You shall not pass

With a mere 25 matches left in Season 4, and no sign of any form whatsoever, my relegation from the Premier League is absolutely certain:


I jest, of course, but with a serious undertone: I just can’t win. I can barely even score a goal. Look at those stats. I don’t even remember where those 6 goals came from.

Friday finally scored his first league goal of the season – in game 12. It was a rebound after good work from my newbie Youth, Cassano:

Still no sign of last season’s Top Player/Championship heroics from Friday or from any other member of my team. Worrying.


The entire fundamental nature of the game has changed on Superstar in the Premier League – for the better.

Every match now is about breaking down one of the most stubborn AI setups I’ve ever come across in PES. Possibly the toughest-ever.

Finally I see what people have been talking about when they’ve been saying the centre of the pitch is almost completely closed-off to approach play. My problem is that the wings are too.

PES2017 is still NOT a crossing-friendly game for me. Hence my lack of goal-scoring, and my relegation-threatened status.

Fouls are still absent from almost every match. Too many times the only times there’s a stoppage in play are for corners and throw-ins. Sometimes you don’t even have any of them, and the true dreadfulness of ‘continuous play’ is on show. When will this appalling trend end? Never, is the probable answer to that, we must acknowledge.

The time is soon coming – perhaps it’s already here, and has been here for a few years – when old-school PES players will have to play old-school PES to get their old-school PES fixes.

Certainly I can only tolerate nuPES ‘continuous play’ (the very phrase makes me groan) for so long. Thankfully I’m not routinely having those appalling 1000mph, anti-PES matches that rear their butt-ugly heads all too often.

This match was superb – check the fouls columns:


What I loved here was that Liverpool never, ever let up: they were snapping and biting and niggling at me the whole match long. This was a superior-quality match in every way.

One last note of interest. When I start a PES match, I’m a ‘Press Start immediately’ sort of fellow. I don’t allow the pre-match introduction to go on for any longer than I have to. With the result that I have never seen the pre-match intro sequence.

One time I let the pre-match pseudo-TV-style intro wind on for longer than I ever have before, and accidentally saw the game’s version of my 4-3-3 formation:


That’s not my formation. That’s not how I have it on my Squad screen.

This is what it looks like on my Squad screen:


The forwardness and centrality of Lobato as an AMF is crucial, in my conception of this formation. In the game’s pre-match version. Lobato is a centrally-placed, right-sided AMF. I don’t like that.

It’s strange how the game’s pre-match version rotates my entire midfield 90 degrees clockwise. Seeing things like this make me uneasy about what might be going on under the hood. Do all our tactics and formations really do anything? Does the game respect them as much as we think it does?

It’s probably a simplified abstraction as part of the TV-style build-up. Still, it’s a puzzling, needless niggle. Just another bizarre presentation issue in the world of PES.

Updated: 25th November 2016 — 09:57


  1. Morning Chaps, good weekends all round I hope.
    Finally managed to finish season 5, clinched the Premier League, by 10 points ahead of Man City, my first trophy on any PES since PES 2013.

    Only made 2 signings pre-season, signing Jordan Ibe as cover in the right midfield position and Lullic, from the youth team for cover on the left side of Midfield, Jesus Navas left, and so did Grenier on loan and Van Persie on loan, upping squad size to 29 to hopefully cope with the added number of matches now we are in the Champions League.

    I switched up to Superstar for season 6, winning the testimonial game 2-0, beating Man Utd 1-0 to win the Community Shield and then bagging 2wins from the first 3 games of season 6, beating Newcastle 2-1, and Wolves 4-1, and drawing my opening game of the season 1-1 with Liverpool at Anfield, thanks to a 90th minute penalty for them.

    Anfield looks absolutely stunning in the daytime sun, walking out to YNWA chants bellowing round the stadium, was a superb match too with 6 FK’s for me.
    I have only moved up to SS after the latest patch, but so far every game has been superb and far from the 100% aggressive pressure fest that I was expecting.

    One sour disappointing note though…… won the premier league and community shield and …. No Trophies!!!!!
    all I got was a cutscene of my team sitting on the pitch posing for a photo, with a gap which looks like there should have been a trophy there, but nothing, really really poor from Konami, to slog out over a whole season and not even see an actual trophy.

