FIFA 23 3-5-2 Formation Custom Tactics & Player Instructions - "Football Heritage"

FIFA 23 has now been out for just over a month, and with a packed World Cup Promo on the horizon, what better time to unleash your inner Guardiola & Mourinho, and play with complete tiki-taka football heritage, courtesy of myself, MattFUTTrading.

Before you scoff and run to the comments to type “Huh, a trader, touch grass + ratio,” let me preface these tactics with the following information.

I run a 0 FIFA Point (apart from the 4600 Pre-Order Bonus), First Owner account, meaning my entire team is pulled from packs or is obtained via SBCs. With the following Tactics, in the last few weeks, I’ve achieved:

- Elite Division Rivals

- Multiple Rank 1 Playoff finishes

- 19-1 in FUT Champs

While there are many cookie-cutter playstyles that conform to the many 4 at-the-back meta formations used this year across the community, such as the 4-2-3-1, 4-2-2-2, 4-4-2, 4-3-2-1 and 4-1-2-1-2 Narrow, the 3-5-2 has always been a personal favourite.

Combining a solid defensive back 5 structure that receives more rat comments than a New York backstreet, with fast, free-flowing attacking triangles, these tactics allow for some truly unique, tiki-taka style goals.

Let’s dive into how I set the team up!


In-Game Team Setup

Obviously, the team sets up slightly differently for chemistry purposes, but this is how the squad looks in-game in our 3-5-2.

Again, before anyone screams for a Mbappe up top or a Hakimi upgrade, please bare in mind that this squad is entirely 1st Owner. I’ll allow some level of “Red-list” abuse comments down below, because I agree, this is disgusting levels of pack luck. The only tradeable card in this starting 11 is Erling Haaland, who was pulled out of a Gold Players Pack of all places.

In case you didn’t believe me, check out those beautiful First Owner badges…



I’ll go into more detail with each individual position later, but the key takeaways to note from this:

- 3 Lengthy CBs - We all know how key the lengthy meta is this year, but for CBs in the 352, it’s very key in getting the run on pacey attackers running in behind.

- Deep lying Playmaker - Thiago is the key ball carrier in the midfield, pushing up slightly ahead of Valverde to assist with attacks. The influence he has on the game cannot be understated.

- All-round wingers - In my experience, attacking full backs that can shoot and cross are vital, as they’ll be getting forward and making some hugely important contributions.



Right then, enough chat, let’s dive into what you’re really here for, the custom tactics.




Defensive Style - Balanced

Width - 40

Depth - 60

Balanced is my go-to in 90% of my tactics, however, having a constant pressure option for late-game is certainly recommended.

Utilising a manual press along with the “Team Press” D-Pad option allows me to be a little more selective in my press if my opponents choose to keep possession for long periods.

A lower width works well in my opinion, purely to crowd the box and allow for fewer angles from distance for opponents to hit those overpowered trivelas.

60 depth is my preference for a 3-5-2, it pushes the CBs high enough to where you can aggressively press attackers that receive the ball, while still leaving enough cover to avoid over-the-top Haaland through balls, which I’m sure we’ve all experienced in abundance.



Build Up Play - Fast Build Up

Chance Creation - Forward Runs

Width - 40

Players in Box - 7/10

Corners - 2/5

Free Kicks - 2/5

This is where the real difference maker is, the attacking instructions.

Fast Build Up & Forward runs is the complete game-changer for me. In the 3-5-2, with the correct instructions applied (see below), you’ll have 2 STs, a CAM, the LM & RM all making forward runs in 5 separate channels, with the right CDM supporting as a central pivot.

When counter-attacking, being able to get an overload with the wide players, along with a triangle in the middle between the CAM & 2 Strikers has scored me so many goals, purely from quick attacks.

I’d like to reiterate YOU NEED TO BE QUICK IN ATTACK to fully reap the benefits of these tactics. For people that take pride in having 75% possession and 2 shots on goal, these tactics are not for you, but for the attack-minded, tiki-taka passing players among us, we’ve got you covered.

40 Width in my eyes doesn’t make too much difference here, you can alter this how you like, but the width of your wide players will be determined more by the instructions.

Players in the box at 7 is another key area to consider, as this will determine the runs that your wide players will make, which is another hugely important tool in your attacking arsenal. You will score a tonne crossing between your wingers making late untracked runs into the opposition box.


Instructions & Roles

These instructions are also important, but feel free to tweak these based on your own personal preferences!


