Hello guys. Welcome to the False 9 formation guide! Work is still in progress so be patient. Any tips are welcome!
(I know there are many other examples of the false 9 being deployed before and after this event, but I feel as though this is a great example).
Although not originating from this example, the False 9 rose to international fame when Pep Guardiola achieved European dominance with Catalan giants, Barcelona. Known as a coach who would prefer 10 midfielders over your standard team, Pep tinkered the current Barcelona team to suit his needs. Thankfully, the team already had an immense selection of talent which enabled this tactic to become a success, but the significance of the formation was not only due to the players, but the manager himself.
REAL LIFE BACKGROUND, FORMATION AND GOALS BEHIND THE FORMATION
By adapting the standard 4-3-3 formation, Pep Guardiola's Barcelona tinkered it to perfection, allowing them to play free flowing possession football. In simple terms, the team consisted of a back 4, a midfield 3 and a front 3. However, player positioning and roles allowed the formation to play as 2-1-2-2-1-2 (I know this may be confusing, but the below illustration allows it to be demonstrated a little easier).
As you can see here, the formation itself has many different outlets, specifically for short passes. Using players as an example, Busquets would play as the pivot, almost in between the two centre packs at times, creating an outlet for both centre backs, midfielders and fullbacks to pass to. Messi played as the false 9, the player who made everything tick; most specifically in the final third. The CDM will and CF together will normally have the most passes, as they are the link up between the players around them.
As the image illustrates, the great thing about this formation is that there will always be a player nearby to pass it to. Relying on quick short passes and clever dribbles to dominate possession, the formation creates free flowing, quick possession football, stretching and frustrating the opponents team, retaining the ball and waiting for the perfect opportunity to create a goal scoring chance. Most specifically, the ball is worked along the flanks through the many triangles that are formed with the formation and the players roles. This pulls the opposing players out of position, leading to defensive mistakes and ultimately a chance to create and score goals with ease. Putting it simply, if you have the ball, it is harder for the opponent to score and easier for you to do so.
TL;DR for this section:
Keeps possession, looking to frustrate opponent with short passes
Doesn't force the ball into dangerous situations, plays patient yet keeping the game moving and opponent on their toes
Relies on quick and nimble play
Offensive football (this may be a con to the formation, discussed later)
USING IT IN FIFA
Now, although the formation has achieved crazy positive success in the real world, it is a little harder to replicate in FIFA. Although the game allows you to play around with instructions and custom tactics as well as using player work rates, it will never be as free flowing or as easy as real life. This partly comes down to the fact that your average FUT game is 12 minutes long, whereas a standard game is 90, allowing the formation time to break down opponents. HOWEVER, although I seem to have discounted the formation here, it still works; very well in fact.
The False 9, otherwise known as 433-5, works like a charm as long as you get the players and style right. Although you can use it as a standard formation and have success, I feel as though playing the right style of football to accompany the formation will have the best results (obviously). I have played around with other formations and tested other tactics and this is the one that I feel is best. NOTE: Just because this works for me, it may not be the best way nor may it work for you. I've had great success in Division 1 with it though, which alone I think is a great test the formation has overcome
****PLAY PATIENT***** This is the key to this formation. Although it can be devastating on the counter due to it's front 3, playing patiently will get the best results out of the formation and the players it is designed for.
So, now I've tried my best to give the basics and understanding of the formation, let us dive into the FUT related end.
Goalkeeper - I really do have no preference here. Someone with long throw is always good, although my keeper is normally chosen last and depends on chemistry. I would advise going 83+ however, as you want someone who you can rely on when it comes down to it. I find keepers rarely matter unless they are the big ones (De Gea, Neuer etc.) Pick someone you feel comfortable with.
Best options: Neuer, De Gea, Buffon, Cech, Handanovic, Courtois.
Cheap and effective options: Hart, Consigli, Fahrmann, Leno, Mandanda, Butland.
Full Backs (RB+LB) There are a few ways you can go about this position; an offensive player, an all rounder of a defensive minded player. I tend to go for an all rounder on one side and an offensive player on the other. It is however, up to you. 80+ pace is always good, make sure they have 80+ stamina too as I find it very important for this position. Defensive minded players I find normally fit into the all rounder category, or are very rarely good. Important stats are Stamina, Pace, Short passing, Stand tackle, Interceptions and Dribbling.
Best offensive options: Alaba, Florenzi, Peres, Clyne, Alves, Alba, Marcelo, Ricardo Rodriguez, Baines.
Best all rounders: Aurier, Walker, Coleman, De Marcos, Lahm, Filipe Luis, IF Milner, Alex Sandro.
Workrates: H/M is always best. H/H is good. M/M can work, anything else is below par. (Except for Alves who has H/L)
Centre Backs - Unlike other formations, these players tend to get a little more time on the ball than usual (as you play it out from the back). Due to this, centrebacks with average+ ball control and passing is needed. I find it's all down to preference though, so like the goalkeeper, pick centre backs you can rely on. A little pace never hurt either. I really like Bonucci, as he fits the criteria perfectly. Important stats are Strength, Stand/Slide Tackle, Interceptions, Marking and Short Passing. Ball Control/Pace are always good, the higher the better.
Best options: Thiago Silva, Boateng, Sergio Ramos, Bonucci, Chiellini, Koscielny, Otamendi, Varane, Alderweireld.
