The best formation in PES 2016 is the one that suits your players and your style of play the most.
I can’t put my finger on one formation and say – this one is the best. There are some general directions that can be followed to maximize your success in this game by choosing the right formation. I will introduce you to the one I currently use (with Tenerife).
For the first fours seasons of my ML campaign with Tenerife, I used formations with 4 at the back. I’ve started using 343/541 formation this season and I think this is the one for me.
There are too many goals scored and conceded in this game. The most realistic results I get is when I have totally defensive team instructions. And, not less important, I almost always use man marking (except in home games against weakest opponents).
Man marking won’t do you any good if you still don’t know how to play defence (read my tutorial if you don’t). If you do, man marking will be crucial, especially in big matches. Double-mark Messi on RWF with your LB and LM and you’ll double the chance of stopping him. And this can’t be repeated enough – man marking doesn’t work as a magical stopper for opposition attackers. Top players will still leave their markers behind, like they do in real life. It helps if your player has a Marking skill (find it in his profile among Player skills), but doesn’t guarantee anything.
Player positions in my formation explained
Centre backs are centre backs, not much philosophy there.
The main idea behind it is to have capable full backs who become MR and ML in the attack. But! When I play games where I expect to have a hard time, they remain in the defence even when I attack. In other words, when in possession, they don’t go to MR and ML positions but remain at RB and LB.
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Two central midfielders are physically capable players with one being a strong defensive midfielder (Casemiro) and another one more agile box-to-box player (Azeez, they call him The General :))
Then we have AMC and SS on the other side. These positions I change the most. If the game doesn’t go the way I planned, I sometimes change the AMC to SS and SS to RWF (with substitutions usually).
And the attacker. I tried many players – I have regen Klose (OR 83), bought Iccardi (OR 84), but they aren’t what I need. The player who started playing incredibly came from my youth system – Josip Rukavina. He’s my first choice now. Here is his screenshot. You’ll notice that his physical abilities are great.
No big players, nice results
You’ll notice that my players are very good, but still not at the Barcelona or Real Madrid level. I don’t even want them to be, that’s why I don’t buy superstars. I’ve had regens develop into great players and even have some free transfers from the first seasons in my first 11 like Casteldine and Blanco. I’ve bought players like Azeez along the way. He will never get past 75-76 OR and yet, is invaluable to me. I’ve even bought Toni Kroos this season to replace him and after a few games decided to sell him.
This formation (and my understanding of how to play defence) enables me to be just behind Barcelona (having defeated them in our last match). This is not easy to achieve on Superstar, considering what I read on PES forums. I also qualified for the knockout phase of Europe League (I lost in Champions League qualifiers at the beginning of the season and that’s why I started using this tactic).
If you want, you can give this formation a try, if you’ve got the right players. But, I urge you to also read my tutorials on attack and defence. Especially defence – if you don’t learn that right, you won’t be successfull in this game, no matter what formation you use.