Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at how you can use the LT/L2 button to give you the edge in defence and attack…
I think the left trigger of my Xbox controller is on its last legs. It's sticking and squeaking and sometimes not working at all. That's bad news as it's a button I use all of the time when I play FIFA 13, and not because I'm addicted to busting out skill moves.
For me it’s an essential button.
I think some of the functions available with LT/L2 can make a huge difference to defending and attacking, but I get the impression that many of them are underused. For example a lot of my friends that play FIFA 13 regularly didn’t know that LT/L2 can help with control, or that it’s also useful for winning headers. I’ve seen online players miss crosses that they could have met with a diving header, or make their last defender turn the wrong way because they’re not jockeying the man with the ball.
So in this week's Backpage we're going to look at how you can use this button to give you the advantage, both with and without the ball.
Defending With LT/L2
LT/L2 can really help you out when you’re defending high balls, like crosses or lofted through passes.
If you hold the button down and combine it with either the pass or shoot buttons, to direct the ball to a teammate or clear it, then your player will make every effort to take the ball as early as possible.
Now I know that initially that doesn’t sound too different to the action your player would take if you weren’t holding LT/L2, but just try it out and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find that your player will usually be the first in the air – often crucial in deciding aerial battles – and will try anything from a power header to an overhead kick if it means getting to the ball before the opponent.
I now defend every cross into my box with the LT and shoot button combo, which is really the no-nonsense approach. What I’m telling my player to do is get to the ball first and hit it as far away from trouble as possible. I do exactly the same thing when defending lofted through balls and it really is very effective.
LT/L2 can also help reduce the chances of your defenders taking a bad first touch, either from a pass or when picking up a loose ball. It dramatically improves ball control and it’s most noticeable when receiving a bouncing, spinning ball, or one that’s coming to your player at an awkward height. Simply hold LT/L2 with no other input on the controller and your first touch should be far better.
You can actually use the left stick to help you turn with more control as you receive the ball, but we’ll cover that in the attacking section because we still have jockeying and cancelling to talk about here.
I questioned whether or not to include jockeying in this week’s column, as it doesn’t jump out as an advanced technique as much as some of the other things we’ll cover here do, but I do know plenty of players that still don’t do it. They use the contain function instead.
To me that’s a kind of auto-jockey. It works well but I much prefer having exact control of my defending player while still facing the play, which is exactly what jockeying allows me to do. When you’re controlling the defender closest to the ball, hold LT/L2 to start the jockey. Now you can precisely dictate the movement of your player and close the distance as quickly as you see fit, which means you can react faster to the movement of your opponent.
If you hold RT/R2 while doing this then you’ll do a running jockey, which you’ll need if the other guy is trying to sprint past you.
Finally for defending, LT/L2 is half of the button combo you need to perform a cancel move. If you press LT/L2 together with RT/R2 and no other input on the controller then your player will stop what he’s doing. That’s a useful tool to have when you want to let a ball run out of play rather than risk nudging it just before it crosses the line, giving possession to the other team.
Attacking With LT/L2
In attack, LT/L2 can help you score goals that would otherwise not be possible.
For example, let's say you've whipped a ball into the box and
it's passing in front of your striker at around waist height. If you hold LT/L2 while hitting the shoot button then there's a good chance your player will launch himself at it headfirst. Had you not held LT/L2 here then it's likely you wouldn't have made contact with the cross. Plus diving headers look great, right?
You'll also need to hold LT/L2 to hit other flair shots, like overhead kicks and side volleys. This is useful when a flair shot is the only way you're going to get a strike away, like if you have your back to the goal as a cross comes over, or if you need to take a volley early before the defender gets to you.
As with defending, LT/L2 can also help you get to headers first.
I use it when I’m attacking any high balls into the box, along with my usual tactic of quickly selecting the striker the cross is going to then running between the defender and the ball. I score quite a lot of goals from headers this way as I usually get into the air early and make good contact with the ball.
LT/L2 can also improve your ball control in attack, and there are three main situations when I use the button to help me out here.
Firstly to reduce the risk of a bad touch, which is what we talked about in the defending section. If the ball looks difficult to control, or if the pitch is wet, then I’ll hold LT/L2 as I receive it to give my player the best possible chance of controlling it.
Secondly I’ll often use LT/L2 with the left stick to turn or change direction as I receive a pass. This usually gives my player more control over the ball as he turns than if I wasn’t holding LT/L2, and it’s possible to come up with some really nice turns that can completely wrong foot an opponent.
Finally it improves my first touch when I’m trying to hold the ball up while facing away from goal. For example, if I have a striker receiving the ball while under pressure on the edge of the area with his back to goal, I’ll hold LT/L2 and point the left stick away from the opposition players, usually back in the direction the pass came from. This gives me the best chance of taking a good touch and bringing the ball away from danger, so I can hold it up and wait for support.
And then there's dribbling.
While most people know that LT/L2 combined with RT/R2 makes your player enter face-up dribbling – which is something I do a lot – not many seem to use the slow dribble function.
You can slow dribble by holding LT/L2 when in possession and moving with the left stick. This gives you more control over the direction of the dribble, so it’s really useful for sharper turns and generally avoiding tackles.
Now you know why my left trigger is on the way out. Needless to say I'll be replacing the pad ASAP, as it would seem strange to play a game of FIFA 13 without being able to do all of the above now.
Have a go at some of the things we’ve looked at and see what you think. Just don’t blame me if your button wears out that bit quicker.
Thanks for reading and see you next week.