FIFA 15: A Closer Look at Atletico Madrid

Hey guys, Chief Siddharth here. Over the course of weeks, its become increasingly apparent that many people enjoyed reading my article on Atletico Madrid in FIFA 15. As a result, I’ve decided to take a closer look at Atletico Madrid in the game. For those who are visiting my blog for the first time or reading this topic for the first time, I recommend you take a look at my earlier post: 

FIFA 15 Team Spotlight: Atletico Madrid

For those who have read it, its time to delve deeper into the Atletico play style. 

In order to truly understand how to play with Atletico, its necessary to know how they win their matches. In other words, you must know Atletico’s style like the back of your hand, then replicate it. While I have watched their matches consistently, not everyone has the time and/or desire to do so. And so I’ve decided to make everyone’s job easier. Below are some more pointers which summarize what I’ll talk about in more depth.

Atletico Madrid Play Style Overview:

  • Involves having less of the ball, but making sure your opponent can’t do anything with the ball. 
  • Defending very deep, far into your own half. Defenders pull back, midfielders press opposing attackers, and attackers drop into the midfield zone, pressing the opposing midfield. 
  • Maintains its ‘shape’ very rigidly. Often playing in 4-4-2, players are always resetting themselves into this formation, with 2 lines of 4 and the two attackers all perfectly organized
  • Adapts a no nonsense approach defensively. Risky passes are never played, and any attacking takes place from wide positions, with less risk of losing possession deep into your half. 
  • Aggressive pressing in your midfield is a must. You defend very deep, but every time your opponent gets the ball into your midfield zone, double team pressing is standard. Your aim is to rush your opponent when on the ball, leaving him error prone and unable to create proper chances. 
  • Set Piece perfection is also essential. Like I said last time, in order to succeed try and create training ground set pieces that create goals like magic. 
  • Rapid Counter Attacking- This aspect also needs some technical work, as you’ll need to be able to easily take on and dribble past at least one opposing player with your wide players. 

This may seem like a repeat of my last article, but implementing Simeone’s master plan is nowhere near as easy as it sounds. Time to find out how to play the Atletico way. 

Formation and Shape

A large reason for Atletico Madrid’s League win and appearance in Lisbon last year was due to their formation off the ball, and the method in which they held their shape throughout the match. Their solid 4-4-2 shape off the ball isn’t very viable when your looking to hold possession, as proven by manchester city’s capitulation against Barcelona. In fact, its a horrible formation for any team looking to control game flow. But Atletico’s intense, defensive approach reqires such a formation. Considering the fact that almost every team struggled to score more than the odd goal against Atletico last season, this formation definitely has sense to it. Here are a few custom tactics you should consider changing:

  • Make sure your positioning is set to ‘organised’ not free form. Your players will usually stick to their positions as a result, not running out of position often. 
  • Often, a player’s attacking instincts could take over his game. This is true in FIFA and in real football. In this case, the work rates make a big difference to a player’s performance. To ensure you get the best out of your side, set every player’s defensive work rate to ‘high’ at the minimum. This way, your players will always stay back off the ball. The rest of the side should be set to low defensive work rate, apart from the wide midfielder of your choice and the strikers, who should be atmedium or high according to your preference. 
  • When starting a game, often go ultra-defensive to get the best out of the formation. As the game progresses, i would tighten the defensive screws even more, and park the bus entirely if I have a lead. 
  • For defensive settings, ensure your ‘aggression’ slider is set at 100%. Your players will be double and triple teaming to get out of situations. But make sure your side is defending deep, and so the pressure setting should be set to 0%. The width slider is probably the hardest to set, and I would stick with approximately 50%, then try and change it as the game goes on. If your opponent is a wing play specialist, increase it up to 60 later if possible. Otherwise, make it near 0 if your opponent goes through central areas the majority of the time. 
  • Learn to defend. Literally. Its easy to try this style and watch your opponent break down all your hard work. Especially when playing in central positions off the ball, learn to pull your strikers back more often, and only in wide areas to do you really try and double team with the full backs and midfielders. Experience and practice usually help you judge this. But making sure you don’t pull your defenders out of position yet still winning the ball could prove crucial in the long run. 
  • Learn to contain. Atletico players jockey off the ball when the opponent is passing around the midfield, but when the opponent presents a direct threat, such as during take-ons and attempts to create chances, containing and tackling are a must. Its a matter of understanding when to commit your players, and when you should be content with their possession. 

Getting out of pressurizing situations

  • Often, it will be the clearance off the flag or the trickery in midfield that will frustrate your opponent, and give you a competitive edge. 
  • Practice making challenging passes from tight angles, such as when your player is cornered with ball and you manage to find a player in space. 
  • Dribbling is fundamental, and its often about beating one man then making a pass. The beter your dribbling is, the more success you will have in attack. 
  • Learn to let your opponent build up pressure and commit players forward, then counter quickly. Its important to let your opponent keep the ball without penetrating your midfield. Over time as more players push forward, you should be able to burst back on the counter. But the timing of clearances and passes is key, you can’t clear the ball forever as after a point, your opponent will score and overwhelm you. Practice making passes to opoen players tather than clearing the ball over and over again. 

Set Pieces

  • As I’ve explained in the past, set pieces are crucial. 
  • Making your own set pieces that work is  an equally crucial aspect. 
  • When you hit your opponent on the break, always try and force a corner. 
  • Ideal corner takers would be players like Arda Turan and Antoine Griezmann. 
  • If your exceptional at free kicks, go ahead and shoot. Otherwise i would set up other players and make a pass rather than shoot. 
  • Learn to put the right amount of swerve and power with your corner takers.

General Play

  • Over time you will realize how to use this team with your own changes. But there is a backup to simply grinding through a match with a good defense. You can try and pack your field with high-energy players and try and outpossess your opponent for the start of a match. This method, requiring a 5 man midfield, can win you matches against sides that usually have 3 man midfields. You will win by sheer weight of midfield numbers. 
  • Watch a big atletico madrid match in the league or champions league. Notice their strucutre and shape, it’ll help you replicate their style even more. 
  • Don’t be afraid to out-muscle other players rather than just win by quality. Your players aren’t fast, but they’re strong and can make the hard tackles when necessary. 

Well thats it for this post guys. My FIFA 15 Ultimate team posts will probably ccease to be written in the future due to EA’s new price range rule. If you have any requests for content, feel free to comment below. As always, leave a like, comment and subscrbe!