Stop me if Youth think you’ve heard this one before

Season 13 Recoba hat trick

Recoba has come good after a typically Master League-like indifferent start. A couple of goals in a couple of matches were capped by a sensational hat trick against Manchester City that helped me to a thumping 4-1 win.

In Master League it takes any new signing approximately 3-6 matches to bed down and feel like one of the gang. You used to be able to check how a new player’s teamwork was progressing. Back in the old PS2 days, a tap of a button cycled through various graphical displays. You would be shown how well (or not) your players played together in a latticework of connecting lines and numerical ratings.

Today each player has a static teamwork rating, but the deeper data has been mostly abstracted behind the scenes, which is a shame. You can still feel its effects on the surface in how it takes new players time to gel with the rest of the squad.

Here’s the league table after 12 matches of Season 13:

Season 13 after 12

I like my position there. With 1/3rd of the season gone, I’m lurking behind the leaders and biding my time, a bit like Steve Ovett in the 1500 metres final in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Or was it Seb Coe who did the shoulder-lurking? I think it was Seb Coe, now I think about it. Whichever one of them it was, I’m like that.

After my bullish confidence over the Champions League group draw, reality dashed cold water in my face. An opening 0-2 defeat at home by Barcelona woke me up. I won the next two matches, then lost the most recent. I should still qualify, but I’ve made it unnecessarily tricky through over-confidence. After you get to a certain stage in Master League, you just don’t expect Europe to give you any trouble.

PES2015 Season 13 CL group after 4

Recoba has been a highlight of the season so far – another highlight has been the progress of some of the ‘Emergency Youths’ that I signed last season to bulk out my depleted squad.

Among them was this young man – one K BELLARABI, an 18-year-old RMF, rated 66 when I signed him and now up to 69.

Bellarabi Stoops to score

That’s a picture of him just before scoring an unusual sort of goal in PES2015 that I’m saving for a special goals video in a week or two. The vid will be compiled from all the types of goals that don’t usually make it onto highlights reels. So there’ll be no 30-yard net busters. They’ll all be in-off-the-knee scuffers from two yards, and goals like that.

It’ll be something different, and it’ll show just what variety PES2015 is capable of. Non-players of any football game could be forgiven for thinking that the only goals scored are Hollywood long-rangers and the types of multi-pass ‘team goals’ that are always held up as being the greatest goals of all. (There’s no doubting that ‘team goals’ in football are good, but they’re undeserving of the excessive joy always lavished upon them, IMO.)

I play at least one of my Emergency Youths from the start in most matches, even the big matches. Why not? It adds spice and interest.

Bellarabi is as solid and dependable in a midfield slot as any of the more experienced, higher-rated players. And it’s very satisfying to complete a good performance with him.

And they’re by no means all potential world-beaters. One of my other Youths, J ILICIC, will simply have to go in the next transfer window. Every time I play him, he has a ‘mare, with passes going astray and the player gradually disappearing entirely, his morale almost visibly shot to pieces.

I have a youth CB called BAUER (whom I imagine answers the phone with a snapped ‘Bauer‘). He has been a revelation too and I’m always confident putting him in for one of the first-choice CBs.

It’s a shame in many ways that these Youths have arrived on the scene so belatedly. It’s likely that there are only two more seasons at most left in the PES2015 tank for me. Thus I’ll never get to see them flower fully. It was a mistake to disregard the Youths early on in this ML.


  1. NG – I am thinking seriously of bulking the sqaud up to near capacity with a few youths as if I was to challenge for a treble it will be handy.

    It was indeed Coe who was famous for lurking on the shoulder and they called it the Coe kick when he would time it perfectly for the last bend and he would kick on and leave his oppenent for dust. I honestly kid you not I was thinking about Seb Coe the other night and I thought I had done this in my own ML world. I only remember about Coe as my Mum was a huge fan of his.

    Talking of goals you are right as one stood out for me last night. My RB whipped in a deep long deep cross. Adebayor rose for the header on the left hand side but looked like he was to far accross on the left. He rose majestically in the air and glanced a header back accross goal at an accurate angle, which went off the far right post. These goals are special.

  2. Darryl – you’ll remember me picking up the Youths just to bulk out the squad after I made my error that shrunk the squad for half of last season. Well, I got three in total and started off playing them after Internationals, the odd cup game. Always with a full experienced team around them. The performances were surprising, and of course they’re the unfamiliar. Traditionally ML is all about finding unknown youths. This year’s star name focus – and seemingly the same handful of star names at that – is very much an anomaly in ML history.

