Tactics and Formations
Picking the right formation is always one of the most important things you can do going into any match in Top Eleven, as in real life. You can view all the predefined formations, which feature some of the most common in the world of soccer, such as the ubiquitous 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 formations, in the Squad screen. Select the Formations tab to see them in full.
Fine tune your tactics to out-smart your opponents.
If you want to choose strong, defense-minded formations, perhaps because your recent games have resulted with many goals being conceded, you can opt for the likes of the 5-3-2. This formation has one sweeper defender in the center, with two other central defenders either side. There should then be two wing-backs, one on each side. You then want three central midfielders, and two strikers.
This formation relies a lot on the wing backs getting forward, so you need to set their mentality to push on. Because there are five defenders and the midfielders are compact in the center, it is a very solid basis to build upon. Use Counter Attacking combined with your wing backs to put a sting in the tail of this formation.
5-4-1 is the next defensive formation worth considering. You can play with three center backs but because you now have four in midfield, you are able to play with wingers in front of your wing backs. This makes it a more attacking formation, in terms of getting the ball up to the lone striker. If you set your wingers and one of the central midfielders to have red arrows so they attack, you can be very strong on the counter attack with this formation.
4-5-1 is very similar to the previous formation. By packing the midfield you are able to facilitate numerous defensive midfielders while still leaving wingers free to attack when in possession.
Midfield and Attacking:
All of these formations balance players throughout the team, focussing on midfield and attacking play. With most of the players in midfield and attack, these formations obviously leave the team vulnerable defensively. 3-4-3 is probably the most well known of these formations. You should be able to retain posession easily in midfield and attack at will, but will be short in defense. You can drop some of the midfielders back if you are struggling too much with this. Get your team to focus on short passes and keeping the ball.
3-5-2 allows for a slightly sterner defense, as it has five players in midfield. This makes it easier for players to fall back and assist the defenders. You are also able to turn attack into defense quickly. You should again try to win the ball back quickly and then maintain posession. 3-6-1 is very similar to 3-5-2, but is a lot more defensive. You can put the wingers a long way forward or play with two attacking midfielders just up behind the striker.
You can also try the 4-2-4 formation which, if you think about it, seems ridiculously offensive. With just two players in midfield, you can spread the front four out into lines. It is a good long-ball formation, where you are quite desperate towards the end of the game and are looking to bypass midfield.
4-3-3 is one of the most popular attacking formations. It allows you to play with three strikers, normally one right up front and then two playing off them. It can easily be adapted into the 4-5-1 formation. This ability to pass through midfield makes it popular with fluid, passing teams. It is not particularly weak defensively, because of the ability to drop players back into midfield. Play with enough pace in the front players and you can counter attack incredibly effectively using these tactics.
These formations are great for beginners and seasoned pros alike. They are relatively equally balanced between attack and defense, and allow for great flexibility on the fly as the game changes. 4-2-3-1 is a good average formation as it allows for 2 defensive midfielders but then four players focussing further forward.
4-4-2 is the classic formation and is one that most players revert to if they are having problems with tactics. The positions speak for themselves, but you do not have to lay your players out in lines. Full backs can become wing backs and push on when attacking. You can play with two defensive midfielders and two wingers, or one defensive midfielder, two wingers and one attacking midfielder, in a diamond - generally any shape you can think of can be accommodated by this formation.
You are able to order your team to use hard tackling while playing their opponents. This can be a good move if you are getting outplayed - it will intimidate the opposition. The risk is that you can get players sent off.
If you find that a player has become injured and you have no more subsitutions, or they have been sent off, a good formation is one where you try not to let the missing player's absence impact the team at all. So reverting to a 4-4-1 formation, just missing off a striker, is a good idea as you will be able to maintain the score. If you are behind and lost a player, then you obviously have more problems.