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How to defend in FIFA 22

Leaking goals? Defenders running around like headless chickens? Time to learn how to defend in FIFA 22

How to defend in FIFA 22: A PSG player goes in for a slide tackle

Attack wins games, but defence wins championships. Knowing how to defend in FIFA 22 can make the difference to a season, a weekend league, and a reward rank. FIFA is skewed towards attacking, because where’s the fun in grinding out clean sheets and 1-0 wins? But with high scoring matches comes the risk that at full time, you’ve not had the chance to score one more than your opposition.

Updates in FIFA 22 bring more control and immersion than ever. This year, FIFA has introduced loads of attacking AI improvements, so you’ll need to be on the ball to defend a lead. Your opposition is now more intelligent, knowing when to hit killer passes or bend crosses. Also, a player’s personality can determine how well they can intercept loose passes, how fast they close down the ball and how likely they are to tackle successfully.

Effective defending can also turn into attacking quickly. Pinching the ball and launching a quick counter-attack with the opposition short-numbered puts you at a massive advantage. In other words, learning how to defend in FIFA 22 is considerably different from previous games.

So if you’re looking for tips on how to defend in FIFA 22 successfully, read on. With The Loadout’s handy guide and some practice, you’ll be defending like the pros in no time.

How to defend in FIFA 22

Defending in FIFA 22 comes down to timing and anticipation. Relying on the AI to defend for you can result in disastrous scorelines.

To defend in FIFA 22, you need to jockey your opponent. Do this by holding L2/LT. When jockeying, your defender will face up to the attacker and pressure them. From here, you can force a dodgy pass or intercept the ball, or shuttle the player off the field. A fast jockey (hold L2/LT and R2/RT) can be handy for tracking wingers and moving them – and the ball – out of play.

When you think you’ve got your positioning right, you can manually stand tackle (O/B) to dispossess the attacker. Holding O/B results in a harder hit, so be aware and get your timing right. Only use slide tackles (square/X) when you absolutely know you’ll get the ball, else your player can expect an early shower.

How to defend in FIFA 22: Alexander-Arnold lines up a pass

You’ll also need to master player switching to defend smartly. Manual player switching is always more successful than hitting R1/RB, preventing your defence from being pulled out of formation. To switch players manually, flick the right analogue stick towards the player you want to select. New for FIFA 22, pressing the right stick whilst defending brings up Icon Switching. Four defenders get a specific direction above their head, allowing you to flick the right stick in the direction relating to the defender you want to select.

Players can shoulder barge when side-by-side with an attacker by tapping O/B and manually block the ball if they are in the line of the ball by pressing O/B.

Pulling an AI player in with teammate contain (holding R1/RB) to press the opponent while you look to close passing lanes is a more advanced way to defend. In FIFA 22, teammates have a stamina bar, so they can’t contain forever, but having players with a high defensive workrate will allow you to put this high risk, high reward move to good use.

Competitive Settings are always active in FUT Rivals and Champions, Online and Co-op Seasons and Pro Clubs. This switches off auto clearances and only allows for a manual jockey, so if you’re taking your FIFA 22 play online, bear this in mind.

How to defend in FIFA 22: Several players have R stick icons on them, showing how stick changing works in FIFA 22

tips for better defending in FIFA 22

Here are our best tips for improving your defending in FIFA 22 and learning how to defend in FIFA 22 more generally:

  • Invest in your players: Having pacier centre backs is more forgiving if you pull them out of place (and it’s part of what makes Varane and Van Dijk so OP), but these come at a premium price in FUT. Using chemistry styles can vastly improve player statistics; ones for pace come at a premium.
  • Full back direction: Getting caught off the pace with an opposition winger in miles of space leaves you vulnerable to early crosses, cut-ins or attackers switching the ball, so tell your full backs to stay where they belong.
  • Pressure: Use high pressing to turn over the ball further up the pitch when you are chasing a goal, but when you want to defend a lead, high pressing can drag players out of position, so remember to switch it off!
  • Formation: Opt for four or five at the back. Wing backs are great for attacking but you can get left behind if they are pressing high, so make sure you’re ready for long ball counter-attacks if you’re pushing players forward.
  • Custom settings: Defensive width and depth is now on a slider between 1-100 in FIFA 22; opting for a deeper defensive line makes you safer against long ball attacks, but conversely makes it harder to attack. We suggest testing this across multiple games and tweaking to fit your playstyle.

Tactical vs legacy defending in FIFA 22

The modern tactical defending controls can be switched to pre-FIFA 12 standing/sliding tackle with O/B and square/X.

If you play FIFA 22 solely offline and find defending too hard, try switching to legacy defending and take timing out of the job. Simply chase the attacker and press standing or sliding tackle to win the ball back. The attacking side is still intelligent, though, and your defenders AI will press the opposition hard, leaving you stuck if they get a pass or skill off to get past you.

So there you have it, a quick masterclass in how to defend in FIFA 22. Hopefully these tips will help you tighten up your backline, leaving your keeper with less shots to save. If you’ve read these tips and realised your backline needs some work, check out our list of the best FIFA 22 full backs and the best FIFA 22 centre backs.