    Good to hear Adebayor is hanging in there. My one abiding memory of my 3 seasons on PES2014’s ML is Adebayor coming in and being immediately so much better than what I had.

  3. and was it PES2010 where it took literally the entire season for a teamwork stat to build up – you’d sign a player and his stat would be something like 11, and only inch up by one every week. If you signed and played lots of new players at once it was disastrous. Master League was so deep and mysterious that year, I got loads of seasons out of it despite not liking the gameplay much

    Really looking forward to that unusual goals video, seeing how the players/AI respond to abnormal situations can often show off a footy game at its best

  4. Multi-pass!

    Ahh, Alvaro Recoba. A face only a mother could love.

  5. As a kid, I used to see Steve Ovett training around Brighton. He now has a statue on the seafront – well, now it’s a replica on the seafront as the original one in a park near where I live was hacked-sawed off at the ankle by gypos leaving only a foot on a plinth. Poor Steve.

    Anyway, good post n-G. I feel we’ve all missed out on some youth ML stories this year to some degree. I still have Revell going strong at CF and a promising youth reserve ‘keeper. Actually, I’m pretty sure my first choice ‘keeper was originally from the youth team, come to think of it.

    Knocked out of the cup at the quarter-final stage by Arsenal last night. I was three down at half time but battles back to 3-2. Fell just short of an equaliser. I got the feeling Arsenal were never really meant to score their deflected third and that ruined the script of a 2-2 and extra time.

    Another two ridiculous 1-0 defeats in the league to lowly opposition was then made up with a very good 2-0 win at Everton. Ibrahimovic is now starting to come good which is handy given how good he is in the air.

  6. It seems like there really are hidden depths this year to a player’s ability – I quite like the idea of that fog of war layer (not sure if that’s the right terminology for it), even if it’s down to lazy design rather than intention. For me, a player’s ability is more transparent through his stats in FIFA, there’s always an air of the unknown which belies their ‘numbers’ when signing a player in PES.

    Shed – I’m in my 6th season and still have Leisenther (sp) as my first choice keeper – his shot stopping is incredible. I think this is definitely the longest a default has been a first teamer in any Master League for me.

  7. The alternative goals video will be a mix of the unusual and the outright ordinary. Literally, just tap-ins and scruffy rebounds. Alternative to the long-rangers and other special types. I don’t believe I’ve ever done one like it before (closest I came was recording every goal scored for an entire season in PES2011 I think). I’ll want to build up a good selection, probably over the remainder of this season, then I’ll want to edit it on the PC (on PS4 Share Factory doesn’t let you speed up the slo-mo PES2015 replays and I’m not fiddling around with clipping out bits of 15-minute chunks of live gameplay), which’ll take time, so look out for it the week after next probably.

  8. NG – I’ve set share factory time to 1 minute, just right for a bit of the action before the goal and the replay.

  9. Coe and Ovett were chalk and cheese. Coe and his dad always took a very scientific approach, while Ovett was much more of an Alf Tupper. Another middle distance runner from slightly earlier that I just remember is Alberto Juantarino, if only for the fact that he was the subject of the first Colemanball. Back in the footy world I fear Birmingham may sack me soon. FIFA 15 may go down as the one where I should have swallowed my pride and gone back down a level.

  10. what level are you on Chris99? I guess Birmingham are pretty weak anyway, so a tough challenge. I do dislike the long drawn out process of being sacked on FIFA, which begins with that patronising email from the board ‘Important Matches’

  11. My abiding memories of the 1984 Olympics are: Coe vs Ovett; Daley Thompson; that bloke with his jetpack; and the screening on ITV (who had lost the Olympic coverage rights) of the science fiction miniseries ‘V’, which I loved at the time and became so obsessed with I even dreamed I was in it.

    Lloyd – I forgot that the capture time could be adjusted, good call, I’ll check it out.

  12. Evening all. There’s something quite profound about steve ovett being represented by a solitary foot.

    I was only 8 when it was the Moscow Olympics but I distinctly remember being a Coe fan throughout the whole of the build up. Looking back it was completely the wrong choice, the robotic Tory slick willy against the heart on the sleeve bloke who broke down when he realised people were being paid to run. I can only attribute it to the way Coe always ran at the back of the bunch then kicked past them all like a morris minor suddenly transforming into a Ferrari.