  2. I’m progressing with season 4 rather slowly with only three games played over the last week. Won them all 1-0 including a second 1-0 win away to Arsenal (the first in the cup) on Superstar. In two matches they’ve managed one shot on target against my lot.

    Currently fourth in the Prem coming into November.

    I also find myself tempted by No Man’s Sky again following the news that it has finally been updated. Anyone tried the newly patched up version?

  3. got the burning wall of doom before my French cup semi final last night, it does exist. Clermont Foot 63 completely dominated the game against Ligue 1 opposition, 61% possession and 12 shots v 3 but unfortunately couldn’t quite get the breakthrough. Lost on sudden death penalties; Jarvis hit such a risible effort that even if the keeper hadn’t flopped on it the ball probably wouldn’t have made it across the goal line. It was a shame, I can’t remember ever winning a trophy with the defaults and it felt like PES was urging me on, with positive scripting all the way through the cup run

    no gameplay changes whatsoever from the update, as far as I can tell

  4. Finished season 6 and decided to apply for the West Ham manager’s job and delay my BaL career.

    I’ve found part of the game I don’t like – transfer inconsistencies. I found the regen Tevez and as West Ham had loads of money (£200m), I figured he’d be easy to sign. Boca wanted £90m for a 17 year old.

    No thanks

    So I decided to go back to my first club QPR for the now 21 year old Lobato. £115m. Sod that.

    Out of curiosity, I decided to bid for Torres after winning back to back World player of the year awards with me at Man Utd.


    I signed him but it didn’t feel very satisfying – pulling off the same trick with Kaka (£40m). In fact, they were all much cheaper than the rest of the market.

    So I could apply some house rules, but it’s a bit annoying. I may now start a default player only career with the Hammers in division 2 instead. BaL can wait a few months.

  5. #1 – Got a couple of days off work and might get round to installing Requiem later today or tomorrow. Might as well add another thing to the Impossible Pile.

    Paul – I’m finding Superstar to be very high quality – all the matches are consistently great, they really are. Nothing below an 8/10 so far. Towards the end on Top Player I was having lots of 3/10 or 4/10-style matches, you know, the ones where you notice that you’re just strangling the controller most of the time and you wonder what the point is. Superstar is like PES of old. Really, really into this game now.

    More in tomorrow’s post, but I’m convinced that habitual sprint-clamping when trying to win the ball back is the root cause of PES dissatisfaction. Sprint-clamping drags players into positions they’d never be in in a real match. The AI pounces on the gap(s) and boom, a goal or otherwise frustrating passage of play. Multiply that by 20 or 30 times per 10-minute match and you’ve got a concentrated nugget of poor football gaming.

    Shed – as far as I know the Foundation update for NMS is imminent, not yet out. There’s deep scepticism about it on the NMS subreddit that I still look in on regularly. I’ve still got the game and will be roadtesting the update when it lands. As I remarked before, NMS had no actual game upon release, so it’ll be intriguing to see what the update does.

    abbeyhill – I’m not sure there were any gameplay updates either, but those who believe there were will point to the sudden uptick in my experience and say the 1.03 update wasn’t coincidental.

    Liam – players like you who quickly ascend the difficulty curve need a much more rigorous transfer market. House Rules are a sign of a weak ML world in classic ML terms. The overall difficulty of transfers etc have been re-zoned for the 2-3 season ML players’ sakes.

  6. NG – Could not agree more with regards to the habitual sprint clamping comment. The big problem is that it is way to effective in winning the ball back on this version (even on SS). This should not be the case as the AI should rip you apart for doing so, but constantly it doesn’t. I said it before if I played this way on Fifa I would be murdered and rightly so. It breeds a lazy way of defending.

  7. NG – I’m thoroughly enjoying Superstar too, I was coasting on Top Player, finishing the season as champions having been undefeated in my last 16 league games.
    Whilst I’m yet to lose on Superstar, having won 3 out of the 4 matches I’ve played, I’m having to concentrate far more and really focus to get the results, which in itself makes it a more rewarding experience.
    The draw I had with Liverpool, came as a direct result of what you just mentioned, sprint clamping.
    I was expecting to see the game out, leading 1-0 in the 90th minute, then lost possession in midfield, Liverpool attacked down the wing and I used sprint-pressure (R1 & X) to chase the player down, the3n clamped down on the square button to call for secondary pressure, which left a huge hole in the left back position, which Liverpool exploited and played a pass in behind my defence, what followed was a careless lunging tackle by me in an attempt to block the attacker – Penalty.
    If id kept my shape and not sprint clamped I wouldn’t have left the gaps for them to exploit, in a weird way I was quite happy this happened, as it shows another layer of challenge on Superstar that wasn’t present very often on Top Player, it was too easy to lose focus and still get away with it..

