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The Ultimate Targetman Guide

24938 posts Player of the Year
edited October 2016


Welcome to the FUT 16 Ultimate Targetman Thread. In this thread I will tell you all about targetmen. I'll list key attributes, give a list of some of the best targetmen in FUT 16 and how to generally use them.

Why do I want to use a targetman? I basically want a player who will hold up the ball and bring his team-mates into play, choosing how and when to pass the ball to maximise the potential of the attacking movement. What stats a player needs to utilise this will be featured further on in this thread.

One of the reasons I also want to use a targetman, is because I sometimes play striker for my own team. As I'm not the fastest it's not very useful for me to try to get to throughballs. I'm quite tall, strong and a fairly good header of the ball, so I use that to my advantage. I will hold on to the ball so the midfield and the wingers can join me in the attack. I would rarely take on a player. This is how I use a targetman in FIFA too. Therefore stats like pace aren't as important to me. I will talk about stats later.
The Targetman

The striker who is usually surrounded by people with a strong ability to cross, locate and aim at this player. This is a famous tactic used for when strikers are tall, strong and have a good ability to score goals with their head – a similar tactic is to simply use the target man as a shield for the ball, who can hold up play and play through inside attackers or present wingers. For this to work, the target man must have exceptional vision and passing abilities.

In the team, either wide midfielders or wingers will be utilised in order to be able to find this target man, who will usually be playing alone on the front line.

The upcoming trend of smaller, faster strikers such as Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero have caused this ‘target man’ to reduce in popularity. Famous target men of recent time include the likes of:
  • Luca Toni
  • Fernando Llorente
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic

While these strikers are the most accomplished, it is clear that the evolution of ‘tica-taca’ football played by the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal has revolutionised how football is played. There are few footballers who have achieved such status as a target-man, as it involves a strong use of physicality which has been eradicated through diving and poor refereeing.

Holding up the ball

“The key is not to lose the ball when you get it. If I’m alone, I try to protect the ball and keep defenders away using my back, arms, strength and balance. That’s important because if I can hold the ball, it gives the team a chance to join me in attack. I’ll hold it until the rest of the other players come into play. As soon as there’s a player in a better position, I’ll give him the ball. Or, I can go for goal myself. That’s sometimes my instinct. I’m an intelligent player and will make the right choice at that moment.”
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic

I asked my friend Zlatan about holding up play and what a good targetman needs to do. He mentioned what for me is the most important part of a targetman.
I’ll hold it until the rest of the other players come into play. As soon as there’s a player in a better position, I’ll give him the ball.

In FUT this means you need wingers who can score. This also means the whole attack needs to work as a unit and should be utilized as a unit.

The Key Attributes

So what are the key attributes of a good targetman? In my opinion the following are essential.
  • Height
  • Jumping
  • Attacking Positioning
  • Ball Control
  • Finishing
  • Shot Power
  • Strength
  • Shortpassing
  • Heading

A targetman needs to be good in atleast most of these stats. Of course not every targetman can pass as good as Xavi, but he still needs to atleast be able to distribute the ball properly.

How to use a Targetman

In this part I will try to explain how to build a team around a targetman. I will go by every position in a formation that I think is suited for a targetman. I will not be doing 442 and other 2 striker formations though. Bear in mind this is all my opinion and you are free to disagree.

The Formations
What formation is the best for a targetman? I mostly only use a 1 striker formation like 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3(2 or 4), 4-1-4-1. This will make the play revolve around your striker. Being in the middle and having plenty of room will make it much easier for him to make himself available and setting up play. A targetman also works wonders in a 442 with a more agile striker next to him. Had IF Long and Pelle in a squad and it worked quite good.

The Goalkeeper
Can be anyone really. I like them to have good kicking so they can distribute the ball better to the targetman so he can head it on or control it himself
Examples:Neuer, De Gea, Sommer, Bravo.

The Rightback
The rightback is more significant, mostly because he, along with the leftback, will support the attack from the wings. This means they will get into crossing positions a lot.
To make them as useful as possible, I reccomend using H/M or H/H workrates.
Examples:Danilo, Florenzi, Srna, Bruno Peres, De Marcos.
Instructions: I always have my backs on overlap, no matter what formations I'm using. This way you can "double team" the opponents fullback with your winger and fullback as most players have their forwards on "stay forward"

The Centrebacks
Just like the goalkeeper, this can be anyone. As long as they're solid.
Examples:Varane, Boateng, Bonucci, Chiellini, T. Silva, Pique, Bruma.
Instructions: Default

The Leftback
As I already mentioned, your fullbacks will be supporting your attack a lot if you want to really use your targetman to the fullest. So these 2 players need to have good crossing and if possible a good longshot too.
Examples:Vangioni, Willems, Baines, Adnan.
Instructions:Same as rightback

The Midfield
The midfield is always important, no matter what playstyle you use. I like my midfield to be balanced, so I always try to have one defensive midfielder, one playmaker and a attacking or box-to-box midfielder. Having a box-to-box midfielder as a lone CDM also works very good. They're usually bombing up the field anyway, so they can support the attack much better than a traditional CDM.
Example of a defensive midfielder:Busquets, Camacho, De Rossi, Bazoer.
Example of a playmaker:Parejo, Pjanic, Thiago, Hernanes.
Example of a attacking midfielder:Isco, Cazorla, Eriksen, Raul Garcia.
Instructions: I always have atleast 1 midfielder on stay back when attacking. They will still bomb forward, but much less than they would otherwise.

