Squad erat desperandum

Season 12 the horror the horror

The horror-show of Season 12 has continued. Last time, I’d only had a bad start — three defeats in three league matches.

This time, well — here’s the League table after 14 matches:

Season 12 after 14

11th in the table. 13 points behind the leaders. I’ve already lost 7 times (having lost only 4 times all last season), My goalscoring is pitiful, my defending woeful. It feels like one of my first seasons in the top flight instead of a Treble-hunting season.

I have played slightly distractedly, I’ll admit. I’ve played sometimes as if the game owes me easy goals and easy wins. Few people who have played PES2015 at length would say that it gives you anything easily.

I made a serious blunder at the end of last season that left me with a threadbare squad, as seen here:

First half of season 12 squad

I’ve already had more than a couple of suspensions and been unable to field a full subs’ bench, but thankfully PES2015 doesn’t then force a 0-3 forfeit the way FIFA15 does. You just play without a full subs’ bench.

I’m playing badly. I’m seeing some bizarre results, the likes of which I’ve never seen before:

Ridiculous 5-4 PES2015

That match went 1-0; 1-1; 1-2; 2-2; then I scored to make it 2-3 with 85 minutes gone, and I thought I had the win; it was 3-3 straight from their kickoff; I made it 3-4 straight from my kickoff, and cheered myself hoarse; but it was instantly 4-4, again straight from their kickoff (I shit you not); and just when I’d accepted the craziest 4-4 draw in my PES history, they nicked the ball and got the winner for 5-4 with 96 minutes showing.

It was thrilling, no question, and I confess to playing terribly to concede the goals I conceded.

The players don’t feel the same. I’m starting to wonder if there’s an automatic penalty levied on dumb-ass human managers like me who blunder into situations of having good players, but no squad to speak of. Apart from the obvious penalty where most of my players start most matches on half or three-quarter bars of stamina.

Bizarrely, things are going superbly in the Champions League itself. My draw was sort-of OK:

Season 12 Champions League draw

Juventus, PSV, Apoel FC. A standard sort of draw. I’ve played 4 matches and beaten Apoel home and away, beaten PSV away, and beaten Juve at home. Top of the group. I will qualify for the knockout stage.

With the Treble in mind it’s a shame I’m almost certainly out of the running for the domestic league.

Or am I?

Knowing PES as I do, and knowing Master League as I do, I know that if I just knuckle down and pick up a few results, then get to mid-season and bring some fresh players in, I can easily go on a run that will almost certainly see the game allowing me back into the title mix.

We might not like it, but that’s how Master League operates. There’s an auto-balancing script in play. The human player is never truly out of the running at this stage of the season. Even if I was rock-bottom now I’d fancy my chances of finishing in the top 6.

So that’s the plan: grapple with the game until mid-season transfer window, bring in some new decent players and a few Youths to bulk out the ranks, and then just go for it.

To finish with today, a brief pot pot-pourri of goals from the opening of this tricky campaign:

That first goal is from Pirlo, popping up in the DMF hole (the ‘Mathieu zone’ as my PES5-oiled mind will always think of it) to score one of PES2015’s signature types of goals (which I haven’t actually seen all that much of since the last few patches).

Goals 2 and 3 are from Drogba in full-on beast mode with two power-strikes.

And Goal 4 is Messi’s very first goal for me, coming after a long period of games where he did barely anything. He’s come good now, but still not a first-choice. Fit and in form, my front three remains the trio that helped me to the title last season: Forlan, Robben, Crouch. Drogba, incredibly, starts most matches on the bench, and so does Messi for now.


  1. NG – great goals. I too have felt what I call a “treacle” match where my players move as though tranquilised. Maybe it has something to do with the grass length the AI has tweaked before the match. I changed it in the first few matches then got superstitious and wont do it again.

    oh and by the way labour has started…

  2. Werd – All the best to you and Mrs Werd. Hope it’s not too long a labour. I have not-so-fond memories of that ordeal – and of course all dads know how hard it is for us. All that waiting, back rubbing and encouragement. Exhausting!

    n-G – That is quite a thing you’ve gone and done to yourself there. If Coventry’s board had half an AI in this game, you’d surely be up for the sack for leaving your club caught short like that.

    You must be desperate for that transfer window to open.

