My first season in Division 1 has been a whole new lease of life. At the tail-end of last summer, I was slightly besotted with the Xbox360 version of PES6. At the moment I’m in pretty much the same place with PES2010, despite its faults. And after spending no less than 7—that’s SEVEN—seasons in Division 2, things are now a little peculiar up here in Division 1 (of which more later). But hey, it’s still PES. It’s still Master League. And now I’ve got a Treble to win. League, Cup, European Cup. It’s good to be back.
The Treble will be my long-term aim. Over the past few years I’ve got the Treble within 2-3 seasons (at most) of arriving in the top flight. To extrapolate from my struggles in Division 2, I should clinch the Treble just before the PES2011 demo arrives in September.
Right now my aim is to survive in Division 1. I showed enough poor form throughout my time in Division 2 to suspect that relegation may be a real possibility. It’s never happened to me before in Master League—but before this year, I’d never spent longer than 3 seasons in Division 2. Lesson noted. I must be careful, very careful.
First things first: transfer market activity, pre-season. I had no money. The only chance of getting any money was to sell a player or two. And I sold one of my brightest young stars, a player by the name of Faisil Khelie. He was in my squad for a few seasons. He led the line well for much of last season in particular, and he scored a few important goals. The transfer offer that came in for him was not really a ‘Golden Offer’ of the sort that often brightened the gloom in Division 2—it was only for about £3m. But that would nevertheless take me out of debt and into substantial credit; it would enable me to be active in this transfer window, rather than sit passively clicking the button to go from week to week. Ask any Master League fan and they’ll tell you. If you can’t do things in a transfer window, it’s just not the same.
With some excess cash I also picked up a few other players. BAMEN ROBERK sounds like a Ferengi from Deep Space 9, but he’s yet another good young CF snatched from the Youth Team. VOAVY, a Free Agent, is the fastest player I’ve had yet on PES2010 and is proving an excellent winger, and filling in at SS when required. As can be seen, I have lost Hutchinson to long-term injury. He’s out for 4-8 months. Ouch. Al Ghani (out of picture) is filling in. I’m committed now to the 4-3-3 formation.
I also changed my home and away strips for the first time in several seasons. It was always my routine to change at least one of the strips after every season. I stopped changing them as a kind of penance for failing to get promoted for so long. That period is now (hopefully) over.
My opening match in Division 1 was against Manchester City. They’re pretty good in PES2010, as they should be I suppose. I took the lead twice with two lovely Nemeth goals (both in the clip below).
I felt vindicated in my decision to sell Faisil Khelie. The game seemed to handle better in Division 1. Or was I just focused more? But City equalised against me twice. I felt there was nothing I could do about either of their goals, but close inspection of the replays showed numerous instances where I simply button-mashed rather than defended.
I was quite disappointed with ‘only’ a 2-2 from match 1. I met Manchester City again immediately in the Cup. It ended 1-1, a carbon copy of the League match. They won the second leg 0-1, but I wasn’t unhappy to be out of the Cup. Back in the League I beat Bolton 2-1 and loved the fresh and supple feel of the game. Sunderland, my long-standing bogey team since 2007, beat me 2-1. Overall, it was a good start, as summed up in this short clip:
See that pitch in the last clip? Looks a lot like a PES6(360) pitch, doesn’t it? The more that PES2010 can feel like PES6(360), the better, in my view.
The season unfolded and I played against all the big guns. Arsenal completely thrashed me 5-0—I hardly had a kick. But I drew with Man Utd, beat Liverpool, and lost 1-0 to Chelsea in a game I should have won easily. The weird thing about Division 1 now is the state of the Liverpool and Man Utd first teams. There’s hardly a recognisable name amongst them. Most of the other big teams still have most of their present-day squads. What has happened at Liverpool and Man Utd?
I did well enough against the other teams in Division 1 to be holding steady in 6th place—SIXTH!—at the halfway stage of the season (table below). My goal-scoring problems continue, sadly. I need to accelerate up the ladder towards getting top-rated strikers. Not crawl up it, the way I seem to be doing.
I’ve decided it’s time for me to cast off the stabilisers of Professional difficulty level and go back up to Top Player. This might seem perverse, almost masochistic. I’m enjoying PES2010 right now. I’m still getting, right now, a decent challenge on Professional, as shown by that 5-0 drubbing by Arsenal. But I do partly share many PES players’ opinions that Top Player is really the only one that counts.
In Friday’s post I’ll complete this first Division 1 season. As things stand, I could clinch a very unlikely first-season European place. But how will that prospect be affected by a sudden transition to Top Player difficulty?