In the final part of his guide, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at the key attributes and ideal players for each of the attacking positions in the game.
What skills should a central midfielder have? What makes one CAM better than another? Should wingers be inverted? Is Finishing more important than Sprint Speed for strikers?
These are the kind of questions I’ll hopefully answer in part two of my guide to positions and attributes, which focuses on the attacking players in your team. If you missed part one – which looked at the essential skills for defensive players – then you can check that out here.
As with part one I’m confident that many of the attributes I consider to be key to each attacking position in FIFA 13 will prove to be just as important when the new game comes out at the end of next month.
Last time we finished by looking at the CDM position, so let’s kick off this week’s Backpage with what I think of as the first of the attacking positions…
The attributes I look for in a CM are dictated by the formation I’m using and the role I want the CM to fill. If I’m playing with a pair of central midfielders – like in the standard 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 – then I’ll pick one CM with more defensive attributes and one that can add to the attack. I also go for a more defensive CM if I’m playing with a formation that has a lone central midfielder with no CDM behind, like the standard 4-3-3 or the 4-5-1 Attack. The defensive attributes of a CM are very similar to the CDM position so, since we’re concentrating on attacking this week, let’s look at the skills I think are most important in creative CMs.
Since an attacking CM’s main job is to create, the first stats I look for are Vision, Long Passing, Short Passing and Att Position.
Vision is all about your player’s ability to see the target for the pass. You might be able to spot it from where you’re sitting with your Tele Broadcast camera, but the player you’re controlling has a field of vision dictated by how high his Vision attribute is. The higher the number, the more accurate the pass you’re trying to play is likely to be so it’s no coincidence that the best passers in the game have a Vision score into the 90s.
Long Passing is linked closely to Vision for obvious reasons; the higher the number the more likely you are to make a successful long pass as long as your player has good Vision. I play more long passes with my CM than any other player in my team, as he’s the one I use to try lofted through balls or to switch the play out wide, so for me it’s a very important skill.
Equally as important in my opinion is Short Passing. While my CDM – if I’m using one – may start a lot of attacks, the CM is more heavily involved once I’m in the opponent’s half and his main jobs are to keep the ball moving and pick out attackers in good positions, so he receives and makes a lot of short passes.
One of the attributes that I feel really compliments a CM’s ability to consistently get the ball and make good short passes is Att Position. This attribute shows the player’s ability to spot open space and take up good positions when you’re not controlling him, so the higher this number is the more likely your player will be to regularly receive the ball in attacking positions that could give you an advantage. If your player is a skilled passer with excellent Att Position then he is going to cause the opposition lots of problems.
Ball Control is also important for a CM as – like the CDM and CAM – he’ll regularly be surrounded by players so it’s vital his first touch is good enough to control the ball quickly and keep possession.
The top players here are Xavi, Andrea Pirlo and Cesc Fabregas. Remember, if you can’t afford those players then base your searches on their attributes and try to find cheaper alternatives within your budget and relative to the level you’re playing at.
CAM, RAM, LAM, CF, RF & LF
I’ve put these positions together because a lot of the attributes I look for in a CAM and CF crossover, while RAMs, LAMs, RFs and LFs generally operate like slighter wider CAMs and CFs. The main difference is that I find Long Shots to be more important for CAMs, RAMs and LAMs, and Finishing to be more relevant to CFs, RFs and LFs.
Long Shots is all about your player’s ability to score from outside the box, while Finishing deals specifically with his shooting ability inside the area. CFs tend to venture into the penalty area a little more than CAMs for me, so that’s why I like them to have better Finishing than Long Shots and vice versa.
For the other attributes I take the key skills from the CM position minus Long Passing, which doesn’t seem as important to a CAM or CF, then look for players with good Dribbling ability and decent numbers for the attributes related to that, like Balance, Agility| and Reactions. I find that my CAM and CF regularly have the opportunity to run directly at the back four with the ball at their feet so strong Dribbling skills pay off here, especially when combined with Balance, Agility and Reactions as they all help to make the player feel more responsive.
Some of the CAMs I recommend are David Silva, Santi Cazorla and Isco. At CF I like Lionel Messi – of course – Gareth Bale, Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez – who both have good Finishing and Long Shots – and Giuseppe Rossi.
RM & LM
My right and left midfielders have one main job; getting the ball into the box. No surprise then that their most important attribute for me is Crossing, which is why I always play RMs and LMs on the same side as their strong foot. This makes it quicker and easier for me to get the ball in, as I don’t have to turn back on to my player’s strong foot then go for the cross, and it seems to make the quality of the crosses consistently better than when using a player’s weak foot.
