my first ever league title. This, remember, after escaping the drop by the skin of my teeth last year. Best of all – and at the risk of sounding like, well, an idiot – it was really easy.
I did it with Russian Premier Division side Anzhi Makhachkala, and in this week’s Backpage I’ll tell you why I picked them and how I set them up, so that you can do the same.
Pre-update, Anzhi were a 4 star club. There were plenty of popular 4 star teams out there so, more often than not, you’d be matched against teams with the same rating. Occasionally though, especially if you were playing very early or very late in the day, you could find yourself taking on a 3.5 star or 4.5 star club. At the top end of the scale that could mean facing the likes of Napoli, Dortmund, PSG or Juventus – difficult opposition.
But during the Russian transfer window Anzhi sold winger Balazs Dzsudzsak to Dinamo Moscow and forward Diego Tardelli to Al-Gharafa, two of their better players in terms of Overall rating, and so they lost half a star.
Samuel Eto’o + 3 star defenders = goals.
It’s also possible to pick a very solid side, as you’ll see when we take a look at how I line them up in the next section. The keeper is good, the defence can be set up with pace, they’ve got quality through the centre of midfield, a decent dribbler/crosser out wide and one of the best strikers in the world up front. Sounds great, right?
SO THAT’S WHY. HERE’S HOW…
Those of you who have visited The Backpage before may have spotted me banging on about my 4-1-5 formation (if not you can find it here) It’s a real cracker and Anzhi have the right players for it, but I actually used the good old 4-1-2-1-2 to win the Division 1 title, as I wanted to get straight into a match without too much initial tinkering.
I liked the way they felt with that shape, so I went back into the squad screen and moved a few players around to get the strongest line-up possible…
GOALKEEPER – Gabulov
Pomazan starts in goal by default, but Gabulov is a better choice. He has a 77 Overall, compared to Pomazan’s 69, and can be found sitting on the bench.
RIGHT-BACK – Angbwa
He’s by far the quickest of all the Anzhi defenders, so those of you who like your fastest defenders in the centre may want to play him as a CB. Personally I prefer to use his speed going forward, where his Early Crosser trait often helps me out.
CENTRE-BACKS – Joao Carlos and Jucilei
Carlos starts in the RCB role and that’s where he stays for me, no need to swap him for anyone. But I ditch his partner Gadzhibekov altogether and drop midfielder Jucilei back into defence. It’s certainly not his natural position, but I find that his height and pace really help me out at the back. He can operate comfortably as a right-back as well, so you might use him there and move Angbwa into the middle. Just be aware that if you do that you’re sacrificing height, as Angbwa is only 5ft 9in.
LEFT-BACK – Tagirbekov
I stick with the default option here. He’s a centre-back really and is also right-footed, so far from ideal, but he’s the best available in my opinion.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD – Roberto Carlos
You’ll find the 79-rated Roberto Carlos in the ressies, possibly because he plans to retire at the end of the season. For now though he is still top quality and must be in the team. He’s got a bit of pace, excellent technical stats and a free-kick rating of 88, as well as the FK Specialist specialty.
RIGHT MIDFIELD – Mirzabekov
Moving to 4-1-2-1-2 from Anzhi’s default puts Ahmedov at right-midfield. He’s a holding midfield player so I always swap him out and bring in Mirzabekov. He’s one of the lowest-rated players in the squad, but he has a Balance stat of 90 and that makes him feel quite responsive, which I like.
ATTACKING MIDFIELD – Boussoufa
What a player. Boussoufa is quick, responsive and a great dribbler with brilliant ball control, but best of all he can do 5 star skills and has a 5 star weak foot. Anzhi’s second best player, behind Eto’o.
LEFT MIDFIELD – Zhirkov
The ex-Chelsea star is easily the best option on the left. He has an Overall of 81, thanks largely to his excellent technical abilities, his dribbling and crossing are excellent, and he’s also useful with long-range shots.
RIGHT STRIKER – Eto’o
He starts on the left but I shift him over to the right side, you’ll see why in a minute. I doubt I need to sell his strengths to anyone but, just in case, how does 90 for Finishing, 92 for Acceleration and a Sprint Speed of 94 sound?
LEFT STRIKER – Carcela-Gonzalez
This guy is my secret weapon. Yes he’s out of position at left striker, but having a naturally left-footed forward play on his dominant side has produced goals, goals and more goals for me. I can’t stress enough how important I think it is to have a left-footed striker on the left and a right-footed striker on the right. It’s something I try to do with every team I use and the pacey Carcela-Gonzalez is perfect for the role with Anzhi.
In my seven-game win streak I played against Celtic (3-0), Derby (4-2), Australia (2-1), Anderlecht (5-1), CSKA (5-0) Rennes (3-0) and Fortuna Dusseldorf (3-1). That final game to clinch the title pitted Eto’o against defenders from the second tier of German football.
I hope that’s convinced you to go and try out this line-up with Anzhi for yourself. Be quick though. Samba isn’t in Anzhi’s squad yet, as the Russian window only closed recently, and I’m pretty sure he’ll bump them back up to 4 stars, so make the most of your Eto’o advantage while you still can.
As always, thanks very much for reading and feel free to add me on Twitter @Darren_Cross where I’ll do my best to keep you updated with everything FIFA related.
READ PREVIOUS BACKPAGE ARTICLES:
Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross returns with more top FIFA 12 prospects for you to sign up!
Darren Cross looks at how the 3-5-2 formation could be your key to FUT 12 success.