Defenders in FIFA 15 are better in the air than in previous versions of the game, especially when they have time to position themselves for a headed clearance, so scoring from crosses can rightly be a challenge.
But a crossing-focused playing style can still be a really effective way to make goals, especially against teams using narrow formations or wing-backs, so this week we’re going to look at three things I do to increase my chances of finding a team-mate with a ball into the box.
1. DO SOME PREP
There are a number of things you can do before kick-off that can boost your chances of converting crosses into goals. Firstly, make sure that the team you’re playing as have got players that will suit a style of attacking that’s focused on crossing.
For reasons that will soon become clear when we move on to tips two and three, I use fast, skilful wingers with good dribbling and crossing attributes. I also play them on the same side of the pitch as the foot they’re dominant with, as this enables me to deliver accurate crosses quicker than if my wingers were inverted because I don’t need to check back before crossing.
Because of the type of cross I use the most I don’t need a giant striker leading the line, but physicality can be a useful asset for this style of play so if your forwards have got a bit of strength then that’s a bonus. Ideally your striker or strikers will also have enough pace to get beyond a defence, even if that’s just acceleration to make space over short bursts, and of course the heading and finishing ability to put the ball in the back of the net.
If you’re using a FUT or Seasons team with players that have all those things, your final job before heading out on to the pitch is to choose a formation that will help you create the maximum amount of crossing opportunities. Personally, when I want to cross regularly I pick the wide version of the 4-1-2-1-2, a 4-3-3 or the 4-2-3-1 wide, but the formation you’re most comfortable with will be fine as long as it has wingers and at least one central striker.
With that all sorted it’s time to focus on what you can do on the pitch to boost your chances of turning crosses into goals.
2 GET THE DEFENCE MOVING
This is the biggest change I’ve made to my playing style when it comes to crossing in FIFA 15. In previous versions of the game I’d fancy my chances of getting the ball to a striker in the box from out wide even if the defence were set in good positions to defend the cross, but in FIFA 15 putting a cross in when the other team are already well positioned often results in a clearance and a wasted opportunity.
So now, rather than trying to cross the ball in from deep positions, my game plan is to get the opposition’s backline moving – preferably towards their own goal – by getting my winger past the full-back and in behind the defence as soon as possible.
There are loads of ways to do this. If your wingers are quick and good with the ball at their feet then a simple dribbling technique like the ultra-effective stop and go can help you get past a defender and off into space. Briefly, you can do this by dribbling towards your opponent, stopping for split second by holding LB or L1 then sprinting off again in a slightly different direction. What often happens is the defender will notice you’ve stopped and put their own brakes on, only to be left behind when you instantly sprint off again. It’s a move I use numerous times in every game I play.
It’s worth having a couple of easy skill moves in your locker too, like the chop or the ball roll, as they can help you create space to get past your marker. If you don’t have particularly good dribblers then a one-two can also be a great way to entice a full-back away from the area you want to move into before you receive the pass back.
When I get goal-side of the full-back I head directly towards the box. I find that as soon as I do this, opposition defenders are drawn towards the ball and that often opens up space somewhere in the area. It’s even more effective if I’ve managed to launch an attack on the break, as most of the players in the box will be charging towards the ball or their own goal, which again makes a clearance more difficult once I put the cross in.
When I do that depends on what’s happening in the area.
If I have a forward that’s in line or just behind my winger then I’ll be watching him rather than the player in possession – I don’t usually need to look at my winger as he should be in plenty of space having just got past the full-back. As soon as it looks like the forward is moving or about to move into any kind of space, I go for the cross.
3 CHOOSE THE RIGHT CROSS
Nine times out of ten I go for the low cross, which you can do by double tapping the long pass button when in a crossing position.
I’m sure low crosses move a little quicker in FIFA 15, they seem more whipped to me, and overall I find them the most effective cross type by far. They’re tough to defend against because the ball moves so fast, often getting past a defender before they have a chance to really get in the way, so they’re fantastic for when I need to quickly whip a cross into where my striker is going to be, rather than where he is right at that moment.
If a bunch of attackers and defenders are all charging towards the goal then that’s a lot of bodies the ball can deflect goal wards off, and I’ve scored a number of crucial strikes following goal-line scrambles or unfortunate deflections.
If the box is really packed and I can’t see a clear opportunity to find a team-mate then I will go for the ground cross by triple tapping the long pass button. Again this can be tough to defend against but it’s a little bit more of a gamble compared to the low cross type, as I find it trickier to anticipate exactly where it will go.
The only time I play a regular cross is if I spot an unmarked team-mate in space who I wouldn’t be able to find with a low or ground cross. If that’s the case I press the long pass button once, selecting the right amount of power to clear the defenders between the target player and the ball, but that’s always after I’ve got in behind a full-back and into the box with a winger first.
I’ve definitely found that working to beat the full-back and going directly for the area is more effective than sticking a cross over against a defence that’s already well positioned behind the ball. It’s also a great way to play if, like me, you enjoy using wide formations and wing play sometimes.
Okay, that’s all for this week. Thanks very much for reading and please pop back for more on FIFA 15 from me in the New Year.
Have a great Christmas,
Thanks for reading,