After Crossing I then look for Dribbling, Acceleration, Sprint Speed, Strength and Stamina. Dribbling, and attributes that help like Agility, Balance and Reactions, really makes a difference in the wide positions as my players will often have a marker to beat before they can cross. Once they’re past the defender then Acceleration will get them up to their top speed quickly, and Sprint Speed will determine how fast that is and whether or not they will be caught.
Strength is also an asset here as the higher the number the less likely the player will be to get nudged off the ball, but there aren’t loads of wingers with all of the attributes above AND Strength, so they can be tricky to find. In general a Strength rating above 60 is okay for a winger and anything in the mid 70s is excellent.
Stamina is also going to be an asset if you focus most of your play through your wingers, as they’re going to have a lot of running to do. Generally I try to avoid sprinting back with them to help with defending, which really helps Stamina levels.
Jefferson Farfan and Antonio Valencia are RMs with all of the above. Players like Arjen Robben and Angel di Maria have higher Overall ratings but they’re both left-footed, although Robben would be an excellent RW as we’ll see in a minute.
At LM there are loads of great players like Franck Ribery, Eden Hazard and Marco Reus, but many of them are right-footed which rules them out at LM for me because I want a lefty crossing the ball in. Again though, all make great LWs. Instead I go for players like Michel Bastos, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah and Cristian Rodriguez, or in Career Mode I sign left-footed RMs like Robben and Di Maria and play them there. The same goes for Ribery, Hazard and Reus; in Career Mode I’d be happy to have them at RM as they’re all comfortable there.
RW & LW
Players in these positions should have all of the attributes that RMs and LMs have with one main exception; Finishing is usually more important than Crossing. I say usually because it does depend on your play style – if you’re using a lone striker that’s great in the air then you’ll want your RW and LW to be able to cross with their strong foot rather than get into the box to score themselves, so in that case you’d stick with the same attributes that RMs and LMs have.
A lot of people use RWs and LWs as wide strikers though, so Finishing should be high on the most-wanted list of attributes. It can also be really useful to have inverted wingers here, so RWs and LWs that play on the opposite side to their strong foot like some of the players we looked at a moment ago, as you can create excellent shooting opportunities by cutting inside and going for goal.
A high Weak Foot rating and four or five star Skills can also really help to get you past your marker and into a good position to have a go at goal, and the Att Position attribute helps too.
Hulk is a really good RW even though he only has a two-star right foot – his rocket of a left makes up for it – and I also like Pedro, who doesn’t have great Strength but does have a five-star Weak Foot and can do four-star Skill Moves. In Career Mode Arjen Robben is an excellent when moved to RW as his Finishing is 84.
At LW there’s Cristiano Ronaldo of course, and I also like Ezequiel Lavezzi, Stephan El Shaarawy – despite his Strength rating of 54 – and in Career Mode I’d happily play Marco Reus, Franck Ribery or Eden Hazard there as I mentioned a moment ago.
I’m addicted to signing strikers in Career Mode and in FUT 13, so I’d like to think that by now I should have a pretty good idea of what makes a great goal grabber.
Finishing is king for me. I’ve scored so many crucial goals with great finishers that just wouldn’t have been possible with strikers that have less for Finishing but a higher rating in other areas that many players see as more desirable, like Acceleration and Sprint Speed. Those two attributes are also very important, but Finishing is absolutely top priority when I’m shopping for a striker.
Once I’ve found a good finisher then I’m interested in how fast he is, as speed really causes problems for defenders. Again Acceleration is more important for me than Sprint Speed – as nine times out of ten I just need a short burst to get away rather than sprint over distance – but it’s nice to have both of course.
I also like strikers to be fairly tall, so Height is high on my list and with that should ideally come Strength. Both of these help my striker to win headers, and the extra Strength makes it easier for me to keep the ball when under close pressure from a defender.
Then I look for Dribbling and Ball Control, since I’ll often get the ball with very little space to move in, and I find Att Position helps too. I also really like strikers to have a four or five star Weak Foot rating, as that gives me more options with shooting. If I can find a player with all of the above and good Stamina then that’s a real bonus, especially if I’m going to be attempting lots of bursts past the defence.
Ideal STs for me are players like Falcao, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski.
Okay, that completes the Positions and Attributes guide. If you’d like to add anything then please comment below or tweet me @darren_cross