  3. Frater – good luck with everything and let us know how things go.

    NG – yep with the balancing there is certainly hope that you could still be in the mix. I am 10 points behind the leaders but you can’t rule anything out. I think once you bring in some extra bodies you will see results go in your favour. Your forward line up is certainly not short in depth.

  4. Well what a surprise!! one google search and i find Not-Greg is back alive and kicking? I can’t quite believe it, is it really you 🙂

    Nice to see the passion returned and the blood pumping in the control pad again NG.

    Btw are you PS4ing or Xbox1ing?

    Good luck with the season that regen squad looks epic!, did you go through and edit the superstars like Romario etc before starting? I was hoping someone had a list as I was thinking it might be time to get the Spitfires back out of retirement and into the league again.

    All the best.

  5. stewdog — I’m on PS4 and yep, it still feels pretty good to be back. Posting twice a week now instead of three times, as you probably noticed – and might go once a week during the true summer doldrums, depending on what happens with PES2015 – but all in all the old fire is back. This time round I’m not following my old policy of eventually responding to every single comment individually, which really ran me into the ground back on the old version of the blog. Otherwise it’s business as usual.

  6. Yes good luck werd, and if Tommy was any guide it’s not impossible to juggle a new baby and a football game. Not literally of course.

    Re my squad howler, it’s really wearing playing every game with a knackered team. I’m on record as saying I enjoy the challenge of getting through the odd match with no stamina, but having to do it match after match is something else entirely. I’m gagging for the mid-season window.

  7. NG, that post infuriated me! Not least the Spurs result but the fact that you have the safety net of KNOWING the game will allow you back in sooner or later! he way the CPU plays with you and strings you along is outrageous.
    I know PES2013 seems aeons ago now but I can relate so much to my recent experiences, indeed a couple of nights ago I had my first real wobble since Christmas (when I got my latest PS3) which led me to consider briefly sacking PES off, all manner of Sea Basstardry (you’re welcome) starting with late, inevitable goals, defenders not clearing, attackers not reacting etc etc, but then, in my Newcastle ML (starting in D2, sold everyone) I strung together 5 or 6 wins through October/November but the top 2 (QPR and Hull) matched it with 6 wins apiece, this was followed with a wretched run where I struggled to score (I get one of these runs every season, sometimes 2 or 3 times) drew or lost 4 or 5 games and SHOCK HORROR my rivals were given the EXACT same set of results. It’d be so much more of a legitimate challenge if they got at least a couple of wins so you really felt devastated to drop points.
    This scripted nonsense, coupled with the in game horrors led me to sit there on the end of my bed, staring into the abyss, furious, thinking to myself “I’m doing it, I’m going to email Konami and I want an explanation!”

    I mean, I WANTED TO……………but instead I plowed on to January(my favourite month in PES2013 ML, love me a regen!)signed Nicklas Bendtner and am happy again.

    Incidentally, your CB DAIRSELL, can he play RB too?

  8. 2 defeats after 27 games unbeaten in the League and the title challenge is over. League Cup Final the only chance of silverware this season.

  9. I look at PES and ML (and every other game I’ve ever played with the possible exception of chess) as being like great movies or TV shows. You know they’re all actors reading lines in carefully constructed scripts, but you immerse yourself in them and believe in them anyway. They evoke emotion that can be as real as anything experienced in the alleged real world, despite the fakery.

    SPOILER ALERT: I won 3 matches on the bounce this morning and nearly all the teams above me contrived to lose or draw. Currently I’m sitting just outside the top 6, just 8 points off the top of the table with half the season left and many six-pointers to come against the teams around me.

    Pathetic, isn’t it? After the terrible start I’ve had to this season I should be completely out of the title race until next. But I’m not out of it at all, and at this stage I expect to be there or thereabouts at the end. It’s totally and completely pathetic. Why put up with this blatant manipulation?

    Because it’s a world we consent to inhabit and believe in. Same as with other media.

    We know the Joker is just an Australian actor called Heath Ledger in makeup using professional acting skills, but we thrill to the words and exploits of the Joker – somebody who doesn’t exist and never could exist. Ditto ML and all its ways.

    Lloyd – if you have 9 matches left in your season, unless the league leaders are literally 28 points ahead of you, it’s nowhere near over.