    my CF, Embolo, was named UEFA’s best player in Europe award too, he followed that up with a hat trick in the 4-1 rout of Wolves.
    Fouls, whilst far from perfect, seem a little more consistent too, had 3 matches where I had 4-6 fouls per match, not enough but triple the amount I usually get.

    Definitely currently having more fun and enjoyment from this PES than any PES game in recent memory.

  8. NG – agree on the clamping thing. I only use my defenders to defend when the ball is in the last third – other than that I make sure the two deep lying midfielders put up a bit of resistance first. The shape is all important

  9. I also tend to do my fair share of clamping only I make sure never to do it with my back four or DMF. I do often have a striker or a AMF on a little sprint back to clobber the AI as they attack.

  10. I never clamp; the left stick on its own is the optimal defensive control!

  11. Added a few new kits to PESFX, WERD’s Dunkerque Kit, Hornet Racer Kit (Watford inspired) and a Coventry City Anniversary Kit.

    View post on

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  12. Shed/Turf/anyone interested — the NMS update is live and has been for a day, it turns out. I’m amazed to say it seems to be going down superbly with the denizens of the NMS subreddit, who have been crucifying the game and its developers for the past few months. Most enticingly for me, the update adds a Survival mode which is by all accounts actually challenging. One of the huge letdowns of vanilla NMS was the fact that you were never in any serious danger of a Game Over. That’s been changed now. I’ve doggedly held onto the game all this time and am off to test the update for myself very soon.

  13. Paul — that’s next season’s kits sorted, much obliged. I fancy that Watfordesque one as an Away strip too. If you keep adding more and more content, a strip or two every other day or so, within a few months you’ll have a portfolio of work there and in time PESFX could be a precious PES resource. I don’t know of any other site that offers single downloadable bespoke kits — plenty that do werd-style 1977 Bradford City type strips (as you do too), but none that will do an off-the-peg number like my current Home kit.

    p.s. the CCFC Anniversary link on PESFX is a duplicate of the Hornet one.

    Oh, and tomorrow’s post is shaping up as a love letter to PES2017 at the moment. The scale of the turnaround from my Top Player angst with the game is such that there might be something to the Patcher faction’s convictions this time.

  14. Nah, I’m done with NMS. Not only do I now know the story but what I’ve read of the update it’s pretty much more build, farm, travel stuff. I loved the idea of free spirited wandering between worlds but the biggest problem I had was that after say five planets they were all simply variations on the same colour scheme and play-doh moulding of flora/fauna. I never expected to see a huge T. rex type effort or a snake with three heads or any other crackpot beast outside of their basic clagged together could be a horse or a mouse options. Same with the caves and the three types of building. All those worlds and yet it was like being stuck in a loop.

    Which is how I feel with pes right now. I desperately need to go up this year as every nine games are identical and only the impossible tenth offers an alternative. Every team the same, every goal pretty much the same. Still no long ranger, still lots of headers.

  15. NG – curious about the next post then! Tempted to go back to superstar as well though I’ll be holding off for the remainder of the season due to my previous (bad) run there.

  16. Trotskyite entryist

    Not-Greg: Just wondering, how did you maintain interest in continuing to play the same ML career once you’ve assembled a dominant team? I’ve just finished season 6 with my team and took home the Champions League and Premier League Titles and furthered cemented our dominance by signing 3 of the best players from Chelsea, United and City thus weakening my rivals. I’m at a point now where I dominate pretty much every match and if I do lose it’s normally against the run of play or because my team have been wasteful with their chances. There was only one game last season where I was soundly beaten which was PSG in the first leg of the CL semi-final 3-2, but I still made up for that in the second leg with a few tactical changes and won 4-1. Basically, once you’ve assembled a squad which has already won the top honours, and your playing the same teams year in, year out, how exactly do you maintain interest?

  17. Trotskyite entryist – The fabled sextuple keeps me going. Had that and a Euros win with England to finish off PES 2016. No sign of that this year, two 2nds in the League and a FA Cup in 7 seasons so far. It’s got legs this year.

  18. n-G – That’s quite a thing if they have managed to rescue NMS. I might try and sneak in a copy even though I’m under a no purchases embargo from Mrs Shed ahead of Christmas. Should be cheap now at least.

    Paul – Great kits. Still not had the time to do some but I will ahead of my next season.

  19. NG – thanks mate. That’s my plan. Just to add generic template kits as and when I can that people can load up and edit or add their own sponsors etc too.
    Sorry about the CCFC kit link. I shall fix that v soon.

    Just designed and loaded in a new GK, home, away and third kit for my MKFC team, marking my maiden SS journey.
    Even with gold text under the badge stating ‘2020/21 premier league champions’ ….. well if you can’t indulge.

    Look forward to tomorrow’s post now then, loving the game on SS, at this present time. Haven’t had this magical ML/PES feeling since 2012 so it’s long overdue.

    Plan on knocking up some player showcase style videos too. Make a change from the usual goal compilations.

  20. Uncle Turf – as soon as I clocked what NMS was, or rather wasn’t, I stopped playing (about 2 hours in), so I’m far from done with the game. And I don’t know what you’re reading about the game, but everything I’m hearing about Survival excites me. The game described in that thread sounds like exactly the game I want to play.

    And as for PES2017, I switched on the PS4 fully intending to install the NMS update and play it for an hour, but ended up playing PES2017 instead. I’ve just enjoyed another magical session, including one bona fide 10/10 PES match. An FA Cup tie that happened to be at Anfield (as a neutral venue, I know, groan). The stadium looks and feels fantastic, with the best pitch texture I’ve seen on PES since… can’t remember when. It was in the rain, so that wet cement effect was in (agree it’s overdone). But what a match! Ended in a 3-2 loss to Norwich after extra time. A dirty, tetchy match. A brilliant match. If this trend continues – and it’s now been 4 separate sessions of solid gold PES football gameplay – who knows where it’ll lead me. I vividly remember the doubters and the bailers in the year of PES5 as well (and every year that I’ve thought PES was great), so this isn’t so strange to experience differing qualities.

    Trotskyite entryist – there’s a simple answer and a not-so-simple one. The simple one is that I really am an average football gamer, and very rarely ever reach the point with any football game where I’m confident of winning nearly all or even most matches. And if I do get to that point, I tend to drop the game. (Or rarely, start another ML.) I average about 10 seasons usually, which fills a good 4-6 months. Sometimes I play a lot more (PSE2012, 18 seasons I think), or even a LOT more (PES5, 40+ seasons). In the case of PES5 I won a couple of Trebles spaced far apart. The difficulty never caved to me.

    Paul – I grabbed the kit from your post here, but still worth fixing for other parties’ future use. I hope you’re backing up your website.

  21. NG – I nearly bailed out and quite a few of us have had major wobbles, but am very glad I stuck with it as the balance of games on SS is bloody brilliant right now and am itching for another session tonight.

  22. Off work until the weekend, Pro Evo heaven.

  23. After 12 games back on SS I am leading level on points. So far unbeaten in the league (W 8 D 4 L 0). Fantastic seven match session that only dipped in the last two games as I was tired and to back NG’s point up further this is when I sprint clamp more. I must try to stop playing after four games maximum as this is when my concentration dips. Loving the battle and unique challenge that every game brings. The monument guide that someone posted up has been a massive help to me as playing on SS you see a lot of momentum changes and reading these is the key to success and execution when things swing in your favour. I still believe the first patch harmed the game, but I don’t care as life is good in pro evo world right now.

  24. Darryl – that momentum readup was indeed worth it. I think we all knew “something” was there but never thought there was a method to it until I found that article.
    Still doing fine on top player but now you superstar lovers have got me itching to move back up again… As top player again feels a bit hollow.

  25. Another magical session of 3 games last night.
    West Brom held me to a 1-1 draw with a dogged display, crunching tackling and a mix of long ball and counter attack, I dominated but they caught me on the break.
    Followed that up with my first ever Champions League game, the presentation is fantastic. It was away against Athletico Madrid, I was surprised how different CL matches feel, it was a much more considered, slower pace, with more time on the ball but harder to break teams down.