The Wingers
Allong with the targetman the most important players in the squad. They must be able to cross and shoot. I usually have one winger with their strong foot on their strong side. A good example of this is Susaeta. Him being rightfooted on the right means he can easily swing in a cross. The other winger would than be inverted. Players like Konoplyanka are a good example, as they also have good shooting stats. Allong with the 4* WF it makes him a dangerous player on the wings. He can either shoot or cross, making him unpredictable.
Examples:Neymar, Susaeta, Navas, Lestienne, Konoplyanka, Candreva, Felipe Anderson.
Instructions:You want the inverted winger to be able to cut inside. Set the other winger to "stay wide" so he stays at the sidelines. Keeping the pitch wide is very important as it forces your opponent to stretch out his defence, allowing your striker to get into better positions.

The Targetman
You should know what a targetman is by now.

Targetman in different formations

The 433(2) is a great formation for a targetman. It gives you lots of space for your striker to hold up play. The striker has space to drop deep, which opens up space for the wingers to get inside, making the fullbacks go forward is essential in this formation. The CMs also have plenty of goal opportunities.

Having the ball
In the next picture you see the space the players have.
Important is that you don't set players to stick to their position to frantically. Give them space to work their magic on the ball. Playing a high line is, in my opinion, essential as it gives you the opportunity to switch play from one to another side easily. Key for this type of play is the CDM. More on that later.

As you might have seen, is that the formation is basically a bunch of triangles together. Use that to your advantage. Try making triangles when passing, for example, from your LB to your LCM to your LW and back to your LB to cross it in.

The triangles
Here you can see the players that can be grouped together to make the ball go round and make your opponent crazy.

Instructions and adviced players
Centre backs set to standard. I like CBs that can play a pass, like Pique, Bruma etc.

Fullbacks set to overlap. I usually have fullbacks that are more wingers than defenders. They need to be able to get forward to put in a cross or even pop up in the box to score a goal. Willems, Marcelo, Alba, Dani Alves are good examples.

CDM set to stay back, man marking. Acts more like a extra CB in defence, but essential to starting attacks. Needs to have good passing stats, prefferably vision, short- and longpassing. Alonso, Guardado, Bruno, Busquets are good players.

CMs can be set to what you prefer, I usually have them to get forward and default attacking. I also have one CM to get in the box(usually can head a ball) Preffered players: Marchissio, Klaassen, Ziyech.

Wingers, one set to cut inside and the other to stay wide. Default defending(never stay forward) Have one winger that can have dribble inside and maybe set up a 1-2 with the striker. The other winger needs to be a hybrid between a playmaker and a traditional winger, acting more like a CAM.

The striker set to targetman and stay central Sometimes have him on balanced, so he can drift wide and make more space for the other players.

Custom Tactic
I don't always use a CT, but when it gives me an advantage over my opponents then I will not hesitate to use it. Like the preset high pressure, when you notice your opponent makes hasty and misplaced passes a lot, putting him under even more pressure so he has even less time to think about where to place his passes.




I've noticed people have trouble with crossing this year, because of keepers getting to every cross that comes even remotely close to them. I will give some ways to hopefully help you become more succesfull at crossing.

Early Crosses
What I've noticed to be quite succesfull this year are early crosses. Early crosses are more effective because it's mostly only your targetman who's near the box or your RW. For it to go to your RW you need to put lots of power in it so it should usually go to your striker. As he is running towards goal, it's easier to head the ball towards it.

As seen here in this example the striker has lots of space as the defender hasn't marked him yet. This is made easier because people prefer defenders with bad marking, but high pace. So your striker will have lots of time to get to the ball and with that much space he is bound to atleast make the goalkeeper work.

You can perform a early cross by pressing L1+Square(PS) or LB+X(Xbox). The crossing variables of nearpost and ground crosses also work with crossing it early.

Endline crosses
Endline crosses are crosses when your player is, like the name suggests, near the endline. This way of crossing gives your strikers time to set up in the box. This also gives defenders time to get into position, allthough a good striker and cross will usually beat them. The goalkeeper however are quite good at intercepting crosses this year.

One way to beat them is to do a nearpost cross(double tap X or square). This way the goalkeeper doesn't have time to get to the ball. This does however make it harder to head the ball at the goal as the goal becomes very 'narrow'.

Another way of crossing is by giving it a bit more power than necesarry, causing the ball to go high and drop when it is past the goalkeeper. This can cause the cross to be overpowered or it may go to your winger that probably isn't the best at heading(or you must have Dirk Kuyt or Ronaldo on the wings)



Post edited by BlitzersNL on


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