Season 2017 got underway with a high-scoring game against FC Basel. My newly-positioned central stiker, Kim Cyun Hi, scored 4 goals in a sensational performance. He had a hat trick by half time, and then knocked in his fourth goal partway through the second half. The final score was 6-2.
I’ve almost given up trying to keep clean sheets. It seems to me that PES2008, more than any other ‘classic’ PES, simply isn’t very ‘clean-sheet-friendly’. Or, again, is it me? I’ve made a big deal out of my averageness at the game—is being relatively poor in defence just another aspect of being average? I always think that I should be better at defence after spending many seasons on PES5 conceding less than 10 goals. If I made up my mind not to concede a goal, I usually could do it. It doesn’t seem to work in PES2008.
My other two goals against Basel came from my other two strikers. Giggs out on the left bagged himself one, and Del Piero on the right—playing instead of an unfit Andy Cole—also contributed with a fine drive from an acute angle. It’s always good when all of your strikers get on the scoresheet. I like to imagine that it improves their collective morale and sharpens them up for the next game, although this is probably wishful thinking.
Del Piero, incidentally, is one of my squad’s unsung heroes. I’ve had him as a Regen for a few seasons now and his stats have suddenly shot up. I most often play him as an AMF in place of Camacho or Dos Santos when required. For some reason I always think of Del Piero solely as a midfielder, despite him being extremely handy as a CF.
I’ll try to focus upon Del Piero—and my other unsung heroes—in due course. For now, I look at Del Piero in particular and wonder if I should pick him instead of Dos Santos. Del Piero, although right-footed, has those two magic words—both sides—that enable him to play over on the ‘wrong’ side of the pitch. However, I like to match players’ footedness with their positions. I just think a left-sided role demands a left-footed player. Eveything seems to work better that way—at least in my mind, which is arguably where any team has to work first if it’s to work at all.
Maybe I should have got a left-footed AMF in the pre-season. I spent the negotiation period not getting any new players. I did want a couple of new players, and tried for some top targets (Shaw, Bos, Khumalo) but they wouldn’t come to me after two attempts each and I just gave up.
My squad, although brilliant (if I may say so myself), felt a little stale at times last season. Yes, I won the Treble, but in the League it was more a case of the top CPU team, Valencia, mysteriously throwing it away. I lost or drew too many games, I finished the season top of the league on goal difference, with a win average of just 60% and an unpleasant taste in my mouth.
I’m definitely suffering from PES fatigue. I suffer from it at some point every PES year. I’m only human, and familiarity breeds contempt, and worse things happen at sea, and so on and so forth… This year has been my worst year for PES fatigue—for several reasons. For one thing there’s the startling emergence of FIFA and its beguiling new style of football gaming. There’s also the fact of so many other great games on the next-gen consoles all clamouring for my attention. I still haven’t played my copy of Mass Effect, and I know I want to.
But the main reason is that I’ve probably played the PSP version of PES2008 just a bit too much. At times over the past few months, PES on the PSP has been the last thing I’ve done before going to sleep and the first thing I’ve done after waking up—for weeks at a time. There’s only so much of that kind of thing that any game could withstand. PES is only human too.