Cheap and effective options: Manolas, Sokratis, Toprak, Luiz, Naldo, Laporte, Smalling, Mustafi, Umtiti.
Workrates: I find it often depends on the pair. Two M/M is always good. Personally, I feel as though the best pair is M/M + M/H. Anything can work together, just don't go 2 H/M, ever.
Centre Defensive Midfielder - The spine of the team. You want someone who can do it all, the perfect all rounder with high defensive and physical stats. 80+ stamina is definitely needed, as they will be covering a lot of space on the pitch. This is the position where pace matters the least, so find someone who can distribute the ball, pass into space and dribble when needed. I find this position is very important, so try not to allow it to be a weak link in the team. Most important stats are Short Passing, Interceptions, Stamina, Stand Tackle, Strength and Ball Control. The higher shooting the better, as they often get into goal scoring opportunities outside the box.
Best options: De Rossi (god), Matic, Busquets, Krychowiak, Casemiro, Gonalons. Gustavo, Lars Bender.
Workrates: M/H almost always. M/M and H/H can work, but try for M/H if you can as you want them to sit a little deeper.
Centre Mids - Now this can be tricky, depending on the way you want to approach the game. Generally, I go for a box to box midfielder and an offensive minded one, but you can take many different routes when it comes to this position. It is most importantly that you feel comfortable with your centre mids on the ball, as I find they will be doing the majority of the link up play and even scoring the most goals. In terms of pairings, there are a few that work the best:
A box to box and an offensive playmaker
Two offensive playmakers
A deep lying playmaker and an offensive playmaker
As stated above, I go for the first option as I find it the most balanced an effective for me. Don't hesitate to try other combinations and get back to me on how they did! As a general rule, go for a more defensive pair (the first option) if you can't defend too well and go for an attacking duo if you feel more comfortable at the back. In terms of stats, the most important ones in my opinion are Dribbling, all types of passing and stamina for every type of player. Higher physical, shooting and pace are always good for both types of player too, as that only adds to their game. Prioritise the most important attributes though.
Best Options for offensive: Pogba, Modric, De Bruyne, Iniesta, Fabregas, Pjanic, Gundogan, Pastore, Isco, Ozil.
Best options for box to box: Pogba, Vidal, Renato Sanches, Matuidi, Marchisio, Ramsey, Koke, Khedira, Fred.
Notable mentions: Wilshere, Rakitic, Yaya Toure, Cazorla, Rooney, Thiago, Verrati, Turan, Oscar, Coutinho.
Workrates: For offensive, H/M or M/M, try stay away from H/L. For box to box, H/H (exception for Pogba).
Wingers - Arguably the most offensive players on the team. You want them to be able to do everything, from assisting to scoring and even contributing massively in build up play. I find spending the bulk of your FIFA 17 Coins here to receive the best results, so don't be afraid to splash out in order to get the best players for these positions. As they need to be able to do a lot, just ensure that all their offensive stats are good. Most notably though, look for high Pace, Stamina and Dribbling. 4*+ skills can come in handy for beating players.
Best options: Messi, Ronaldo, Bale, Neymar, Di Maria, Robben, Reus, Hazard, Sanchez, Douglas Costa, Martial
Cheap and effective options: Sterling, Nani, Mertens, Mahrez, Carrasco, Perisic, Konoplyanka, Salah, Shaqiri, Cuadrado, Lucas, Willian, Mkhitaryan.
I love Douglas Costa, he is absolutely amazing.
Workrates: Ideally you don't want M/M as it limits runs. H/M, H/L and M/L are the best. Stay away from a higher defensive workrate than lower.
Centre Forward - Ah, we have made it. The man who completes the team, allowing it to play free flowing football and linking up play everywhere in the higher end of the pitch. This man, along with the CDM, is the most important player in terms of team stability and build up play. Always try and pick the best player possible, as they will get the best results. Ideal stats are ones for a striker, though you want to focus specifically on Attack Positioning, Short Passing and Dribbling. Pace isn't necessarily needed (Totti OP) though it always helps and therefore try and get someone with at least 75. Skills are always good.
Best options: Messi 7 chem, Muller, Suarez, Ibrahimovic, Dybala, Benzema, Griezmann.
Cheap and effective options: Jovetic, Tevez, Draxler, Firmino, Raffael, Coutinho, Ben Yedder, Kruse.
INSTRUCTIONS AND CUSTOM TACTICS
I will be changing these if I find a better collection, though I find these are the best to create triangles all over the pitch and dominate the game.
RB/LB - Offensive player leave on default, defensive on stay back. Never have both on stay back imo as it hinders offensive play.
CB - Default
CDM - Stay Back, Man Mark
CM - Default
Wingers - Get in behind, cut inside. This allows both wingers to contribute to attacking play in the final third.
CF - Stay central.
You can by any means change them to suit your own style and preference, these are just what I need. I am always open to feedback on these set of instructions or your own!
**CUSTOM TACTICS COMING SOON**
CURRENT TEAM AND USERS TEAMS
Here is the current team I am using, which I feel works near perfectly for this formation. I may change a few players in the future!
And there you have it! Note that this is not a finished guide, I will be adding more information in the future when I feel necessary. Thankyou for reading, I hope you guys can find as much success as I did with this formation!