Panic on the streets of Carlisle

Somehow, I guided my Coventry City team through to the quarter-final of the League Cup. Somehow, my opponents were Carlisle United. That’s not very realistic. In the modern age, the League Cup is English football’s most seriously devalued cup competition. But it’d still be pretty weird to see Coventry City and Carlisle Utd duking it out for a place in the semi-final.

But FIFA09 is only a game, and I’ve been struggling of late, so I’ll take anything I can get right now. A nice little cup run could offset my poor league form. I’ve lost several league games in a row, all by the odd goal. It’s seen my job security plummet down to 52% or so. That’s getting dangerously near the point where board meetings take place and warnings are issued. If I get the sack whilst playing FIFA09 with all-Assisted settings, what hope is there for me?

It won’t come to that. I know that I can turn it around in the league. A good cup run or two will also help a lot.

The two-legged quarter final against Carlisle started off at my ground. I fought out a frustrating 0-0 draw. Carlisle actually had the bulk of the chances. They hit the same post twice during the same attack. Up the other end, I carved out precisely one clear-cut chance. I put McKenzie clean through on goal early in the second half. It was a one-two, with the two part being an aerial through-ball. I think this is a major fault in my FIFA09 game: addiction to aerial through-balls. They’ve been such a major part of the game in PES over the years. And they were pretty damn effective on FIFA08 last year. Over half of my FIFA08 goals came from crosses, but well over half of the remaining half came as a result of aerial through-balls.

But in FIFA09 they’re a lot less effective. They’re not ineffective. The last defender just always seems to head the ball away more often that not. You have to put a bit more on the through-ball, or look for some other way.

Anyway. McKenzie put the ball badly wide. Or better to say, I put the ball badly wide with McKenzie. I should have scored, but Assisted shooting isn’t as simplistic as some would have you believe on the FIFA forums.

Overall, I’m suffering something of a goal drought on the game at the moment. It’s not so much me, or FIFA09 itself that’s at fault. It’s the (frankly) piss-poor Coventry City players. I played a few matches of my Atletico Madrid save with the all-Assisted settings. Just to see. I won both games, 4-0 and 3-1. I was creating chances for fun in both matches. So my struggles are all to do with the unfortunate players of Coventry City. It’s the only thing it can be.

Which is fine. I like a challenge, and all that. Just not too time-consuming a challenge… I’m sure it’ll come good.

The second leg at Carlisle’s place also ended 0-0. That’s how it was at the end of extra time as well. It was a pretty dour match, all told. The penalty shoot-out came. Carlisle went first, and scored. Then I missed my first kick. Then I saved Carlisle’s next two kicks. I slotted home all my remaining penalties, and that was that. Through to the semi-final, to face Everton. The board were delighted.


  1. Good on you for reaching the semis. But how poor can your Coventry City players be, I’m not sure I can buy from EA. Wasn’t it a couple weeks ago that I watched Coventry play against Chelsea in the FA Cup. Aside from the two goals they were very much in it. I’m sorry I didn’t take note of any particular player I liked. But it was all competitive. Your midfielder with a long throw a la Rory Delap seems a good asset, except he likes to make them dip a bit, which is fine. I will be honest with you his play wasn’t spectacular when I saw him on the ball, although he really looked jaded without getting into any kind of rhythm during the game. I remain open to be proven wrong about him. I think his name is Gunarsson or something. I hope you see who I’m talking about. But it’s not the first time I come to make such remarks. I forgot their name, the team that knocked out Chelsea last year. They had a ridiculously strong center forward who gave the Chelsea defense all they could handle. I think it was Barnsley. Anyway, if you watched the game the balance of play didn’t overwhelmingly go to Chelsea. I could even argue that it leaned slightly on the side of the Championship side on account of some of the chances they created. Adidas live is supposed to replicate real life form so as to adjust stats more equitably. It seems to do the opposite, reading comments on the communities’ forums. It’s creating more of a gap and inadvertently encouraging Ronaldo and Messi whoring in online play.

    What about you not-Greg, can you honestly say that your Coventry players are significantly inferior to Premier League players?

  2. Hey not-Greg… do you have some kind of self-imposed rules when playing Manager Mode to make it harder. I took Darlington to 3 straight promotions on Legendary mode with mixed manual and semi assisited controls and it was simply down to the fact that my players stats shot through the roof after every game and the amount of money the game gives you via sponsors allows you to buy some pretty good players, even though I only bought transfer listed players the entire time. I’m not trying to big myself up here, I just want the game to be as realistic as possible and Darlington winning the Premier League in 4 years… well it just isn’t is it?

  3. steph_wheeler – good points you make about the disparity between top players and second-rank players in FIFA09, and how it just doesn’t match up to the reality. There isn’t that great a gulf in real life between top players and the rest of the top division’s/most of the second division’s players. I think it was Bill Shankly (one of the legendary managers in the English game) who said that over half the teams in the league were capable of winning the title, but only a few believed that that they could win it, and so they won it, year in, year out. ‘As a man thinketh, so is he’.

    Chris – No, I’m not using any house rules. I’m allowed to do what I want (at the moment), due to the core game experience being plenty hard enough for me.

    I think your experience wth Manager Mode is more a case of an impressive level of skill from you, rather than a puzzlingly dismal performance from me. Your performance with Darlington would put you up among the very best players of Manager Mode. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that very, very few players would be able to take a team like that to the Premier title in 4 seasons, on Legendary, using a mix of semi and manual controls.

    Like you I do feel the benefits of the post-match stats-boosts, and the generous sponsorship money. However, bear in mind that I’m an average (perhaps a below-average) player, and also that I haven’t actually made it through a full season with Coventry yet. Let’s see how good/bad I do after picking up a few decent players. As I said in the post, I do find this skill level relatively easy with my Atletico save.

  4. He went that far, did he? That’s something special. I will memorize that quote by the way.

    Not-Greg, please share with us your enthusiasm for Coventry City. Help me get to know the squad, lol. By the way, I love the real life kit better than the PES ones.

  5. A ha! You’ll shoot up the leagues given a couple of transfer windows not_Greg – believe me, I am no great shakes in the FIFA department.
    After reading about your experiences with Valkyria Chronicles I snapped up the last copy I could find in NZ and that is sat in a draw waiting to be played although, as an ex PES player going back to the original Playstation incarnations I’m tempted to try PES 09 for the offline experience as I have no real interest in online play – would you recommend it?

  6. steph_wheeler – sorry to mislead, that quote is from the Bible (Proverbs, ch 23), not from Bill Shankly! And as for Coventry City… whew. Where to begin? I shy away from real football talk on the blog, mainly because it’s a blog about football game(s) with little or no real-world football content, and I want to keep it that way. When it comes to CCFC, I’d need to write a thousand words just to set the scene, and connect it up to PES/FIFA in some way. I might just do so in a special post one of these fine summer days.

    chris – I found PES2009 a really great offline experience for a few months. I’ve never played it online and I never will. Sadly, like its predecessor the initial difficulty in Master League is somewhat illusory, and it ends up feeling too easy overall. A shame, but I still got 130 hours play out of it before it started to wear thin.

  7. No, I wasn’t misled. I easily understood the distinction. Bill Shankly commented about how a dozen team were possible title contenders. The quote I supposed was a wise proverb more than a century old. Apparently it’s significantly older than that. I can’t wait for that exciting Coventry City post. I’m hoping it will be brilliantly interesting.

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