Comes for Crosses

Sweeper Keeper

Goalkeeper tactics sometimes go under the radar it seems, however this year, I’m a big fan of the latter, Sweeper Keeper especially.

With chip shots being seemingly harder to execute than previous FIFAs, and ball rolls around the keeper being also harder to pull off, charging out your GK for 1v1s appears to be a more widely used means of stopping an attacker.


Centre Backs

All Default

Nothing too exciting to discuss here, all my CBs remain on default instructions. While I’ve seen a few suggestions for the odd “Step Up” or “Aggressive Interceptions,” I’ve found that being as manual as possible in controlling your CBs in the press is key, unless you’re one of my absolute enemies and want to only control your CDMs when defending.


Left Centre Defensive Midfielder - (Ball Winning Midfielder)

Cut Passing Lanes

Stay Back While Attacking

Cover Center

Default Positioning & Interceptions

I always like to split the duties of my midfielders in a 3-5-2, one to stay back and be the ball winner, mopping up on counterattacks in front of the defenders, and the other to be a little more expansive, playmaking from deep and assisting on attacks.

Federico Valverde does the former of these roles perfectly for me. Shuttling between the defensive and midfield thirds of the pitch, sweeping up and dispossessing the opposition, before laying the ball off to more attacking-oriented players.


Right Centre Defensive Midfielder - (Deep Lying Playmaker)

Cut Passing Lanes

Cover Center

Balanced Attack

Default Positioning & Interceptions

As you can see from these instructions, my right DM is the more progressive midfielder out of the two, and Thiago does the job perfectly.

While there is some defensive responsibility in our defensive third, Thiago is much more impactful in the attacking segments of the game.

Coupled with the tactics, he’s frequently pushed up, just behind the CAM on attacks, allowing for a pass back into space, in which you have plenty of options - Play wide to a winger, create triangles with the CAM & STs, through ball straight to an ST, or, my personal favourite, hitting a splendid green timed trivela into the far corner. The rat leader approves.


Right Midfielder & Left Midfielder

Come Back on Defence

Balanced Width

Get into Box for Crosses

Conservative Interceptions

Default Support Runs

Before you all scream at me at the sight of “Come Back on Defence” and call me a 5-at-the-back rat, please let me explain myself, give me at least the chance!

This is entirely related to defensive shape, with LMs & RMs tucking in next to CBs, forcing the CBs to stay narrow to help defend the central spaces. If played on Balanced, the entire defensive structure falls apart, with CBs being dragged wide to cover vacated wide areas, leaving acres in the middle to exploit. The LM & RM serve entirely as protection.

They really shine in wide areas on the attack, which is where Get into Box for Crosses is so key. Coupled with Fast Build Up & Forward Runs, the wide mids get up and down all game, covering the most distance out of everyone in the team, and as explained, can be key goal contributors in tight games.

Conservative Interceptions just help to conserve stamina a little, given that the role is very physically intense.


Centre Attacking Midfielder

Stay Forward

Get Into Box for Crosses

Default Positioning & Interceptions

The CAM is the glue that binds the entire attack together, being key in almost every attacking triangle that you can create, generating vital assists, while also being one of the three main goal scorers alongside your strikers.

Messi is the perfect option for this role. Don’t be put off by the Low/Low works rates, as in my view, he doesn’t need to do a tonne of running, merely acting as the main attacking playmaker in tight spaces, dribbling & passing etc is the main focus, and he does this job to a tee.

Stay Forward will keep the CAM forward with the strikers for quick counter-attacks, and Get into Box further assists in getting him forward when the play is progressing quickly in wide areas.




Stay Central

Mixed Attack

Stay Forward

Default Interceptions

Striker instructions are very simple a lot of the time, with Stay Central & Stay Forward relatively self-explanatory, however, I do feel the need to discuss my choice of Attacking Runs, on Mixed Attack.

While many would go for a Get In Behind approach, I’ve moved away from this slightly to adopt a more passing-oriented approach where possible, utilising manually triggered runs with L1+R1 if looking to run in behind or come short.

The Attacking Tactics with Fast Build Up & Forward Runs will naturally get your strikers moving in the correct direction, so having the freedom with Mixed Attack to then decide how to shape your attack has proven to be a positive change for me.


Best of luck with these tactics, and to see them in action, be sure to catch MattFUTTrading streaming over on Twitch, and let us know on Social Media @FUTBIN if these tactics work for you!

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