How to defend in FIFA 23 - Tips and tricks

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Image of Alphonso Davies in FIFA 23.

Need tips on how to defend in FIFA 23? The annual adjustment to a new FIFA game always takes a little bit of time, and you may find yourself conceding more goals than before. If that's the case, we've got a few pointers to help shore up your in-game defence.

In this FIFA 23 guide, we'll provide a few defending tips to help make your back line that bit more solid. From some obvious pointers and shortcuts to advice on your team selection, you'll find yourself keeping more clean sheets than before in no time.

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Elsewhere, we've got plenty of other FIFA 23 guides to check out. Look at the latest FIFA 23 ratings to see where your favourites rank, as well as news on the web app, which is live now. Of course, that means the FIFA 23 beta period is officially over.

Tips on how to defend in FIFA 23

Always jockey opponents

The main thing you'll want to do when defending against an attacker is ensuring your player is always facing them. You won't be able to put in a tackle if you're sprinting ahead of the attacker, trying to anticipate where they might be.

As soon as your opponent is stationary or dribbling slowly, hold down the left trigger to make your defender jockey them. This will limit the space they have to manoeuvre, forcing them either to pass the ball away or risk taking you on.

Holding down that left trigger - L2 on PlayStation or LT on Xbox - is often the best way to defend in tight spaces. If the player then tries to run at you, your defender has the best chance of putting in a standing tackle to rob them of possession.

Jockeying should be your first port of call when attackers run towards you, but remember that sometimes you'll come up against a skilful dribbler who can see right through your approach. Keep things varied.

Image of Ted Lasso in FIFA 23.
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Speed is key

As with most recent FIFA games, speed is the master of all in FIFA 23. If your defenders are slow and coming up against pacey attackers, it really doesn't matter how technically good they are. If the opponent can easily sprint past you, all that tackling nous counts for nothing.

Therefore, you'll want to do as best as you can to ensure the defenders in your team are at least decently quick. If you're playing Ultimate Team this is a lot easier, as you can buy fast players that match your chemistry. More often than not it'll be the full-backs who have a PAC stat of 85 of above, so keep an eye out for them.

Even if your centre-backs aren't the fastest, you can employ CDMs or even ask your full-backs to cut inside when defending, to cover for any speed problems you may have in the core of your defence.

Learn to predict movement

The more you play FIFA 23, the naturally better you'll become at defending. There are only so many ways for your rival to configure an attack, so it's important you take notice of how your opponent plays, to react accordingly.

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For example, you may face a team with rapid wingers, who often sprint to the byline and whip in a cross. To combat that, ensure you've got rapid full-backs who can cover those pockets to block crosses, and tall centre-backs to head away the ball.

Equally, the more you play the easier you'll find it to close down space and shut off gaps in your line. You'll naturally learn to jockey an opponent and skip back while facing them, as well as when to switch defender based on whereabouts on the pitch the buildup play is approaching.

These things will become second nature, but don't defend absent-mindedly. Instead, take notice of the times you're caught out, and remedy them for the future.

Don't be scared to slide

Lastly, never feel like slide tackling is a forbidden fruit in FIFA 23. Of course, doing so can be risky, but the reach of a slide tackle is often far greater than its standing counterpart.

The only area of the pitch where you really want to steer clear of sliding is the box and the ten yards or so immediately outside of that. FIFA players rarely tend to score from indirect free-kicks, though penalties and direct free-kicks are much easier to nab a goal from.

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Obviously, you won't want to go clattering into every challenge, but there's certainly a time and a place for a slide tackle on the pitch. If the ball looks winnable but just out of standing tackle range, then the worst you'll come off with is a foul.

Just keep the basics in mind: don't slide from behind and don't slide off the ball! Otherwise, you'll very often find yourself playing with ten men.

That's it for our defending tips in FIFA 23! To read even more on the game, check out how to score Power Shots with the new mechanic, as well as the coveted Puzzle Master SBC solution.