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FIFA 18 Tips and Tricks: How to Defend Against Pace

"Pace" is something of an obscene word in the world of FIFA. Many of us have loaded up an online match of Ultimate Team and been greeted by a dreaded opposition of speedsters, complete with strikers out of position just to make sure the sweat doesn't stop pouring.

We've all scorned "the p-word" out of frustration when losing a match, but how is it consistently possible to stop teams who overlook squad balance for quickness across the pitch?

Bleacher Report spoke to a range of top-level FIFA players to answer just that. Although dealing with pace can be overwhelming—and relentless—there's a handful of techniques that can swing the battle in your favour.

While most gamers are capable of providing some resistance by relying on a defensive setup, how do you maintain a consistent attacking threat while keeping things tight at the back?

"Be aggressive and try to read their play; the counter-attack will be available if you win the ball early," says Lightning Pandas' esports player Sean "Dragonn" Allen.

Hasib "BosnianMonster11," a regular top 100 FUT Champions player on PlayStation 4, suggests an effective way of dealing with pace is by simply not letting your opponent have the ball.

"Defending against pace is difficult, especially if you don't have the top-tier FUT players, which are difficult to attain," said BosnianMonster11.

"There's a solution to every problem, though. Play possession football in a defensive formation or match your opponent's formation. I personally use 4-2-3-1 narrow. It allows me to play a possession style of play while also having two defensive midfielders to quickly track back. I can then switch to them in order to cut the passing lanes to the incoming forwards."

Proactiveness is a recurring theme on the quest to overcome those who rely on speed to break through defences. Quite often, even FIFA 18's best centre-back pairings will leave a chasm of space open for forwards to exploit. The danger is obvious—and should become apparent as soon as a striker lays the ball off before bursting forward—but actually dealing with it is a much more challenging task.

"Try to select one of your centre-backs and watch the run, you should be able to intercept," advises Dragonn.

Roma's esports star Sam "Poacher" Carmody agrees with Dragonn's assertion: "Try to detect the runs as early as possible so you can adjust and control your centre-backs to stop them."

Jamie "Jamboo" Rigden, currently an esports player for West Ham United, also notes a instant reading of the game is needed: "The only way to stop pace is to manually switch to a defender and either block the pass or track the runner. Depending on the position, it may also be effective to bring the goalkeeper out to clear up."

Top 100 Xbox player Thekesss also added: "If it is narrow and you are defending against pace, then it's best to be patient until you 100 percent know you will make the tackle."

Planning ahead of time is all well and good, but in those moments where it doesn't work, a back-up plan is needed.

"I'm afraid once the ball is through, your best bet is to pull a full-back out of position using the right stick to switch and try to tug the attacker while the rest of your back line is reformed," said BosnianMonster11.

The implementation of custom tactics ensures most players will fall back on a style they've utilised for an extended period of time. Minor details can make a huge difference, and this is particularly true when facing quick teams.
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