The Armpit and the Pantheon

Sometimes in PES it’s not the spectacular goals that impress us, but the ordinary goals that look so perfectly lifelike.

I’ve been very vocal about decrying the way so-called ‘team goals’ are salivated over. A team goal is where there are 20 or 30 passes that culminate in somebody side-footing the ball into the net from four yards. Then you have to listen to the commentators squeeing over it afterward.

Sometimes you have to watch the whole thing again with a numerical counter in the corner of the screen racking up the passes. Yawn.

I see team goals as being ordinary goals. Yes, buildup is important and satisfying and an integral feature of a good goal and so on. But the real defining moment of any goal is the manner in which the ball is dispatched into the net. And so, for me, any 25-yard howitzer is a better goal than any four-yard-finish team goal by many orders of magnitude. (A team goal that was finished with a 25-yard howitzer would, I admit, be a truly great goal. Has there ever been one?)

But ordinary goals can be deeply satisfying too, in real life and in PES, depending on context.

Here is such an ordinary goal. The scene is thus: 1-1 in a tight Ligue 1 encounter, in my second season with Saint Etienne, using a severely underpowered House Rules squad, having escaped relegation by the skin of my teeth in my first season, and now trying my best to do something in season two – challenge for the top 6, get a cup run going, anything.

A corner on the left. Peter Crouch lurking in the box.

Yes – in PES there is something spookily lifelike about a glancing near-post header that flashes across the goal and creeps inside the post on the other side, isn’t there? Especially when it’s delivered by a beanpole like Crouch (who then wonderfully ‘armpits’ his much-smaller teammate during the celebration).

I don’t often show my ordinary goals on the blog – my bread-and-butter goals – but as you can probably imagine, they do comprise 95% of all my goals scored. And most are satisfying in their own ways.

Crouch’s glancing near-post header secured a 2-1 win. I’ve won and drawn enough to be in mid-table, lurking on the shoulder of the top 6, Seb Coe-style.

Realistically, I’ve probably got two more seasons – this season and one more after it – left in me before PES2017 collapses like the Blues Brothers’ car when they stopped outside the Cook County building. Enough will be enough.

So it’d be nice to take Saint Etienne back into Europe before I finish with them and PES2017. In that light, my number 1 target for this season must be to qualify for Europe in some way, via the League or Cup.

Every match is a battle, as is only right with a squad like this. I am currently still very much loving life in the slow lane with Saint Etienne.

Updated: 4th July 2017 — 11:05


  1. No comments all day? Well I’m going to fill the void. Two games into the eredivisie and it’s going beautifully. Fantastic kits thanks to the licensing adds to the atmosphere, a good young team that feels like it fits with the Dutch football scene – quality players, not europe’s best but might get there if they move on from here, and 9 goals in the games (1 win and a draw). It’s the first time I’ve ever played in a non English league in pes and it’s opened up the potential longevity.

  2. Uncle Turf – high summer. Comments at this time of year – and my posts – often have the same kind of sporadic feel to them as real-world football coverage in the daily papers. Today I didn’t see one football-related story in the sport section of a newspaper I looked at at work. Express or Mail. Crazy that this time next month it’ll all be getting going again.

    I found my first experience of a non-English league to bring a different sort of gameplay too. Not so much in the second season, interestingly.

  3. That is a lovely ordinary goal.

    And no, I can’t recall a teamwork type goal that was finished with a howitzer. Proof perhaps that the howitzer itself negates all build up play no matter how tikka-takka.

    I’ve not played any PES for a week now. I’ve had a few chances to play but found myself reluctant to commit to another season. Actually, I think I’m getting some sort of weird satisfaction in seeing if I can go without a footy game as well as no real footy for more than a couple of weeks.

    I’m reading books, catching up with movies and having early nights – unlike you n-G and your 2.22am comments!

    The other factor is that mini-Shed is now hogging the PS4 more and more. MY PS4! I’ve resorted to asking him if I can have a go! I was allowed an hour-and-a-half yesterday while Mrs Shed was at yoga but, no, hands off the PES. I played No Man’s Sky and rather enjoyed it. I want to at least get to the building bit in normal mode on that one.

  4. What I noticed about the eredivisie – having moved back to premier league recently – is that opposition has far more possession. I routinely get at least 70 percent in the prem and my team is far weaker than my old Ajax side (plus the opposition has far stronger teams). In the eredivisie 60 percent was a lot (over 6 seasons). Probably related to how tactics are set up on a team level.

  5. I like the way the ball curls away from the goal before nestling just inside the post. I get great satisfaction from headed goals despite their ease of conversion.

    Shed – can you lock the boy out of the shed to reclaim the PS4?

    I played a few games yesterday evening. Season 3 started rock hard and I hadn’t scored a goal until the last minute of the first round of the cup (game 4) when I equalised against Championship side Ipswich, completely against the run of play. I won on penalties before thumping PAOK in the first group game of the Europa League 5-0 in the next game.

    The Swindon Odyssey (M4 via the A419) is making the game difficult. Charlie Austin and Henrik Ojaama are decent enough up front but any form or stamina issues leave me with two 65-70 OVR forwards and I’m lucky to be able to trap the ball before a tackle comes in. I need regen Carrick to help Rohan Ince in the middle of the park but I’m a little short on cash and Red Bull Brasil aren’t interested in reasonable offers.

  6. Shed – might there be a new, personal PS4 or even a PS4 Pro in your future? Is this disquiet the opening prelude to convincing yourself that that’s just what has to happen now?!

    #1 – I find the overall gameplay in Ligue 1 very different from the Premier League. If it is down to team styles and this outcome is the result of the Premier League getting less attention from the devs than other leagues, it’s a shocking oversight considering that the PL will be the league of choice for a huge proportion of PES players worldwide (following the ‘greatest league in the world’ narrative).

    Cook – headed goals have all but dried up for me in Ligue 1, for some reason, so this was a relatively rare header when it went in.

  7. Shed – trip switch on the fuse box? Convince him it must be the ylod and then sneak it back on when he’s found something else to do.

    I heard a quiz question the other day which would make your Swindon odyssey a breeze with Sunderland. Apparently there are 11 ex-players who appeared in the champions league final, I named four I think.

  8. Uncle Turf – You’re joking, he’s 14 and more tech savvy than me. The annoying thing is, I installed my old PS2 and PS3 in his room to play – not to mention an XBOX 360 – and yet he will keep wanting to use the PS4 in the living room. And he stays up later now which, coupled with my own struggle to cope with late nights like I used to, means my game time is being badly hit.

    I’m now considering reclaiming the PS3 for shed gaming sessions.

  9. turf – I’ve managed 6. Bowyer, Gray & O’Hare will be the Forest connection. Other than that I have Wes Brown, O’Shea and Djibril Cisse.

    Re-acquired PES17 on PS4. Something just not quite right with the PC version.

  10. Ah, I thought he was mini-er than that. Probably time to cut yourself a switch and hand out a whuppin grandpa Simpson style.

  11. Uncle Turf – I might have to upgrade him to midi-Shed as he’s not so mini anymore. He loves his games but can’t get him to go anywhere near PES. Probably a good thing – just imagine if he jumped in on one of my ML saves. Oh the horror!

  12. Tommy – indeed something wrong with the PC version as I found out as well. Gameplay is similar but kind of a weird approximation…missing some animations and the general flow is clunkier. Shame I coulnd’t refund it on Steam as I spent too much time faffing about. People on “the forums” seem convinced gameplay is identical to PS4 but after extensive play of both this doesn’t hold up.

    NG – what would be more shocking perhaps is if they DID put attention into the PRemier LEague but just got it all wrong…

  13. Sorry Tommy that’s only 3, it meant champions league as in post European cup knockout era. All three are correct though, and there’s more to come from one club in particular.

  14. Shed – I know the feeling as mine is five but he is starting to take over the PS4. I keep Minecraft hidden as he is likely to go on my save and blow up my buildings I have spent hours crafting with a load of TNT.

    What is strange is that we are into July and have yet to have a test match yet. Just shows where the priority lies now as most of the games are in September. Can’t have one day cricket ruined by the weather can we?

  15. Without looking I’ve got Zenden, yorke, Cole, muntari and Evans.

  16. That’s 8 from you and Tommy. Last three are a bit trickier – I didn’t know two had even played for them; Bayern m, Valencia and arsenal were the teams they played for in the final.

  17. Darryl – Me and MiniWerd 1 discovered tnt quite late on in our world. She cackled with glee as daddy blew up a mountain and many ducks, she soon outgrew it…I didnt however. My train station ticket office has a glowing pumpkin headed clerk.

  18. Curiosity got the better of me, so I’ve googled the last 3. But tell me, is Thomas Helmer one of them? As he never actually played in the final.

  19. You’re right Tommy, a non-playing sub now I’ve checked. Wish I’d known that at the time I could have pulled the questioner on it. Don’t shoot the messenger, it wasn’t mine – I couldn’t even remember Andy Cole playing for them let alone Eboue.

    Minecrafters – do you all have mechanical efforts going on in your worlds? ie. redstone switches and minecarts rumbling around with Scooby Doo like monster traps etc? I’ve never really got my head round all that and my most technical achievement has been a button to open the door. I don’t really know where to begin.

    The Netherlands Cup is a thing of beauty – just the one division makes it a nice diversion rather than another lump of matches to negotiate. I’ve inherited a striker with a real cannonball shot too – keeper can often only parry them out and I hoover up the rebounds.

  20. Question the second; I can’t pre-order one of the Snes’s as I keep missing the releases but I’ve now discovered the means has been around for ages via the Pi and Rom builds. Has anyone got one? Is it actually worth all this drama or do they simply remind you why we’ve moved on? I’ve assumed they are HD friendly but they might still look embarassingly clunky and sour the memory.

  21. Uncle Turf – I’ve got a Pi and love the Sunday-afternoon-tinkering-with-a-gizmo aspect of it. I’ve not got it rigged to do anything like your question, but if you’re thinking of going that route you might as well download an emulator for your PC (it’ll run it, and the ROMs, no bother, don’t worry), and if you want to have the authenticity factor, invest in a SNES controller from somewhere to plug into a USB port (I’m guessing it’s possible). I know you’ve said you’re not into emulation, but the key factor is here that it works superbly nowadays. And yes, it will most likely scratch that itch well and good. I have similar feelings for the ZX Spectrum and the likes of Atic Atac and Lords of Midnight, but a few minutes spent with either sends me away. I don’t think old games are very playable – chess excepted.

  22. Turf – I’ll admit to being a regular Computer Shopper reader, they ran this article recently

  23. Turf – with regards to the Minecraft question I don’t really bother with any of that. The ghouls and monster aspect of the game holds no appeal to me. In my world we just learn to co-habiitate in each others space, but keep out of the way of one another. To facilitate this I try to hide indoors at night and have torches everywhere in key places of interest. Every so often I see one at night in the distance, if looking from an upstairs window. Other than that, they are not a problem. I have had a couple of villagers go missing in the night though.

  24. Thank s for the comments – NG, you’ve just saved me 79.99. I downloaded a cover all one but didn’t even need to bother with the roms as I could just play them in a browser at the quality you suggested. It’s enough of a view to see that indeed it could be an itch needing to be scratched but it wouldn’t be one that persisted.

    Chess is of course crap though.

  25. Uncle Turf – it’s not just old games that don’t last well. I struggle to watch any TV show before around the year 2005. The world back then (pre-2005) was so different and strange. This doesn’t apply to pre-2005 films, oddly.

    Darryl – the challenge then is to transform the exterior (or a part of it) into your domain. That was what I had in mind with my 10%-done Great Walled Compound project. A vast indoor arena, walled and ceilinged, festooned with candelabra…

  26. I felt the retro bug hit me a few months ago and toyed with the idea of creating some kind of retro console/emulator. In the end I saved my pennies, downloaded a free PS1 emulator for my android, coupled with using the DS4 as a wireless controller and voilà. Add a simple plugin that smooths/up-scales the image really well, and a HDMI adapter that lets you plug into a tv and you’re away. I also have a little clip/holder that lets me sit my mobile phone atop my DS4, if I can’t use the tv.

  27. Tommy – the retro bug gets me only in relation to games I still want to play – Disgaea, Advance Wars, Civilization, etc. I have a DS emulator for my Android that works superbly well. Disgaea and Advance Wars on the bus. What times to live in.

  28. Are you on about Android phones or tablets?

  29. Chris99 – I’m on about both. I’m all-Android on mobile. Essentially having an actual pocket computer that you can do what you want with is too enticing. I still like the Apple devices when I see them in the wild, but I couldn’t go back now to the restrictions. (‘What restrictions!’ might be the cry, along with a list of iOS apps that mimic the Android freedom, but no, it’s not the same at all.)

  30. nG – Can I ask what phone and emulator you are using?

  31. Chris99 – of course, the phone is a magnificent Galaxy Note Edge – coming up for three years old now but still an astounding device, easily the best device of its size I have ever owned. The emulator is called DraStic (not a typo). It’s one of many similar on the Play Store. I paid for the full version, although the free is fully-featured, just limits the customisation options a little. The basic ‘DS game on your screen’ emulation is free. I also have a GBA emulator that is completely free – just called ‘GBA’, cunningly.

    There’s also a PSP emulator, PPSSPP, that I’ve only tinkered with long enough to make sure it works, and it does.

  32. Cheers, will investigate. Still have an external drive full of DS roms from when the kids had their R4s.

  33. Chris99 – same here, as I had an R4 DS – I still have it somewhere – and I’m happy to report the Android emulation is flawless.

  34. PPSSPP indeed works brilliantly. Just discovered it myself. Tactics ogre on mobile phone. Who would have thought.

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