FIFA 19 has a new patch on PC (coming to Xbox One and PS4 “in the near future”), and this one looks to address the issue of players finding it much easier and more effective to let their AI teammates defend for them. This patch is aimed at making controlling your own defenders a “more rewarding and effective method of defending”.
In order to do this, EA has reduced the distance that an AI Teammate defender will stretch to block a shot or make a tackle. EA seems to think that people can’t work out for themselves what exactly classes as an “AI Teammate”, so just in case you’re confused, an AI Teammate is any player on the pitch that is not being controlled by a human or is not the CPU AI Controlled Player. To make manual defending more satisfying, EA has increased the tendency of the ball to travel further from the dribbler after a well-timed tackle, meaning that there will be an increased likelihood of the dribbler losing possession of the ball. This will be a very welcome change; there’s nothing worse than making a perfectly-timed challenge only to see the attacker keep the ball at his feet.
EA has also increased the impact to fatigue of playing with defensive pressure, and they say that this change will have the biggest impact to fatigue when playing with Constant Pressure enabled in your active Game Plan or when playing with Team Press active. Conversely, this change will have reduced impact to fatigue when playing with Pressure On Heavy Touch or Pressure After Possession Loss enabled in your active Game Plan. To break this down into simpler terms, this basically means that your team will now get more fatigued when playing with Constant Pressure enabled or when playing with Team Press active. EA has noticed that players weren’t getting fatigued enough when playing on these settings, allowing teams to defend effectively with pressure for the entire match. Now, players will have to choose when to defend with pressure more carefully so that they don’t tire their team out too quickly.
The update also reduces the number of first time passes that CPU AI Controlled players will make out of their defensive third of the pitch when playing on Legendary or Ultimate difficulty, adds a number of new Starheads and addresses numerous bugs and issues.