Ultimate FIFA 22 defending guide for new controls, tactics & player instructions

David Purcell
fifa 22 defending with alaba for real madrid

FIFA 22 gameplay changes bring a load of new defending tactics, player instructions, and potentially meta-changing features as well – all of which we’ll run through in this FIFA 22 defending guide. 

On July 29, EA revealed lots of gameplay changes in the first batch of Pitch Notes – some of which have already proven to be very popular in the community.

Blocks were one of the most frustrating features of defensive play in FIFA 21, though they have been significantly down tooled this time. That’s not all, either.

Here, we’ll be breaking down all the new defensive features, and how to use them.

FIFA 22 gameplay changes

fifa 22 gameplay changes defending

A number of gameplay changes have been announced for FIFA 22, some of which can be seen in the gameplay trailer.

FIFA 22 gameplay trailer

New FIFA 22 defending controls

Learning your FIFA 22 controls is a very basic step, and many experienced players of the series will know much of them already.

There are a few new controls, though.

  • Shoulder Challenges / Seal Outs: Tap O/B whilst side-by-side with your opponent when defending to trigger a shoulder challenge or seal out.
  • Manual Block: Tap O/B close to the moment of the shot/pass while your player is within the passing lane or shooting course.
  • Teammate Contain: Hold R1/RB to have an AI-controlled player contain the ball carrier. The difference is, this year the longer you hold, the more stamina the container will use.
  • Icon Switching: Press R3 while defending and you will see UI elements above four of your players. Flick R3 in the direction of the player you want to select.
  • Technical Clearances: Hit R1/RB + X/B to kick the ball forward and as far away as possible from the area.

New defending tactics

Defensive tactics in FIFA 22 will change quite significantly, with EA making four significant tweaks. These can be found below.

Custom Tactics slider

  • Depth and Width Sliders now range from 1 to 100, allowing for more nuanced customization.
fifa 22 defensive tactics
Decide how high or deep your defensive line will sit with increased options in FIFA 22 defending tactics.

How to block in FIFA 22

Blocking has experienced what appears to be a serious nerf in FIFA 22, with the following changes being made:

  • Automatic blocks are now less effective when the player is not Jockeying.
  • Automatic blocks are not as successfully performed and have higher chances of missing.

New FIFA 22 player instructions

Free Roam

  • Free Roam instructions for CDMs allow for a deep-lying playmaker role coming closer to support the ball handler and also dropping deeper to receive a pass during  possession or build-up.

Step Up

  • Step Up instructions for Center Backs and Full Backs can have them step out of position and mark opposing attackers tighter when they are free to receive a ball. This is the inverse of the Stick to Position instruction.
fifa 22 player instructions
You will notice new FIFA 22 player instructions this year.


  • Overlap Instructions for Center Backs (only for 3 or 5 defender formations) allow the CB to overlap wide when in the correct position and provide attacking support to teammates.

Meta tactics

alexander arnold in fifa 22 defending image
Meta tactics for FIFA 22 will be more apparent when the game launches.

Changes to FIFA 22 defending tactics give players the ability to defend deeper, which could be a sign of what’s to come in the meta. Previous FIFA games have been very defensive-minded, especially in FUT Champs, and these changes – particularly the slider – could have a similar effect.

It is early to call any of these meta tactics for the time being, though once EA Play has been released with early access, we’ll be sure to update this guide.


Based on the FIFA 22 gameplay changes, it would be an early prediction to say flexible systems may be the best in the game. For example, the new player instructions to Free Roam, Overlap, and Step Up sound ideal for formations with three at the back, offering backup when players move positions on the field.

Check out our best formations guide for more details.