    Skyrim continues apace, sometimes I can spend an hour simply enchanting weapons and selling them – ive not advanced the main quest in weeks and yet have hit level 99 in some skills. I did start up an FM game the other day though. I think I’m worryingly getting back into real football ( I know that’s heresy round here). I seem to be reading the back page story round up on the bbc and checking transfer rumours. No interest in resuming fifa or pes yet though.

  13. Halfway through season 17 and 6 points off top and still in CL, but out of League Cup. Checked my youths and saw J.Henderson as a 16yo 71 ovr, came on as sub and set up 2 goals from his corners and hit the bar. Not a bad debut!!

  14. Uncle Turf – my Skyrim proceeds in twice-weekly hour-long sessions, on average – so it goes slowly, and I haven’t got into or properly understood the enchanting/smithing/cooking aspects yet. Looking at the various forums and fansites that seems to be a common way to experience the game. And it’s not my first game of its type – Oblivion was – so the allure of the new isn’t there for me.

    Re. real football, I saw some Copa America the other night, and good grief. Football is over. It really is finished. I’m not talking about the money and the pampered players, although that’s bad enough. I’m talking about the basic rules of the game being ignored. It is now clear that the game has no real rules whatsoever. The sport is just no longer credible. Defenders openly hugging strikers around the waist in full view of the referee, and nothing happening, is the norm in world football. This time last year in the World Cup I was conceiving a distaste for this sport that is now full-blown dislike. I wouldn’t care if the football season never started again.

  15. Ah the Copa America… Did you see Chile’s Jara put his finger up Cavani’s a*** then fall as if shot when Cavani slapped him? This was followed by a red card for Cavani, after which Uruguay went into whack anyone with the ball mode.

    Seems the usual fun during all S American matches.

  16. Abbeyhill – world class, but this year I just seemed to have struggled.

    After the Euros Pearce and Waddle advertised pizzas. I wonder if Jara and Cavani could do a deal to advertise a finger of fudge?

  17. The following measures would Fix Football:

    1) Mandatory penalty kick for every single ‘grappling/wrestling’ contact in the box. Forget the hand-wavey “oh it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other… handbags… do you want 20 penalties per match?” rubbish. Everybody knows the ones, and everybody knows how blatant they are, and everybody knows the refs are blatantly ignoring them. Yes, 20 penalties per match, because that’s what it’ll take.
    2) Mandatory yellow card for any player querying any refereeing decision in any way. These would accumulate very quickly in current conditions – one of the reasons refs don’t currently give the righteous penalties is the prospect of being surrounded by screaming players.
    3) Should a match have to be abandoned due to more than 4 sendings-off, a 0-5 victory awarded to other team, 10 points league deduction and £1 million pound fine.

    The above would create chaos (and lots of great fun) for a week or two, with probably nearly every match played anywhere being abandoned, but it would soon alter football for the better. Then it would be a serious sport again.

  18. The hill has turned into a feckin mountain. First to games saw me draw 2-2 in each and was relieved to get any kind of points as I have hit another difficulty spike as the CPU had 18 shots in both. I have now so far won 2, drawn 4 and lost 2. Peter Crouch will probably be on his 4th recycle and Mrs Werd will have given birth to entire football team before I win anything on Superstar. Could I be sat in my chair as a 70 year old man looking back on my missed opportunity to win the league, like Jimmy White with his missed black in the WC final. Not that any of it could matter next week as the news about Greece looks like we are heading for a global financial meltdown. Further.

  19. Feeling better nG?

  20. Chris99 – it’s the football-following world that has cognitive dissonance when it comes to the ‘sport’, not I 😉 Imagine if snooker refs declined to award fouls when players brushed the balls (snigger) with their waistcoats ‘because there’d be too many given’ if they gave them all… That would be crazy, yes? Now imagine an even crazier scenario where the majority of the snooker-watchers wholeheartedly endorsed that craziness, and frowned at the few – or the one! – who pointed out that it was crazy… Give me consistency, or give me nothing.

    Darryl – you are quietly having the most epic Master League career of anyone!

    All those shots against seems excessive. Sounds like you’re letting the CPU have too much possession, which happens when you try to attack too quickly yourself and lose the ball. The Superstar AI will just keep it and keep it and keep it until it fashions a chance.

  21. Darryl – although these PES developments do not sound very promising, can I at least reassure you that global financial meltdown is highly unlikely, however much our right-wing press delight in glorifying the economic issues of our southern European neighbours

  22. Just beat Stoke 6-2 in probably my most complete performance on Pro Evo 2015. Still 5 points off the top though. Onwards.