  10. NG – my season this year has pretty much mirrored yours and I have climbed up to 7th with 10 points behind me and the leaders, even though I have lost 6. A couple of seasons ago I came 2nd having only lost 4 games, so to be in the mix having lost 6 already at the halfway stage does not seem quite right but as you say we take it for what it is and does it really matter?

  11. NG – it’s over only had 4 games left, League Cup Final about to start.

  12. Werd – I’m sure, like the baby’s head, you are otherwise engaged, but all the best.

  13. All the best, Werd!

    The one and only time I had Messi was in Pes 2010, when I bought him off Barca for 100+ m EUR. Since the accumulated funds had gone up to 200+m EUR, had to do something with it. Barca was strangely not the same team after that..

    The table scripting was responsible for my league title in season one. Milan were stuck in mid table for most of the season, but a late surge saw them taking the title on the last day of the season. But even with the scripting, we still have to get some wins 🙂

  14. Mini werd 2 born 18:29. 8lbs and doing fine. Should be home soon. Good job I finished off my season a couple of days ago. Thanks everyone.

  15. Congratulations Werd!! ☺

  16. Well done Frater and congratulations to all the family. Just lacking one bit of vital information is it a boy or girl 🙂

  17. Congrats to you Werd and of course Mrs Werd.

  18. Congratulations werd. Whether it’s a boy or a girl isn’t relevant. It’s a werd, and that’s all we need to know.

  19. Season 17 starts….. With a defeat against Man Utd in the English Super Cup. No major ins or outs, only Zidane as a regen. Onwards.

  20. Congratulations Werd – Durham born or in that dark place they call S*****land?

    Nice time too, ours was nearly 11pm and no one had warned me to take some food!

    I’m not watching because I’m still hammering the ‘rim at the moment (first Dwarven chamber last night – bloody hell) but the women’s world cup got me wondering if any footy game has ever featured a women’s team? We’ve had historic line ups, hats, Konami’s ludicrous wolves or whatever it was but I can’t think of one that doesn’t exclude 50% of the population.

    I am starting to wonder about my Fifa save or an FM game, purely because Skyrim is showing me how much I like that individual story in games – I’ve never been a team man like all of you – have any of you actually changed clubs?

  21. Turf – “still hammering the ‘rim at the moment”? For heaven’s sake don’t Google that!

  22. Turf – none that I could think of but I take it you have seen that Fifa will include 11 womens national teams this year. Bit of a gimmick though with that ammount of teams. More for publicity than a serious attempt.

  23. Darryl – I think your right, it does sound like a token effort. Worrying that this seems to be the first bit of concrete news, and they haven’t even bothered to include a league.

  24. The most notable thing about women’s football is how terrible the goalkeepers are. They just can’t cover the width and height of the goalmouth in the same way. They can’t handle the ball in the same way. Jumping for crosses and corners is completely different for women goalkeepers. There are two common types of ‘keeper: the lanky van der Sar/de Gea physical type, and the squatter, wider Peter Schmeichel/Shilton physical type – both would be ultra-rare among women. The goalkeeping is perhaps the one area of football where the male/female physical difference is glaringly obvious, and often a bit embarrassing.

  25. New PES 2016 teaser trailer hype!

    This is usually the part of the PES season where the second wind comes along and I find myself piling the hours back into the game, baby boy allowing.

    Congratulations Werd! It’s true what nG says, juggling a new baby and PES playing time don’t really see eye-to-eye, but the truth is I have been busying myself with other endeavours. The buzz will return, at some point. But the all-day PES sessions will probably have to wait until the missus is back at work.

  26. Darryl – blimey, that was crystal ball gazing of me, I had no idea, I’ve not looked at anything for any footy games.

  27. Nothing like a sneaky, quick game while the missus is in the bath. Nice little 1-0 home win vs Man City makes my start to season 7 look promising. Currently third.

  28. I loved – and I mean LOVED – the music on the teaser. PES2 used We Will Rock You as its intro music. PES2 was my first PES, and there’s no PES like your first.

    Otherwise, if there’s no gameplay shown, it’s mostly meaningless to me. Graphics look nice and that’s about all that can be said, because IMO those few seconds that the forums are putting under the microscope are just FMV, not gameplay. Nice to see the forums having fun with it all. Always interesting to read what those in the know tech-wise make of the animations and so on. Does the OTT analysis ever translate to gameplay, though? I can’t remember it ever doing so.

