In this week’s Backpage, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross reveals his favourite online team, and how you can use them to get success in Seasons.
Regular readers of the Backpage will know that I used Russian Premier Division side Anzhi Makhachkala a lot in Online Seasons mode last year and, after I figured out how to set them up in a way that worked best for my style of play, they took me all the way to the Division 1 title.
Since then there have been a few changes at Anzhi that have bumped them back up to being a four star team in FIFA 13, but they’re still a cracking club to use and we’ll look at why in next week’s Backpage.
For now I want to focus on another club that I’ve been playing as online in FIFA 13 Seasons, why I think you should pick them and how you can get the best from their squad. With the exception of my FUT club they’re my favourite team to use online at the moment… it’s RSC Anderlecht.
They’re just 3.5 stars, so if you select them for a Seasons match you’ll find yourself up against teams like Celtic, Norwich, Reading, Southampton and Wigan. All good teams but most of them lack genuine pace – particularly at the back – and that’s great news for Anderlecht players because the Belgian club has an abundance of it. If you like your teams quick and strong, you should definitely check them out right away.
Here’s how I set them up…
First off, I play with the 4-4-2 Diamond wide, or the 4-1-2-1-2 in old money. This is my test formation whenever I’m having a look at a club to see how they feel, because I’m so familiar with the shape and that allows me to focus on whether or not the players are any good. Once I’ve worked that out I’ll often have a tinker to see if I can find a formation that works better, but with Anderlecht the standard 4-4-2 Diamond wide is just fine.
GK – Silvio Proto
With the formation sorted it’s on to the squad and my first decision is an easy one; Proto is comfortably the best keeper at the club so he keeps the No.1 shirt.
RB – Guillaume Gillet
If you have a flick through the options then you might be tempted to drop Gillet and go for Odoi, who is a lot quicker, but I have other plans for him that we’ll look at it a minute. Because of that Gillet stays at RB and, although he’s slower than I would like, he’s decent in the air and has good Stamina. He’s certainly more defensive than attacking, but that’s fine as you’ll be going forward much more often with your left-back…
LB – Behrang Safari
With 87 for Acceleration and 89 for Sprint Speed, Safari is a huge assets on the left of the defence. His pace has saved me many times and he’s great going forward too, so much so that he can also play as the LM.
RCB – Cheikhou Kouyate
If you’ve been playing FUT 13 or following my tips on players to sign in Career Mode then you’ll already know about Kouyate. In case you’ve missed him he’s an awesome centre-back who boasts 78 for Acceleration, a Sprint Speed of 85 and Strength stat of 88. Oh and he’s 6ft 3in tall. Not many strikers get the better of him at 3.5 star level.
LCB – Dennis Odoi
Although Odoi is in the squad as an RB, a quick flick through his profile reveals that he can also play as a centre-back. That’s great news, because if you combine his 81 Acceleration and 81 Sprint Speed with the stats we just looked at for Kouyate then you’ve got an extremely fast centre-back pairing. He is a little on the short side for a central defender, but I combat this by using Kouyate to contest any high balls.
CDM – Bedi Mbenza
Lucas Biglia plays the holding role for Anderlecht in real life and – with an Overall of 77 – he’s one of the highest-rated players in the squad. But I like to set Anderlecht up to be as fast as possible so that I can take advantage of some of the slower 3.5 stars teams I’ll play against, and Biglia is even slower than keeper Silvio Proto. Mbenza is nowhere near as good as Biglia technically, but he’s faster, stronger, better in the air and much bigger so the two players offer very different things and you should go for the one that best suits how you intend to play. All I need my CDM to do is get in the way as quickly as possible then pass to one of my more creative players, so it’s Mbenza for me.
RM – Ronald Vargas
There are a few options at RM but I like Vargas the best by far. He’s not electric for a winger – he has 81 for Acceleration and a Sprint Speed of 76 – but he has great Ball Control, 81 for Dribbling, a five star weak foot and four-star skills.
LM – Milan Jovanovic
Ex-Liverpool star Jovanovic is a strong all round attacker at this level, with many key attributes up in the high 70s. Giant forward Kanu could take the LM role or there’s Iakovenko, but Jovanovic works best for me and seems that bit more reliable when shooting from inside the box.
CAM – Fernando Canesin
Brazilian attacking midfielder Canesin feels really responsive on the ball and has the Acceleration and Sprint Speed to evade his markers and get into good positions. There are so many decent players I could pick to play CAM, but I tend to start with Canesin then sub him once he begins to tire late game.
RS – Cyriac
The obvious choice here is not Tom De Sutter, who starts by default, but Matias Suarez who you’ll find in the reserves. Suarez is a class player but I don’t start him purely because Cyriac is that bit faster. The Ivorian striker has 91 for Acceleration and 89 for Sprint Speed, so he’s a real problem for any sluggish defenders. He’s not as clinical as Suarez, but I’ve had a lot of joy using Cyriac to run a defence ragged for an hour before bringing on Suarez to offer something different.
LS – Dieumerci Mbokani
Mbokani is a fantastic striker at this level because he’s quick, strong, decent in the air, good technically and a powerful finisher. He’s the perfect partner for Cyriac but you’ve always got the option to go for Suarez if you find he suits your style of play better.
So that’s the shape and the team. My game plan with Anderlecht is simply to take advantage of that pace and power up front as often as possible, so I’m always looking to play passes in behind a defence. Of course this does mean I give possession away more often than I usually would, but the speed and power of my defence allows me to take more risks in attack as I can recover quickly when I do lose the ball.
I’ve had a lot of success with Anderlecht so far – just one defeat to date and I’m blaming the dog for that as he kept sitting in front of my TV. Yep, that’s right, I just blamed the dog.
Anyway, give Anderlecht a go and see what you think, and don’t forget to pop back here next week when we’ll take another look at Anzhi plus two other clubs that are great to use online.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here next week.