    Athletico took the lead just before half time, then remembering the momentum tips, I kept possession, fires some long range shots off, got tackles in, and broke the deadlock to equalise just after half time, before racing into a 3-1 lead.
    Athletico visibly upped their game, getting a second in the 70th min, and with the momentum firmly with them, scored a belter of an equaliser in the 85th min, finished 3-3, great game.

    Last game of the session was a 3-0 trouncing of Arsenal.
    It was very tight until 30 mins in, with Arsenal’s quick pass and move style very apparent, but once I nodded in from Embolo, they seemed to drop their heads and gaps opened up all over the pitch and I countered beautifully as they pressed forward, to snatch 2 more quick goals for the 3-0.

    Superstar, 3rd in the league, trying to defend our title, champions league football, exciting brilliant matches, all is good in the PES world right now.

  26. Paul – thanks but the winds of change grabbed me by the gonads and lead me Serie B way. Ligue 2 was just too slow and laborious.

    Serie B is a breath of fresh air. My bespoke AC Parma had a mixed bag of results but the games themselves felt great. A 3-1 cup defeat to Avellino (my worst in ages) followed by a 2-1 comeback in the 2nd leg was not enough but the matches were electric. I played 6 matches last night and loved it. My PES world is rocking too!

  27. I don’t know how you others on Superstar are avoiding defeat all the time. A representative run of results for me would be something like LLDWD. So about 1 win in five, with losses and draws about even. Enough to avoid relegation this season, I think. It’s so hard to make a chance and then the keepers are very good. These super keepers help make the game what it is, I believe. The old keeper rebound goals are very rare in this edition, and rightly so.

  28. NG – what is your Team Spirit Level and Team Strength rating?
    I’m now 20 matches unbeaten spanning from the last 16 games of last season on Top Player to 4 games into this Season on Superstar.

    My team Rating is 86 and my Team Spirit is 99.
    Every player plays in his favoured position, and I recruited players that specifically favour my style of play, ie short passing, possession, wide attacking, front line pressure.
    I also made sure that my backup (non starting) midfielders can all play across the midfield in various positions.
    The only time my TS takes a whack is when Arcas doesn’t play, as he is captain, and has the fighting spirit and captaincy traits and as a result acts as a TS multiplier when he plays, without him it goes down to 89.

    My style of play is Tika-Taka (always on) short sharp quick passing in midfield, draw COM players in, and pass around them to exploit the space behind the midfield and defense, very much Barcelona-esque.
    I decided this was the style of play I wanted back in season one, and have moulded my team to fit this.

    What’s your main issue? not scoring enough goals or conceding too many?

    WERD – a light summer breeze would be enough to lead you off astray!

  29. Paul – both ratings are in the low 80s. Remember I’ve been experimenting with different formations, tactics and personnel for most of my 3.5 seasons. Today’s post will reveal the formation that I think I’ll be playing with for the foreseeable future. I tend not to score or concede a great many. The fascination of the game for me at the moment is grappling against the AI. As ever, I just don’t recognise the forum complaints about the AI being too easy or too hard (you see both complaints, often in the same sentence).

  30. Even in the low 80’s you should still see a good degree of coherence between your players.
    I, as well as I’m sure the other players here that do quite well, could offer a few tips, as I know there are a few distinct things that have really helped my game, but I think you probably wouldn’t want any and would want to make that breakthrough yourself.

  31. Yes, even thoug I’m not yet in the premier league I’m feeling superstar has become much easier thanks to a settled side and better players. Take a certain Andy Carroll….why should you buy him? Well after two headed goals he is strong enough to do this (all of my other players would have lost the ball)

  32. Turf – sorry mate but your kit offends my eyes. as does the club badge with the ‘boxing’ around it.
    Have taken the liberty of creating you an authentic Gateshead FC Home kit – and high definition club badge with transparent background.

    View post on

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    You’re welcome.

  33. Uncle Turf – Friday can break through attempted challenges like that in much the same way, the only difference being that his shots blaze high and wide. It’s probably down to me and the infernal aiming lozenge of course.

  34. Afraid I won’t be joining you guys on this honeymoon period with pes. I won’t rain on your parade by going into detail but it when it’s bad, it gets so, so under my skin. Annoyance levels off the chart, artifical difficulty rampant.

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