So it finally happened—my charmed life in season 16 is over.
I had a bad session, and lost a match for the first time this season. I drew one other, against Arsenal, my nearest title challengers. I played about 5 matches and felt that I was generally struggling against the tide of Superstar in full spate.
The match I lost was against Chelsea, at home, 0-1. I had expected to win. Chelsea are a good side but not a top side in my ML right now. As ever, of course, I should have known better. It’s the middling and upper-middling sides that you often have to watch out for the most.
It was my first match after a day away from the game. Maybe I was rusty. I was certainly complacent. Chelsea’s goal, though, was total bullshit.
It was 0-0 heading for the final whistle, and looking like staying that way. I just couldn’t get anything going up front. Then Chelsea attacked down my wing and put in a weak floating cross that I should have dealt with.
Somehow, though, none of my CBs jumped. The weak cross trickled along the ground past another three defenders to the feet of a lone CPU striker on the outside corner of the box. He slotted home.
I absolutely battered Chelsea’s goal for the remaining 20 minutes of the match, creating at least two 100% goal-scoring opportunities, and several half-chances. It was not to be.
The final whistle went and I was truly gutted. An unbeaten league season on Superstar would have been something very special, perhaps as good as the Treble itself. (Which is still on, by the way. Benfica are coming up in the Champions League.)
Oh, the thought flitted through my mind that I could always reload the lost match and play it again. None of you would ever know. But I’d know, and it would be unclean.
This strict no-reloading policy is my one fanatical quirk. I can have all the Classics and big-name players I like, but I can never, ever reload a game to get a different result. One outcome, and only one outcome.
I made up for the disappointment in the next match with a fine 3-1 win over Man City.
Arsenal, hot on my heels, are relentless. After every match I check the other scores, thinking that they’re bound to lose one eventually—but they always seem to beat everyone 5-0.
Their goal-scoring is completely out of kilter with every other team’s. As such, the goal difference factor means that I probably cannot afford to lose one more match all season. No pressure then, no pressure at all.