Here’s the player I hope will be the final piece of the puzzle. It’s season 15 in my ML world. Sibon, one of PES2012′s big-name strikers, is currently aged 29 and rated 91 OVR. He’s almost certainly about to decline, so I might only get a season or two of value from him. That’d be enough for me.
He arrived in the January window, the transfer having been arranged back in November. I watched the press conference cutscene—and then promptly forgot all about him.
I only remembered that Sibon was around when he turned up in the office after the next match, moaning about not being picked.
I told him that I was keeping him fresh for another game. Sadly, there isn’t an option to reply: ‘Uh, sorry dude, I forgot you were here…’
In my defence, he must have been on a blue or purple arrow for the preceding match. I always scan through my whole squad before every match, automatically ignoring players on blue and purple arrows.
Playing with Sibon, when I eventually picked him, was very intriguing.
My existing big striker, Caracciolo, is more of a ‘beanpole’ type than the ‘brick shithouse’ big guy as represented by Sibon.
I previously had Ribeiro as a young player and then again as a fading thirtysomething, and only ever saw flashes of what could be possible with a big man up front.
Already with Sibon, I am seeing what the fuss is about—and also what the drawbacks potentially are.
His very first touch—against Liverpool, in the match above—was a glancing header from a cross that just trickled agonisingly past the post. Unlike Ribeiro and others, Sibon has got power in his shooting boots. He crashed a mighty snapshot against the post from the edge of the area late on.
But the drawbacks are already obvious. I spent most of my time trying to set up crosses for him to feed off. On this occasion, the AI snuffed out almost every attempt. It was quite something to see the CPU fullbacks dementedly getting across to cover.
By focusing most of my efforts down the channels, I neglected to develop play in other areas. I had hardly any conventional shooting chances—it was all wingplay and failed crosses.
I was lucky to get a 1-1 draw out of this match in the end. If I hadn’t had Sibon in the team, would I have played ‘normally’ and fashioned a few goals in the normal way? Who knows. It’s certainly a tendency I’ll have to be careful about in the future.
In the league generally, things are going well.
Manchester United thumped me on the opening day of this season. I played the return fixture against them at my place. BIG game.
I had to win. Or at least not lose.
The match was as tough as any on PES2012, ever—which means it was a tough match. We all know the score. The super-dribblers. The players on your own team who suddenly can’t pass or trap the ball.
I took the lead from a Forlan header, somehow. A few minutes later, Man Utd were level, thanks to a 35-yard daisycutter from Littbarski—no complaints, a good goal. But I do kind of regret unleashing the Classics on this world now. Every team seems to have one or two. The big teams have as many as they like.
The game was fading out to a 1-1 draw. Not a bad result at all, and a lot better than the defeat it could just as easily have been.
With a minute left, I brought on Rooney as a sub, hoping against hope. From a throw-in, I tried for a turn-and-shoot goal, every other method having failed. And I had this shout-out-loud moment:
The goal of my season so far. Not for its quality—it’s just a standard kind of goal for me—but for what it represented, of course. A massive 2-1 win and three ultra-precious points.
There was time for Man Utd to so nearly get an instant equaliser straight from kickoff.
Of all the scripts that assail you in PES2012, and there are plenty, the CPU’s straight-from-kickoff powerup is my least favourite. A few super-dribbles and magic dances were all it took for United’s Mario Balotelli (yes, I know) to be clean through on goal.
Happily for me, he thumped the ball wide. If that had gone in, I would not have been a happy man at all. In fact, I would have been furious.
The table afterwards: