Born Toulouse

The struggle continues. Life in Ligue 1 with Saint Etienne is everything I wanted it to be when I set out on this unprecedented (for me) managerial switch in Year 12 of my Master League.

The players are all around the late-60s-to-mid-70s OPR bracket. Team Spirit is ultra-low thanks to my newness and the poor results that I started with.

I went on losing, match after match, for so long that I started to think my House Rules were too tough. I thought I’d have to relax my OPR cap of 80, which I don’t want to do, and/or play on a lower difficulty, which I also don’t want to do.

I racked up a few draws, which were a marked improvement on the 5 straight defeats I’d started with.

Then I got a win — a precious, precious win. I went 1-0 up, got pegged back to 1-1, and it looked like just another draw.

Until that man again, Friday, popped up with a headed winner in the last few minutes. (The goal is on today’s clip, farther below.) I shrieked like a woman.

I thought I couldn’t shriek any louder or sound any more womanly. But during the very next match, I did.

I faced Toulouse, one of the toughest opponents in the league. They went 1-0 up and were frankly cruising to the win. I offered nothing.

Until, from nowhere, Friday bagged himself a 30-yard long-range screamer into the postage stamp corner of the net. It rescued a point I had no real right to. A truly fabulous PES moment.

‘That,’ I told myself whilst watching the replay, ‘is nothing less than the goal of the century…

It’s at the tail-end of this clip below — which features every goal I’ve scored in the League and Champions League since the start of the season:

Look at the flight of the ball in the super slo-mo replay. Through the first defender’s legs — a ball-grazer — then a lovely, long, looping curve around the jumping defender’s head, then over the keeper’s despairing (and slightly late) dive.

The most long-rangey long-ranger I’ve scored on PES2017, methinks. The one that is most PESlike.

A word about International management, which I have also embarked upon. I went with New Zealand. Apart from the Classic Defaults, this New Zealand lot are the worst team I have ever played with in any PES. Their OPR average is around the 60 mark. I’ve played a few friendlies so far and lost them all. It’ll take some doing to get New Zealand to a tournament, never mind do well in one.

The current Ligue 1 table. Off the bottom. But this is still a relegation battle:

Updated: 9th June 2017 — 00:59


  1. What a goal. That’s why you brought him to France.

  2. Wow. That is a beauty. Odd that it came while playing with lesser players. I don’t think I would even of tried a shot from there – PES 2017 weened me off the impulse to let rip. That free kick is a bit special too.

    Played a couple of games last night including an FA Cup semi final against Man City. Won 2-1 in right battle of the game which saw me go 2-0 up early on and then hold out as City surged forward. Steve Sidwell, my captain, got sent off so that’s him out for the final against the mighty Watford! I was delighted to see the Hornets and beaten Man Utd in the other semi but I’m not expecting an easy game in the final.

  3. What a beauty! And I’m still trying to score any kind of long-ranger with my over 80 OVR squad. Damn, I’m getting worse with every new PES…

  4. Tommy – I brought Friday to France mainly to continue the semi-joke of always having him with me in PES2017. He’s surprised me with the performances I’m getting out of him. My best player of this first third of the season.

    Shed – my old long-range instincts have never gone away. I will still blaze away from any range with almost any player, given an appropriate opening. It sounds like you are having a whale of a time back with PES2017 too. This is very reminiscent of PES2012 to me, when I walked away but returned and found something very special waiting for me on my return, and I recall you had much the same experience.

    Brucevsky – keep buying tickets to the raffle, it’s the only way. I find the general gameplay so much better with lesser players. The AI also plays so much better, and playing the big teams – Man City in the CL, for example – is a genuine occasion to fear. That classic PES experience of keeping them at bay for 30 game minutes, thinking you’re coping well against much better opposition – but then you’re suddenly 3-0 down.

  5. n-G – I never really got bored of the gameplay in PES 2017 before my stint on FIFA 16, it was more the ML mode. The break has helped ease that fatigue but I’m not playing it every day for hours on end, just to stop the shortcomings of the mode coming to the fore again.

    I think playing with house rules has helped prolong the game for me – as it has with most PESes since PES 6. I remember that one using a lottery number app thingy to make up for the lack of transfer activity. If you’re shirt number came up, you were out. It could be you!

  6. Question – If I chose to move to a different club in ML, does it do it straight away, or do I have to wait until a transfer window/end of the season?

  7. Tommy — as far as I know it’s end of season only.

  8. Mid-season as well. In other words you have to wait until the next transfer window.

  9. Cool. May start afresh. Want to trial some new house rules.

    -No free transfers
    -No loans

    Also considering

    -Only buying players suggested by scouts

  10. I am currently considering the 6 + 5 rule (6 domestic players, 5 foreign) and rolling back to my Ajax save. The liverpool switch isn’t giving me much joy at the moment. Forgot that the premier league has so many teams which means more matches. Which in turn means I won’t actually *get* anywhere due to me just playing a few matches now and then. Also the promoted championships teams – of which there are quite a few in the prem now – play a real stifling, smothering type of game.

  11. oooh scratch that consideration: horrible, horrible cheaty matches on my old ajax save. nope! call me the king of flip-flopping, back to Liverpool…had a great first match.

  12. Tommy – the simpler House Rules the better, I’m finding as a newbie with House Rules.

    #1 – flipflop away there, and scripting and suffocation are bad but oftentimes are a reflection of how liberal the game is with slide-tackles and sprint-clamping. Fouls need to make a comeback to PES, and the slide-tackles of PES2014-PES2017 need to GO.

  13. Oh yes definitely. I was watching “real world” football yesterday. Netherlands versus Luxembourg. 32 fouls in total. If we could even get half of that we’d have a winner. No more hook slide tackle as well.

  14. #1 — the greatest problem with the hook tackle (great name for it btw) isn’t that it exists in the first place, but that human players easily become expert enough at it to make any passage of play without a ball just a matter of getting your guy(s) into optimum position to deliver the hook-slide (either to win possession outright or as a blocking mechanism).

    The utterly ridiculous outcome of slide-tackling being what it is, is that much of defensive gameplay in PES2014, PES2015, PES2016, and PES2017 involve slide-tackling empty space in anticipation of a player turning or a pass being played in that direction. Slide-tackling empty space is successful enough of the time to make it worthwhile and I am sure we all do it automatically now without thinking about it.

    It needs to be GONE. The online players will cry if it goes, though, as I imagine their button-mashing monstrosity of a ‘game’ (spit) is pretty much built around slide-tackling as it exists right now, and the adjustment to old-school slide-tackling (that worked maybe once or twice per match) would be too much for their ickle heads to cope with. For this reason alone, the slide-tackle will stay. Bastards!

  15. nG – Much better all ready. No frees, loans or youths. Really having to work to find super-cheap gems. Loving it.

  16. Well so far this ‘real life’ Scotland England game is exactly like the opening salvo of pes day. Probing yet error strewn and spectacularly dull. I’d be looking to change the camera angle as well, it seems to make the pitch look very small.

    They seem to have gone from an under achieving side of well known players to a group of young not established even at their club guys. Kane and Alli are barely two years into their premiership careers and yet feel much more appropriate than Livermore and Man City’s third choice keeper. The premier league is surely killing any prospect of ever winning anything again.

  17. Had a brief session on 2015 this morning (until my youngest decided he wanted to play Lego Dimensions) Booted up my Roma ML which I’ve not touched in weeks. 3 enjoyable matches, my new signing Gabbiadini linking up well with Verdi and Aquafresca up front. It’s SO frustrating how slow every Plyer is when defending, even the average player from Randomvowelsandconsenants FC easily outpace my players when they’re attacking, especially on the wings. Was this widely noticed back then?

  18. Uncle Turf – The U20s have just won the world cup. I’ll be interested to see how many play regularly in the Premier League but I’d guess 2-4 at the most and probably for teams further down the league so that £200k per week prima donnas can sell some shirts and foreign TV deals.

    In PES world, I’ve restarted and just passed the first transfer window. I have a British Isles only house rule which will probably be supplemented with a wage or OVR cap at some point. The first season is wonderful but I’m already finding it easier now the team spirit is rising. Maybe a team spirit cap would work better than other house rules but how could it be implemented?

    Amusingly, Zidane (Junior and Senior versions) won both the manager of the year and player of the year awards in January.

  19. NG – it does need to disappear. When comparing pes to fifa it is streets ahead in terms of tactics and team identity but where pes stands to learn from fifa is variety in match situations. As far as I know there isn’t a “slide tackle” type guaranteed route to success, either in defense or offense in fifa.

    I’ve adjusted to having semi crap players and playing differently with Liverpool and the game is rewarding me for it. Good times.

  20. Mike — I really don’t remember PES2015 in that detail. It doesn’t immediately spring to mind for me, though, so I suspect it wasn’t an issue. I’m a pass-and-move player rather than a dribbler and would rarely have a situation where I’m trying to outpace a defender. The famed ‘catch-up bug’ (one of the stupidest misnomers in all PES lore, as it is manifestly NOT a bug) has been part of the series for years, and necessarily so. They tried one edition without it, and look what happened. PES2008(PS3/360).

  21. Cook — I’m also having a slightly easier time as my Team Spirit creeps up, and also starting to wonder how to operate a TS Cap as part of House Rules. It would seem there’s no way other than either a constant rotation of players, or moving to a new club every season. In both cases it would remove all affinity with players built up over seasons, which is one of the major attractions of playing ML in the first place. At the moment I’m still struggling to get results even with a reasonably high TS, so I’m hoping my average skills at the game overall will excuse me from having to deal with the TS Cap problem, as we must call it.

  22. #1 — the slide-tackle in FIFA is a largely ineffective tool. I remember maybe one per match would work, and of course coming from PES I was sliding all the time. It’s one of the embarrassing areas in the PES-FIFA tussle, this sliding tackle business. Current PES has a crazily overpowered slide-tackling mechanic that would have been greeted with hoots of derision by the PES ‘hardcore’ if they had come across it in early-2000s FIFA. Strange to see the forums giving nuPES a pass on this front and the no-fouls front.

  23. Mike – I’m viewing 2015 through the distance lens as a direct link between the revolutionary 2014 and the populist 2016. The action is slow, the emphasis feels like it’s on positioning rather than direct contact yet fouls are virtually absent and it’s quite easy to crack impressive shots at goal. 2015 for me contains the final traits of what they hoped to achieve in 2014 and threw out completely in the later two titles. Playing on zero assistance I retain the ball longer to avoid wasted passes but it’s quickly become straightforward. I simply have a shite team.

    Cook – indeed, and a great achievement. Freddie woodman must be newcastle’s fourth choice keeper but should clearly now be number two at least, Adam Armstrong has been on loan a few times but again must be worth a place on the bench. If they were non English there would be silly money aimed at them – the number of under whelming French players we’ve signed is ridiculous, all because we made a few quid on cabaye.

  24. Uncle Turf — I still recall PES2015 well enough to agree with the view of it as a bridge between ‘the thinking footy gamer’s PES’ PES2014 and the (we now know) astoundingly arcade-oriented ‘Everybody’s PES’ PES2016. The thing is I don’t believe they plan these things, they just happen more or less as a reaction to the year before. I well recall fouls being totally absent from the PES2015 demo and then from the full game, then watching with frank astonishment as the ‘hardcore’ PES forums managed to ignore the issue and re-align themselves accordingly. It was around then, I think, that revisionist PES historians of the forums started confidently asserting that PES was ‘all about fun’, and fouls get in the way of fun, of course. Luckily I recall the early 2000s vividly enough to remember that we used to esteem PES so highly partly because fun came after the hard work, or at least alongside it. FIFA players of the early 2000s hated PES because it wasn’t ‘fun’. PES2015 is the game that prompted this Orwellian rewriting of the past.

  25. #1, I always play with a 6+5 rule. It makes for an interesting game! Only slide the rule when an injury blight takes out my squad. I also try to only sign Italian youths (I play with Milan).

    The most fun players to me are the defaults (well, Arcas and Castledine, and Mathiessen, coz I pity him) and the youths, especially the unknown ones. And grizzly veterans. Recently signed a 33 yo Honda. What a joy!

    Apart from goalies, I also don’t find highly rated players to be that good. Also still really battling for clean sheets.

    But loving it!

  26. NG – Strange that. The pes player of old is not the nuPES player though, it seems… There are some colleagues and friends that remember the olden days of pes and recognize its virtues but they number few.

    MrNoodles ; Matthiesen is actually pretty good! I’m eyeing Honda as well though he is a regen now in my ML. You are right about OPRs ; I mostly look for player skills now. Low lofted pass and knuckle shot are my favorites. The cpu recognizes these and uses them surprisingly well as well. Last night regen schweinsteiger and rashford did a number on me : schweini relentlessly pumping the ball forward in a low trajectory and rashford with the finish was all she wrote for me.

  27. #1, Honda has been magnificent for me, tbh. And the ‘smart player’ attribute helps with team efficiency. That said – I just can’t seem to buy a win currently. My players are currently like turning like the earth. I’m sure it’ll get better. The focus on skills definitely helps. Lapadula, for instance, is super quick, and a deadly finisher. Worth more to me than Totti (or neither really, since I can’t afford them…).

    #nG, I actually seldom use sliding tackle, which might explain my lack of clean sheets… Also, in my, what three seasons, I’ve only had two penalties. And they both came in the same match. That is bloody ridiculous. Didn’t even really know how to score one!

