#PlayToWin – Strategies & Formations

By Jearoon Posted on in Community, PES2017

Welcome to the first installment of a brand new article series we like to call #PlayToWin! With PES League Season 2 on the horizon, this series will be offering pro tips on how to up your PES 2017 game with a little extra help from PES League veteran Pirate. This article will be looking at strategies and formations to help you stand the best chance of winning.

 1. Discover the formation for you

Before you step out onto the pitch, you need to find a formation that suits your style of play and the players you’ve got at your disposal.  Is your side blessed with fast wingers and attacking full backs? If so how about a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-3 allowing you to counter with pace and getting the most out of those offensive full backs?


Perhaps your team has a number of talented attacking midfielders who can pick that final ball? Then try a 4-2-3-1 with 3 AMF’s tucked in behind your centre forward for a more direct approach. Of course you’ll need to customize your formation to do this but more on that later.


Maybe your team has 2 clinical strikers who you want to unleash on the opposition defence using the classic PES CF and SS combination? Then go with a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formation.


These of course are just suggestions but we highly recommend you pick a formation that tends to the strengths of each individual team you choose to play with rather than keeping the same formation regardless of which team you choose. It is important to be flexible to get the best out of your squad. Speaking of flexibility, PES 2017 offers you several ways to tweak your formation to your liking. You can manually move players around the pitch and change their starting positions which in turn will have an effect on their OVR ratings. So for instance choosing a base 4-4-2 formation could be tweaked to a 4-4-2 diamond formation should you favour a possession game over counter attacking as changing to a diamond will allow for the introduction of 4 central midfielders meaning you can retain possession and unlock the opposition using the more creative midfield that a 4-4-2 diamond offers. In summary, you’re able to tweak your formation to suit your favoured style of play.



2. Form is important

Before you pick your starting 11, consider looking at the form guides provided by the weekly live updates. It is likely to be more beneficial to select a team of players in good form, even if it means a big name has to watch on from the sidelines. As they say in football, no one is bigger than that club and that statement holds true in PES 2017. Form is displayed using arrows. The arrows are divided up into 5 different directions and colours which dictate the form of the player. Great form is indicated by a turquoise arrow which points directly upwards, good form is indicated by a green arrow which is slanted upwards. A player’s form is normal/neutral when the arrow is yellow and pointing sideways. Poor form is indicated by an orange arrow pointing downwards at a slant whilst bad form is indicated by a red arrow pointing directly downwards.

 3. Advanced instructions

Once you’ve picked your formation and players, it’s time to head into the more complex side of things. There are a variety of advanced instructions which affect how your players play out on the pitch. Finding the right combination of advanced instructions, to suit your style of play or the players at your disposal, can swing the game in your favour.


If you prefer a possession based game, you might want to consider using the tiki taka instruction which makes your players drop into positions where they are always willing to receive the ball. Combining tiki taka with the false full backs instruction which brings your 2 full backs into midfield roles when attacking, giving you more numbers in the middle of the pitch creates a very effective possession based game, allowing you to pull of those fluid passing moves that tear the opposition to pieces.


If your game is more focused on the counter attack, a good combination can be hug the touchline and centering targets. Using the hug the touchline instruction leaves your wide players close to the side of the pitch at all times, whilst centering targets moves your forward(s) into a position to be waiting to receive a cross when the ball is out wide. This combination allows you to spring a counter attack at speed; getting the ball out to the wingers, a cross into the box and the ball in the back of the net all in the blink of an eye.


There are also a variety of defensive instructions which you can make the most of. Swarm the box can be useful when you’re narrowly leading a game and looking to shut the opposition out. This will pile your players back in front of goal but sitting back like this does invite more pressure from the opposition and encourages shots from distance. Playing a deep defensive line helps to protect against opponents looking to cut you open with through balls over the top and on the ground, but at the cost of surrendering possession to the opponent. Or if you prefer a more high intensity approach, the Gegenpress made famous by Jurgen Klopp can be effective at pressuring the opponent into mistakes – however this does demand a lot of stamina from your players. As well as all the ones mentioned above, there are a bunch of other advanced instructions at your disposal, so have a play around and see what combinations suit you best!


4. Learn from your opponent

A good tip to keep in mind when heading into a game, especially a competitive one, is to study your opponents game. What tactics are they using? Are they repeatedly going for crosses, long balls etc? The key to this is to be able to identify your opponents tactics and to adapt to them, changing things up to neutralize their playing style, granting you the best chance of success. Tweaking your attacking and defensive instructions can help you with this. You can change a variety of things such as attacking styles, build up, attacking area, positioning and support range when attacking and defensive styles, containment areas, pressuring and defensive lines when defending. Tweaking these to expose your opponents weaknesses and to counter their strengths can turn the tide in your favour.

5. Don’t be afraid to change things up

So, you’ve picked your starting 11, formation. advanced instructions and jumped straight into a game. But after a nightmare start you’re 2-0 down. Now what? Well don’t be afraid to change things up when it’s not going well. Finding the right formation and playing style can be a long process and often requires a lot of tinkering. There are a huge amount of tactical options you can change if needed including formations, advanced instructions and the obvious one – players. Is your opponent playing very defensively, soaking up all your pressure? Introduce some fresh legs from the bench, start running at the full backs and test the defence’s resolve with some crosses from the flanks. Are you being counter-attacked to deadly effect? Why not introduce a commanding presence from the bench and switch to a back 5 whilst defending to help hang in there.


 If you want to sign up to the second season of PES League, you can find it here

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We’ll be posting more top tips over the coming days so keep an eye on the site as well as on twitter @PESFannews