    Interested to see if Friday’s ‘full reveal’ shows gameplay.

  29. Just noticed a strange glitch when negotiating transfers (apologies if already discussed) when a counter offer is received the face is often bright green allowing you to adjust terms again and reduce the offer well below the original offer eg I just signed a new cb, offered 7.5mill, they came back with 9.2mill, went in to negotiate and 9.2 had a bright green face, I then reduced the offer to 5mill maintaining a green face and it was accepted… This has happened a couple of times… Anyone else?

    Congrats Werd, good to hear all is well.

  30. Pete – yep, that’s one of several known glitches, one of which can crash your game. Be careful when trading players as part of a deal that you don’t also trade the same player in another deal. The game will crash and you’ll have to revert to a previous save.

  31. I awoke this morning about 5am with a slight hangover and thought I would stick the game on for an hour and it turned into a mad one. First up I was at home to Arsenal and won 5-4 with the scoring going (1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4,
    4-4, 5-4). Then it was Man Utd away and went 2-0 down after 5 mins but leveled 2-2 with two late goals. Thankfully the next game was calmer and won my CL last sixteen first leg away at Lazio 1-0. It was a good thing that things calmed down as I would have been going to work as hyped as Miss Piggy on smack.

    I have to say I haven’t traded a player since the early days of default players as this was a good way of getting rid of them. It was nice to come up against Castolis playing for Liverpool in the cup the other day.

  32. I’d be worried about a PES that featured inflated scorelines as a regular thing. Regular goal extravaganzas was one of the nails in PES2013’s coffin, back in the day (yes, magic boots, over-development, etc. etc.). But my 5-4 was a one-off that hasn’t even come close to be being repeated so hopefully yours will be the same. Along with all the other scripts that PES has to offer, it seems there’s also a ‘contextual scoreline management’ script that restricts the scope of mammoth goal-spree matches. One or two high-scoring matches will always be followed by games where it seems puzzlingly hard to score any goals at all.

  33. Pete – That’s not as bad as the transfer glitch in this years FIFA where you can get players for free as long as you have enough cash to make an acceptable offer in the first place.

    Got a few days off, but FIFA seems a bit ‘meh’ at the moment. Maybe the career mode needs a bribery option? Or perhaps Be An Agent?

  34. Welcome back, not-Greg!

    Hope you’re well.

    Just curious, what happened to the book that you were writing?

  35. Thanks for the heads up there NG… Chris, sounds like Fifa career mode, they can never seem to iron out the bugs…

    In big news (in my own little world) Mr Christian Benteke has just been named world player of the year… All comps Played 23, scored 22, 7 assists this season at the half way point.

  36. Congrats to Mr and Mrs Werd!

    My Milan ML has stalled at the beginning of season 3. Down to 12m EUR after getting yet another Brazilian forward, the AMF Luan. Not expecting much game time, there’s the real life south American championship to watch…

  37. After going out in the CL on away goals (again) I played out the rest of my season in a detached way. Finished 5th, which all considering is not a bad effort on SS. Funny enough I was relieved not to be in CL as my focus for the new season is simple and I want to put all my efforts into winning the league. My midfield centre 3 of Barton, Carrick and Gerrard have been with me for about 5 seasons and are getting ready to peak. I have bagged a young Ronaldo and Walcott for the new season and they are going to only play in Europa games to cut thier teeth. Anyway good start before work as I won my first two games away from home.

  38. Darshan – cheers and it is good to be back. I abandoned the book idea waaaay back now – no real point, as the blog is more or less what it is.

  39. Sorry guys. Its a boy werd and he was born in Sunderland. We are all doing fine. Fallout 4 and pes trailer have my energy levels upped (along with coffee) amd german beer.

  40. Well done werd and I hope you’re putting your sleepless nights to good use with some PES, Skyrim, or Dwarf Fortress…

    Darryl – a break is essential. There’s only one PES game that I’ve played until literally the night before the following edition, and that was PES5. Every other one needs a refreshing break of a few weeks at the very least. It takes that long for the glow of the story of your ML to start to fade, and leave a gap for a new one to come in.

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