  28. Ooo yes – I had Gareth bale as a smart player too, made a difference in the team. Though not so much as an individual player. Had Totti when I was at Ajax and he’s now up to around 90 OPR, never did much for me though… I mostly kept him on for nostalgic reasons. Put a bid in for him after my switch to Liverpool, Ajax want 80 million or something… Those bastards. And to think I won the champions League for them twice in a row.

  29. I know! The transfer system is completely weird. I tried signing Renato Sanchez outright – Porto wanted 40 million. Then I tried loaning, and they accepted, with an offer to purchase of 12 million! And I never get massive amounts…

  30. Turf/NG I don’t even know what level of passing assistance I have set, I never change it so it’ll be whatever default is.
    There are very few fouls, a couple per match if I’m lucky. I did find a video on YouTube of how to score easy free kicks (and it worked first time when I DID get a foul)
    Good session last night (broken up by a rogue mouse invading the living room, it’s still at large) but I’m REALLY tiring of the made up names of Italian second division teams, can’t wait to get this season over with. Very little money so am hoping for a bit of a windfall for winning the league (7 points clear with 4/5 games to play) and also that I manage to sell a load of players in the summer (didn’t get a single bid for anyone in January which I’ve seen on here isn’t unusual)

  31. #1/MrNoodles – sounds like your PES2017s are having the same Indian summer as mine. I wish I’d played from the start this way now. In years past of course, it never really mattered if you went for highly developed players, the gameplay generally held up.

    Mike – snap-traps for the mouse. Forget humane traps, forget poison. Old-fashioned snap-traps are the most humane and effective. Even if a mouse enters a humane trap – and no mouse ever has for me; they’re clever little beasts – chances are it’ll die of fright before you release it. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll just make its way back to your property unless you take it 3+ miles away. 6 snap-traps in strategic locations. Make sure they’re positioned vertical to the skirting board like this -|, with the snappy bit closest to the wall. If you place the snap-trap parallel to the skirting board like this || there’s a 50/50 chance the mouse approaches from the wrong direction.

  32. Mike – I concur with NG. It was a daily job at the farm to put out the traps for the mice (the professsionals took care of the rats) and the wooden/metal spring back breakers worked a charm. You don’t even need bait, they simply run along the wall straight into them. I did also see colleagues use boots, dustpan and a clipboard to the same effect but they were lucky shots. Humane traps are pointless as it either dies or returns (to die at a later date).

    The bloke who cleaned up that dying rat business for me a month or so ago warned me never to use them out of doors though – if you catch a non-mouse/rat in one you can be prosecuted, they are quite indiscriminate and will go off on anything.

  33. Sorry chaps,I laid out 2 glue traps last night and had a victim when I came down this morning. Snap traps have never worked for me in the past.

    Also I’ve finally figured out saving/sharing on PS4 so expect some amazing/rubbish clips in due course.

  34. Usain Bolt. In PES.

    Game’s gone mad.

  35. Mike – the most gruesome and inhumane method possible. I don’t want to hear what state the mice were in when you found them, or what you had to do then. I’m telling Rolf Harris on you.

  36. Tommy – many thanks, I hadn’t been following the latest and didn’t know this was ready to drop. What a mixed bag to begin with. I bet those graphics are PC/PS4 Pro only. Again the focus on superstar tricks and flicks! (I have a few paragraphs on this in today’s post, coincidentally.) And then some actual gameplay toward the end! A marketing vid never reflects how I actually play the game, so some interpretation is required. One of the Griezemann sequences looked a bit uncomfortably ‘ping-pongy’, but the Firmino bit was good. As ever, we’ll decide with our own hands-on.

  37. Focus on faces and shit don’t mean squat to me. They’ll never learn. Focus on the important stuff! Gah.

    In other news Im hearing a pes song on the radio now at work. The “I got you on mind” song. Always weird when it happens as I’m now scrolling through the master league menu in my mind. Oh and NG – Indian summer indeed. No pes ever has lasted this long for me. Maybe pes 5 did..

  38. There was a full page on one of the PES forums yesterday about one face. I am not kidding. A whole, continuous page. Fouls and the slide-tackle get the occasional cluster of posts every now and then. Faces get full-page discussions and lots of screenshots. And these are the ‘hardcore’ fans.

  39. Tear away all the crap to find the bits you want…

    “The fan favourite RANDOM SELECTION MATCH returns with new presentation and features. Experience life as manager in MASTER LEAGUE with pre-season tournaments, an improved transfer system and new presentation elements, including pre-match interviews and locker room scenes.”

    I wonder if the improved transfer system will end the silly transfer fees. £2,614,030 for a player yesterday. I wonder what the £30 was for? Breakfast?

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