  23. Things getting worse as I am now in 16th. Stranger still in Europe my players are passing so much better and should qualify for the knock out stages.

    Abbeyhill – I would not count on it as it has all been orchastrated. It was easy to read that script unlike my ML campaign.

  24. I think my little adventure with PES may be coming to an end. I don’t mind losing and thrive upon a challenge and have had plenty of difficult periods during my campaign. What is starting to spoil my enjoyment is the consistancy of the game and how the game feels on Superstar level. It reminds me very much of Fifa 14 and people’s experiences on World Class level. Some little examples I will give are when I was challenging for the title and won a crucial six pointer I did not have a single player above a green arrow for the next game, yet this season the majority of my sqaud had yellow/red arrows following one of my lowest moments in a 5-0 defeat to Hull. I am finding my players suddenly can’t pass the ball but I played a European game and my players seemed back to their own self and the difference was unbelievable. I played a league game right afterwards and they went straight back to not being able to pass 5 yards. I am also getting tired of the same old contrived fixture lists. They always go like this. First 5/6 games are away from home and they are then followed by a home game always against a top team and to coincide with players coming back from a international game. These annoy me as well as I do agree that getting something out of these games is quite rewarding as you have to adopt a new mentality. But how can it be right that none of your opponents are effected. It is ridiculous to be honest. I enjoyed the games very much on top player as I felt I was on a fair playing field and games felt natrual. Superstar has been anything but and wish I had stayed to be honest. I am not having a drama I am out moment but having some doubts.

  25. Darryl – I had a horrible 0-0 away to Crystal Palace last night that was one of the worst single football matches I’ve ever played. The game ‘allowed’ me 1 single shot on goal in the whole 90 mins. Palace only had 1 too. It was horrible! This was with my squad of Harlem Globetrotters (who are getting one very special new addition in mid-season: more in Tuesday’s post).

    You’re not having an anomalous experience. This is just what happens, if that’s any comfort. ML in particular is illogical, inconsistent, infuriating, cheaty as all hell. You’re not playing on a level playing field, ever. Superstar on PES2015 is, IMO, the single hardest Player vs CPU mode I’ve ever played on any football game (the dribblers and tricksters reading this are shaking their heads in disbelief at that statement, but I’m a very straightforward, even simple football gamer, and this is what I find when I play the way I play).

    You could go down to Top Player, but I think it’d nag at you and you wouldn’t settle, so it’s more likely you’ll persist on Superstar. Just don’t expect the game to play fairly with you, ever. As a man we both know might say, it’s all just a fictional substrate in a fictional world anyway…

  26. NG – you know me to well as I cold never go back to Top Player now.

  27. Darryl – I’m feeling the grind too. Four games to go in season seven and I’m eighth – four points off Hull and Euro qualification. It all looked lost after another hattrick of crappy 1-0 defeats to lowly opposition but then suddenly the goals started flowing again – 3-0, 3-1, 4-0. It felt like the game playing me rather than me it.

  28. John – that is exactly how it feels. Anyway I have got my hissy fit out of the way and have changed the camera angle to fan view. I did some extensive testing first time around and have got to know how each camera angle suits different playing styles. As possession is key as NG rightly states I went for this. In the first two games I had about 75% possession. More importantly the games feel more balanced. Have crawled my way up to 13th and am through to knockout phase. One of the things I have stopped doing is tinkering with settings but every now and again it is good to change things when you are in a rut as it helps you change how your perception.

  29. Every couple of seasons I change my camera settings a little, just to freshen things up. Not by much — just a few increments of Zoom or Pan one way or the other. It does seem to make the game feel different for a while.

  30. as well as camera angle, changing the version you play can freshen things up too – as a bonus the PC and XBOX editions apparently have much less scripting on ML this time out than the PS4’s

  31. The old ones are the best…

  32. Season 17 and 8 points behind Arsenal with 5 to play. In CL Semis and out of Cup. My wife is going away on Wednesday for a week so I may be on Season 20 by next Wednesday.

  33. Lloyd – Bale at 1:25 – maybe the best hit of the ball I’ve seen on this game. Ruler-straight to the opposite top corner. That’d be my goal of PES2015 if I’d scored it.

    Like the away kit too. Liverpool in a yellow away kit always makes me nostalgic for the 70s.

  34. I did like that goal myself. I love playing in that yellow kit, was going to change the away kit every season but just can’t bring myself to do it.

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