Screenshot from EA Sports FC 24 showing two teams walking out onto the football pitch.

EA Sports FC 24: How to win more games in this year’s revamped soccer sim

By Phil Iwaniuk, Contributor

It’s that time of year again. The temperature’s dropping, the kids are going back to school, and virtual footballers are dominating your TV. There’s something different about the latest entry in EA Sports's long-running soccer sim series though. We just can’t put our finger on it…

Ok, we absolutely can. You’ve probably noticed that it’s really hard to defend now, and that your old muscle memory isn’t working. In addition to dropping the FIFA license and changing the name, EA Sports FC 24 feels different on the pitch, with tweaks to the controls and a significant number of additional animations. And it plays differently between matches too, thanks to the inclusion of a few new systems and mechanics.

In short: If you suck right now, it’s not your fault. The game’s changed and the old ways of cheesing don’t work as well here. Put our tips into action though and you’ll quickly turn things around—like a softly spoken manager taking charge of a bottom-half Premier League side.

Try the meta formations

Defending is the biggest challenge in FC 24, by far. That’s having a big impact on the formations players are using online, and it’s placing a lot of emphasis on the Central Defensive Midfielder (or CDM) position. The CDM gives you an extra line of defense—quite literally—if your Center Backs (CBs) get pulled out of position tracking runs. It also increases your chances of picking off passes before they get to your opponent’s strikers.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Formations
With all that in mind, the 4-2-2-2 formation—with two CDMs, two wingers and two central attackers—is very popular at the moment, and it’s proving effective against both AI teams and online opponents. You’ve still got plenty of width thanks to your wingers, and if their pace and positioning is high enough it’ll feel like playing with wingbacks and advanced wingers simultaneously.

Alternative formations that you’ll also see a lot online include a 5-4-1 with three CBs, and the good old-fashioned 4-4-2. Try all three with your squad. Your success with each depends on the players in each position—for instance, you’ll need three good starting CBs to make a 5-4-1 work.

Let tactics do the defending for you

Related to our last point: You can also go deeper into the tactics settings to offset the difficulty in manual defending this year.

First of all, a defensive style of either Balanced or Press After Possession Loss seems to be the best option at launch for keeping your defensive line in useful, non-leaky positions. With the latter they’ll break their line to pressure a ball carrier when possession turns over—but you should have some decent numbers back if this just happened, so it’s a low-risk tactic.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Tactics
Your depth needs to complement your choice. At numbers higher than 45, defenders adopt a Pressing style even when your defensive style is Balanced, so you need to set this number lower to keep them from straying. A depth of 39 is looking like the sweet spot at present.

Setting one of your strikers to Come Back On Defense also helps minimize the number of available passes to your opponent when they’re in possession. With a striker playing that role, you compensate for the absence of a Central Attacking Midfielder or CAM in the recommended formations above.

Pay attention to PlayStyles

Imagine FIFA 23’s traits mechanic, but with more of a visible impact on players. That’s what we have with FC 24’s PlayStyles, to the degree that it’s worth taking notice of them just as much as OVR ratings when you’re building a team.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Playstyles
Strikers with the Power Shot and Finesse Shot traits are obviously desirable assets, but what’s especially noteworthy is that you’ll see PlayStyles come to the fore even when the AI’s in control. Strikers with Power Shot seem to take shots more often. Midfielders with Pinged Pass do actually ping passes around the pitch.

If you’re going to beat the AI, you need to utilize the PlayStyles your players possess. Look for players with Tiki Taka to play in your central positions where you’re distributing the ball most frequently. Send aerial balls to strikers with Power Header.

In short, you need to make use of these buffs—and be smart about where you deploy players with certain traits.

Use chipped through balls against AI teams

There’s been many a furrowed brow over the overhauled passing system in FC 24. Change is inherently scary, and if you previously relied on “driven lobbed through” balls to create chances, you’ll be understandably dismayed to learn that they don’t appear in FC 24 like they did in FIFA 23.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Chipped Through Ball
Chipped through balls are still present though, and when you direct them out wide, they’re especially effective against computer opponents. That’s likely down to the overhauled animations. If your attacker begins his run before his marker’s shifted his weight and momentum to follow, FC 24 is generous about the amount of space created when you fizz a ball into them.

This isn’t effective when you attempt it centrally—you need to aim your pass off at an angle to create an overlap. Human opponents are generally better at anticipating the run, but at present the AI struggles to deal with it, so capitalize on that.

Master the new free kicks

Free kicks haven’t been this fun since FIFA 2003. In FC 24, you can create some brilliant, arcing balls that loop over walls and around keepers—and if you spend some time practicing the new mechanic, you can turn dead balls on the edge of the box into guaranteed goals.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Free Kicks
Aiming your shots is always relative to your distance from the goal and your angle. However, the basics of where to hit the ball are as follows: Kick the left side to add curl to the right, kick the right to add curl to the left, kick closer to the ground to lift it up, and aim above the midway point to keep it grounded.

Grind the Ultimate Team Squad Battles

There are many ways to grind out Ultimate Team rewards this year, but given that offline opponents seem marginally easier at each difficulty level, Squad Battles might be the most efficient method right now.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Squad Challengess
Squad Battles are preassembled dream teams of Ultimate Team cards that you can take on at the difficulty setting of your choosing. Just as in FIFA 23, the higher the difficulty and the better your performance, the more points you’ll earn and the higher you’ll rank.

If you really decide to go all in on Squad Battles, there are substantial rewards for attaining a high global leaderboard position each week, which will quickly boost the caliber of your Ultimate Team Squad. But even with a modest ranking, you’ll get a decent haul of points and coins to keep upgrading your squad.

Use Evolutions to level up your Ultimate Team cards

This is a big change in FC 24: You can finally upgrade your Ultimate Team cards, both cosmetically and (more importantly) in terms of their stats. That means you don’t have to rely on pack openings or auction bids to improve your Ultimate Team. Instead, completing certain in-game objectives with specific players unlocks Evolutions.
Ea Sports Fc 24 Evolutions
Note that higher levels of Evolution require coin payouts, so you can’t upgrade players via in-game feats alone—but it still beats scraping auctions for bargain players or opening pack after pack hoping the RNG gods will smile on you.

You can pick up EA Sports FC 24 now on the Epic Games Store.