Welcome to another edition of the Tactics Room where we will be tackling PES 2021 false winger strategy. This is the second in a series of articles aimed at helping to explain some of the intricacies of PES 2021, specifically when it comes to tactics. If you’re unfamiliar with PES or new to the sport, tactics are simply:
“An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end. In a football context, tactics can be described as how a team manages space, time and individual actions to win a game.”
Tactics in PES play a vital role in implementing a particular style or game plan to get the most out of your players. PES 2021, in all its glory, can get a little overbearing when it comes to tactics. When to apply them, what to apply and so on are all questions you’ll ask yourself over the course of a match, so hopefully this series of articles helps you when it comes to the tactical side of the game.
For this second article (again, you can find Anchoring here), we’re going to tackle the advanced instructions menu. For those unaware of what advanced instructions are, they are a set of preset tactics found on the “gameplan” screen. These preset tactics help to execute strategies on both attack and defense. With roughly 15 options to choose from, you can select up to four at a time (two for both attack and defense) while also mapping them to the D-pad. Activating these in the match is as simple as pressing “L2 + D-pad direction,” and by doing so you’ll see a small text notification when they’re activated.
Now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s jump right into the focus of this blog: false winger.
PES 2021 False Winger Strategy
What Is It?
“Wingers (or wide midfielders when no wingers are present) who stray from their traditional wide positions to play more centrally. When a false winger comes inside, the full back on the same side will move into advanced positions.”
False Winger In Action
Pros Of False Winger
The primary benefit of deploying the false winger strategy comes from having your wide players in a more central position. As traditional wingers (those who send in crosses) have increasingly been phased out of the modern game, the rise of “inside forwards” has exploded. Inside forwards are essentially players who aren’t quite strikers but are comfortable in playing in the half space:
Tucking in, false wingers usually are inverted (playing with the strong foot on the inside) so that they can shoot on goal and/or dribble towards the goal.
Cons Of False Winger
The only major con of the false winger advanced instruction is that it deprives your team of width. With so much of soccer tactics aimed at finding space, crowding your striker(s) with extra bodies naturally draws extra attention by way of defenders. Now you can always add width by way of attacking/offensive fullbacks (more on this shortly), but adding your fullbacks to attack could potentially leave you exposed for counterattacks as your opposition can exploit the space vacated by your fullbacks.
What Formations Work Well With False Winger?
Really, any formation that utilizes wingers or wide midfielders (4-3-3, 4-4-2, etc..) work well with false wingers. 4-3-3 with attacking fullbacks is still the formation of choice with false wingers as it gives you options both centrally (striker and two wingers) and out wide (FBs and LMF/RMF) with enough cover by the way of your midfielders in case you get caught with too many players up the pitch.
If you do try the 4-4-2 with false wingers it’s important to note that you’d want differing qualities. We’ll talk about what types of players work well with false winger shortly, but you generally would want to have one striker that drops deeper while the other plays off the back shoulder of the last defender.
What Happens When You Combine With Other Advanced Tactics?
Since you can assign two advanced tactics when in attack, there are a few other tactical options that you can pair with it to get the most of out of your attack. The obvious pairing is “attacking fullbacks” as it helps to provide some of the width that goes missing but it’s not always necessary if you have fullbacks who are “attacking” anyway. If that is the case and you have naturally gifted fullbacks in attack, employing “hug the touchline” is a great pairing as it ensures that you have a player (usually a fullback) on the opposite side of the field near the touchline providing width and the always fun “switch” (crossing the ball from one side to another via a cross).
Another interesting pairing is “wing rotation” because that gives you wide options when your now centrally deployed winger has the ball in the half space:
As you can see from this video captured during training mode, once the midfielder receives the pass in the right half space, the winger to the right moves towards the sideline taking what would be the defender with him, opening up space near the right side of the 18-yard box, which Kevin De Bruyne takes advantage of with a run in behind. So if you’re using both the “false winger” and “wing rotation,” you’ll most likely see wing rotation override false winger. This means your winger will go wide unless he’s the one who initiates the attack, in which case your overlapping fullback will be the widest player while your closest midfielder will attempt to make the run in behind.
What Players (Playing Styles) Work Well With False Winger?
There are a few playing styles that work well with false winger. For starters, “roaming flank” players work really well because they naturally cut inside to find the space in order to receive the ball. Players such as Antoine Griezmann and Leo Messi are two of the best “roaming flanks” in PES 2021:
High dribbling stats mixed in with good balance and tight possession help when coming inside because it helps in beating defenders in tight spaces, something which you’ll have to do frequently with this tactic. “Creative playmakers” also fare well as they naturally find the pocket of space necessary to make themselves available for a pass. If you’re looking for a good runner from midfield, it’s important to have the “hole player” playing style as he will constantly make runs into the box. Someone like the aforementioned De Bruyne is vital if you want goals from midfield.
False wingers is one of my go-to advanced instructions, especially when playing Master League with less popular clubs that don’t have players with a plethora of playing styles. I tend to play often with inverted wingers because there are not too many big aerial #9s anymore to whip crosses into. I change my attack/defense levels (up/down on the D-pad) a lot during matches, which brings up/pulls back players, so when I’m chasing a goal I’m often on “one above default for attack” with “false wingers” and “attacking fullbacks” set. I find that it helps get me the numbers I need in attack, but beware because you can easily get caught out if you’re not careful.