Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross shares his all-left-footed Bundesliga squad and looks at how to use it to score more goals against online opponents.
Way back in March I wrote a Backpage column that covered four great techniques for creating shooting chances when playing EA SPORTS FIFA 14 online. One of those was the Weak Foot Turn, which is a move that involves shaping to shoot with a well-known player’s strong foot before turning back on to their perceived weak foot. The idea behind this is that, because the player is high-profile, you can assume that many opponents will know which foot he is dominant with so they’ll naturally position their defenders to prevent shots from that side. This often leaves a space to the opposite side that a forward with a four star weak foot or above can take advantage of.
Since writing that column I’ve noticed that, when I use players whose dominant foot is unknown, opponents tend to protect against right-footed shots more than left-footed ones. There are a lot more righties than lefties so it makes sense, but this gave me an idea.
What if I built a FUT squad made up entirely of left-footed players that aren’t perhaps as well known as the high-profile stars whose dominant foot is more obvious?
Would I get more opportunities to shoot?
Could it work?
Since assembling a whole squad of lefties, which is a mix of silver and gold Bundesliga players, I’m certain I consistently have more shooting opportunities than I would usually get in games because opponents do seem to leave more space to the left than the right when the player in possession isn’t well known for being dominant with one foot. As well as shooting more and consequently scoring more, this is easily the most interesting and most fun squad I’ve used in FUT 14 so far. It’s a very different way to play and a very satisfying one, especially when you get good results against all-star teams, which seems to happen more than usual with this squad.
With all that in mind, I wanted to share my squad with you so that you can put it together or use it as inspiration to build a different left-footed version of your own. Now is a great time to build and experiment with new squads in FUT as most players are much cheaper to sign up compared to their prices a few months ago, so it won’t cost you too many coins to give this a go and you could end up with your new favourite FUT squad like I have.
Here’s how my Lefty XI line-up…
There’s no practical reason to go for a left-footed goalkeeper as you’re not likely to be busting out too many fakes or turns with him, but I like consistency and felt I couldn’t really call this a Lefty XI with a right-footer in the sticks. Weidenfeller is a very reliable keeper, but if you’re going for a Bundesliga team then you may as well sign righty Manuel Neuer if you have the coins – he’s the best GK in the game for me.
I use both full-backs to attack quite a lot with this team, and with right-back Sakai that usually means cutting inside on to his dominant left foot. I find this catches out a lot of opponents who expect me to pass down the line to the winger – especially if they see the RM making a run – so the step inside on to Sakai’s best side often opens up space, which he’s comfortable enough to surge into thanks to his decent dribbling ability. He’s also useful in advanced crossing positions as players naturally try to prevent me whipping the ball in with Sakai’s right, again leaving space to the left. He has a five-star weak foot too, which is a good option if it seems like the opponent has figured out the lefty game plan.
Although centre-back may seem similar to the GK position in that you won’t be throwing out fakes and turns too often, I’ve found it useful to have left-footed CBs when attacking corners. Sometimes, following a scramble, the ball will break to one of my CBs and I’ve scored a few goals by shaping to shoot with the right before turning left. There are many good left-footed centre-backs to choose from in the Bundesliga and Dante is arguably the best, but he’s very popular in FUT so I felt everyone I played would know which foot he’s dominant with. Garcia is a good alternative as he’s quick, strong and 6ft 3in tall.
Next to Garcia I go with the even taller John Brooks. The USA defender’s profile definitely raised when he scored the winning goal against Ghana at the World Cup, but I haven’t seen anyone else using him yet and I doubt the fact that he’s left footed is common knowledge. He’s also pretty quick for a CB and wins almost everything in the air.
In the left-back and left wing positions you’re probably not going to catch too many opponents out, as they will naturally expect your LB and LM to be left footed. For that reason you may be best to go with right footers that aren’t high-profile superstars, but in the interests of me being consistent with the left-footed thing I’ve picked Ricardo Rodriguez. He had an excellent World Cup which definitely made more fans take notice, but again I rarely see players using him and, on the odd occasion when he’s popped up in a central position following a corner or a long period of possession, I’ve been able to turn on to his left and test the keeper with solid shots. My favourite LB is David Alaba, but he’s in almost every Bundesliga team I’ve played against.
Boka buzzes around in front of my defence at pace, breaking up attacks and starting moves of my own with accurate short passes. His shooting isn’t brilliant so I tend to avoid long shots with him and look to pass if I can, but he’s a good dribbler and I have used that to turn on to his stronger side in more dangerous advanced areas.
Luiz Gustavo is an excellent holding midfielder but he’s obviously very well known – again he’s in a lot of Bundesliga teams I play against – so I go for Denis Aogo instead. Aogo is quicker than Gustavo, he’s a better dribbler and he can pass just as effectively, so playing him instead of the Brazil star works well.
Sam is extremely quick, an excellent dribbler and can hit decent shots on goal. He has a three star right foot so I try to avoid playing crosses or taking shots with that if I can, and instead go infield to link up with the central players or turn back on to his left foot to whip a cross in. Xherdan Shaqiri would be my first choice left-footed right winger, but everyone knows he’s a lefty so Sam is a great alternative.
Not many players use Juan Arango and that’s probably because he isn’t the quickest – he only has 63 pace so getting away from opponents can be difficult at times. I mostly use him because his free-kicks are incredible and I do seem to pick up quite a lot of fouls after turning past defenders around the box. If you prefer pace then Leverkusen’s Andres Guardado might be a better fit for you.
I like both the CAM and the ST to have a dominant left foot and good weak foot ratings, so I am not limited to always shooting with the left, and Kruse has a four star right foot. His left is awesome though – I’ve scored plenty of goals with him after creating just enough space to let a shot rip from close range or further out. He doesn’t have blistering pace, but that doesn’t affect me too much as I rarely dribble long distances with him or have him run in behind defences.
Son is my team’s goal machine. As well as a being a very good finisher inside the box with his left, his five star right foot is almost as lethal and he’s a lot more effective in the air than I thought he would be. His 79 dribbling makes him feel very comfortable on the ball, and he has just enough pace to get away from defenders.
So that’s my all left-footed Bundesliga team. It’d be great to hear how you get on if you do decide to try something like this, or if you have similar one-footed teams from other leagues – so please leave a comment below or tweet me @darren_cross to share with other FIFA fans.
As always, thanks very much for reading.