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FIFA 14 guide – how to play as Barcelona

Barcelona, while not hitting the highs of previous seasons, still remain on of the most popular choices in FIFA 14. While their team almost picks itself, there are a couple of things you can change to take full advantage of the talents at your disposal. This FIFA 14 guide will give you a rundown of tweaks and adjustments to take on the world as one of the best teams in history.

Move Messi wide

The default formation and line-up places Lionel Messi as a centre forward. The problem with this is he doesn’t get involved in the build-up early enough. A player as good as Messi needs to get on the ball early and frequently. To achieve this, move him to the wing in place of Pedro. You can choose whether to keep Pedro as the forward man, or swap him for Fabregas.

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Fabregas is the better passer, and has greater vision, meaning he can contribute more to the early stages of play, and is still a good finisher. Pedro is the better dribbler, and has five star weak foot ability, so might prove a more potent finisher.

As Barcelona are a team that operates better when playing possession football for long periods, I found Fabregas more effective than Pedro. You only want to start increasing the tempo in the final third of the pitch, and look for key passes into the penalty box or behind a high defensive line. The problem with hitting teams on the break is that counter-attacks tend to be effective from the wing, and defenders pile into the middle quickly, forcing either a cross, which Barcelona aren’t equipped for, or slowing down the break.

Camera Angle

When Neymar or Messi receive the ball on the wings, there are times when you want to make a pass inside, but also take on defenders and shoot because of their high stats. The default camera angle makes it difficult to see the action when the play is on the opposite side of the pitch, so you want to bring the view closer to the action, making it easier to beat opponents with close control.

The Dynamic view is best for keeping you close to play. It’s much more effective at keeping zoomed in and allows ‘face-up’ dribbles to work more often as you can time changes of pace more easily based on defender’s attempts at a tackle. Dynamic limits how much of the pitch you can see, but once you learn to use the map, you’ll soon start taking full advantage of this new look to the game.

Keep the ball

Barcelona break down opponents by keeping the ball for large portions of the match. By going and tweaking the default custom tactics, you can ensure your Barca does the same.

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Head into your formation settings and select the “Custom Tactics” menu. The first thing you are going to do is make the build up play slightly slower. This will stop players making runs too early and allow your men to remain disciplined to their position, and available to receive the ball. By making build-up play fast, central midfielders often run wide, taking away passing options and also blocking passes to the likes of Neymar and Messi. Move the slider to somewhere in the 30s, and see if you feel comfortable with it. Remember you can still trigger player runs by pressing LB/L1.

Next on Build-up Play is passing, which you want to be as short, again in the low 30’s. As said elsewhere, crossing is all but useless as Barca, who carry an average height of around 5’5″, so look to keep the ball on the floor. But also make passing “risky” under Chance Creation. This encourages your forwards to try and make runs behind defenders. Sleek one-twos are what create so many of the Catalan giant’s great goals.

Make sure you select your custom tactic in the formations menu before heading into a match. The D-Pad quick settings will remain default, and not what you have just worked on. Don’t undo all your hard work by forgetting to assign your tactics beforehand.

Potential Changes

If you find yourself in a losing position, there are some changes you can make to try and turn things around. Puyol starts on the bench, but if teams are exploiting the centre of the pitch, sub him on for Busquets, moving Mascherano into the CDM position. Masherano can work better defensively than Busquets, and is much faster too. Puyol is slower than Mascherano, but the speed of Alves and Alba should help provide cover.

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You also have Alexis Sanchez, who is a great option to bring on if your wide men tire. Sanchez doesn’t have great stamina, so works better when coming off the bench.

  • Kenday

    Dude, do you find difficult to play against Real Madrid because of their fast and powerful players? it’s the feeling that I have, even if I play possession style, one single counter attack can be deadly with Bale, Benzema and the unstoppable Ronaldo. Piqué and Puyol are slow, Mascherano is not strong enough.

    I also difficulties in attacking. Sure Messi is good but against Ramos and Pepe he seems like a little mosquito… The only part that I master is the middle, but it’s hard to penetrate a solid defense with strong players…

    • Brett Phipps

      Real Madrid are very dangerous on the break because of their pace on both wings. The problem with Barca is a lack of pace through the central defensive players.

      If you move Mascherano into midfield as described above, but WITH Busquets, in a 4-2-3-1, this might help slow down the breaks. This also allows you to play Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas higher up, with Messi as the striker. Play this formation with the “-3-” slightly narrower, as again, crosses aren’t viable.

      You may also want to head into custom tactics and tweak your build-up play, and also the work rate of your two holding midfielders, making sure their priority is defensive and don’t sprint forward much.

      Let me know if this works!

      • Michael Vandenbroek

        Guys, you know what I do? I play manager mode so there might be some changes. I play 4-3-3 so yeah. I put Messi in the CF and put Neymar in the RF and put El Sharawy in the LF. Then I put Iniesta in the place behind Messi and put Xavi in the RW and put Modric in the LW. I placed the defenders as the default one so nothing changes and I put Valdes as goalie.

  • Gaofetoge tutumpane

    Iv tried tht nd it has worked for me

  • Johnson

    Guys I need help please give me the best formation and best squad of Barcelona

    • barcafan

      Courtois.alaba.varane.pique.alves.pogba.iniesta.xavi.pedro.neymar (fw). messi..banch : Stegen.javi Martinez. Jordi alba. Corrèa. Gotze. Sanchez. Janujag. Res: Ruban blanco.. formation:4.3.3 With false 9. And spain tactic make sure you put neymar in front. Sorry im french xbox kylian2014 add me

      • barcafan

        I forget buy hazard instead of pedro

  • Eugene Jerry

    If you guys find it hard to defend counter attacks try changing some slow defensive players I know it seems weird but it works for me… Change Pique and have Adriano, Then try exchanging Xavi for Montoya:He is great at attacks and defensive plays due to his speed and makes him literally available everywhere on the pitch then Have Afellay in place of Iniesta and finally get Sanchez instead of Pedro…The formation should not change and try to Jockey to hold your opponent for longer to buy you time to get more players to help in depending coz Valdes is no good on one-on-one encounters. Finally with this change in place Real Madrid is weak if only you also keep an eye on dangerous players who feed ariel balls. Incase you find out that you can’t jockkey with ones player you can as well hold down the jockey button and press and hold X and and Box I. E if you use x to pass and box for shooting…you will have two players at your dispatch but this is risky to tends to create uncovered positions. Hope it helps.