For richer, poor Forlan

I am now well into the swing of things in Season 3. Above is the scrolling schedule calendar, which is thronged with fixtures now. I have played on past the above screenshot (pre-Liverpool game), and past the FA Cup tie vs Brescia (purists look away), which I won in Extra Time.

Life in the Premier League on Professional is gratifyingly tougher than it was in Division 2. I’m sticking on this difficulty for now.

Here is the current league table:

Nice to see CSKA Moscow riding high there. A real, old-fashioned ML, this one.

I am worried about my goal-scoring, needless to say. Things just have not clicked for my players so far. It’s not as if I have massively diluted PES2011’s mostly hidden Team Spirit mechanic by signing a load of new players.

In pre-season I picked up one new player – a veteran GK, Agazzi. I have otherwise started my maiden season in the top flight with the same squad that won the D2 title. In real life that’s pretty much always a bad idea, but in this pretend-life of ML, so far, it’s not been a disaster. Unless my goal-scoring picks up, though, I am guaranteed to finish mid-table, at best, come season’s end.

I did try to bring in new players before the start of the season. I was particularly pursuing the 36-year-old Diego Forlan – a personal ML favourite – who would only have cost £5m. Even if I only got one good season out of him, it’d be worth it.

But my finances are such that I couldn’t even afford the £5m.

I could have afforded it by downgrading a couple of Staff members from Level 3 to Level 1, freeing up £4m in an instant, but that would have been a foolish thing to do.

The backroom Staff system in PES2011’s ML is one of its key mechanics. Having better Coaches and Team Doctors really does have a boosting effect on form, fitness, and stamina, from match to match. So I didn’t want to downgrade my Staff, and impact the entire squad, just to pick up one ageing player.

Instead, I will pick up old Diego in mid-season if he is still available. Granted, I will then do very well to get half a season of goals from him, but I’m not playing PES2011 to be a 1337 haXXor Gam3r, or whatever the myClub people call themselves. I’m playing it to please and interest myself. Getting a favourite near-37-year-old striker, in my first ML season back in the top flight, will please and interest me.

Old Forlan will either be remarkably great – in which case, a top ML experience is in the offing, with the game being an appealing fantasy – or he’ll be amusingly ineffectual in his twilight months… in which case, a top ML experience is STILL in the offing, with the game being true to life. Either way it’s win-win.

Updated: 24th May 2018 — 13:28


  1. End of season 1 pes 2016? £30m in the bank. And I wasn’t even trying to cash in. When it fell it fell a very long way.

    Werd – noticed a couple of new things when I logged back into skyrim – some creators hub and the mods are finally available. Have you dabbled with either on ps4? I’ve got more than enough for the moment but I’m sorely tempted by a mod or two and forgetting the dragon shit even exists. Every dungeon opponent is a draugar death lord now I’m mr shouty.

  2. Turf – every other day I get an update alert for Falllout 4, Minecraft, Skyrim etc. If you have to pay for the mods etc it s a no no.

    Yes Draugr’s get a bit old but at least dungeon design isnt samey as in Oblivion. Hated those goblins

  3. Been back on for an hour this afternoon Werd and I’m feeling it return. I can’t remember if I banned fast travel but I’m doing so now, with my wife mjoll at my side I’m off for adventures and maybe finally choosing a side in the civil war. The heart says stormcloak, the head says they’re just mad racist brexiteers. I also can’t remember if I have a house somewhere or any kids….

    In an Abbeyhill like state as I’ve handed in both thesis and paper but supervisors are away at conferences and my exam board has yet to meet. I have absolutely nothing to do till the end of June. Not even a pond.

  4. Uncle Turf – that hour it took you to reacclimatise to Skyrim is why ‘game’ games have very little chance to take root and prosper in my life right now. I just haven’t got the luxury of burning an hour in that way. (I wonder how Paul is getting on with Far Cry?)

    Poor old much-maligned PES2016. It really doesn’t deserve the dubious title of The Game That Killed PES, but I believe that’s what it was. What it was was a declaration of intent that was feebly resisted, if at all, by the ‘hardcore’. The game’s vision of a fast and furious, pick up and play game was of course enthusiastically adopted by the online ‘softcore’, at least enough to make it the template for all PESes to come. I remember listening to a podcast in the year of PES2016 in which the hardcore PESheads participating were so confident that the arcade features (no fouls, poor individuality, no injuries etc.) would be ‘fixed’ in due course, they devoted literally a few seconds to the topic. Subsequent editions only doubled and then tripled down on the arcade vision thing. So PES2016 was really the canary in the coalmine rather that the Great Destroyer.

  5. NG – I’m currently NOT getting on with Far Cry 5.
    Amazing game, great graphics, but the difficulty level even on ‘Normal’ is ridiculous, I spent 3 days getting killed over and over ad over and over by about 30 mercenaries, and just left it there, I don’t have time to be stuck on a certain point for weeks anymore, I play the games for the storyline, not to ‘beat’ the game on the hardest levels, thats of no interest.

    I picked up Uncharted 4 again after a year’s hiatus and loving it, the linear, guided approach means you move at pace through the story which is still the benchmark for cinematics in games, and can enjoy some shooting, stealth, and puzzles along the way, its perfect for my convenience right now.

    Picked up Uncharted: Lost legacy too so that will see me through the summer.

    Haven’t been gaming much, been dickering with IPTV and once I get interested in something I obsess over it until its done.

  6. NG – I’m more inclined to say it was 2015 that was the silver surfer – the herald of terrible things to come. 2014 was an experiment that went wrong, but could one day, post patch, be rediscovered as a cult classic. 2015 was just shite. Loading times were abysmal, those laughable repeated faces, database bugs, and what I thought was poor on field action with few fouls and the now familiar catalogue of no injuries, etc etc. 2016 is no ml as we know it but for a ‘fast and frantic football action game’ (copyright marketing r us) it is exactly that. 2015 was no ml and it was boring.

    Paul – post cobra Kai I’m quite enjoying deep state. Mark strong is always watchable, it’s a bit of a timeline 24-style what? Eh? But on the whole not bad at all. Fills a slot in the day anyway.

  7. Turf – watched first 2 episodes of deep state. The rest are on the sky Q planner waiting. Was decent so far. Need to catch up with lost in space too.

    Got the IPTV working on an Apple TV 4K – 6127 channels. All sports. Movies. PPV’s, all American primetime channels and all 3pm premier league kick off matches. Very impressed.

  8. I’ve watched a lot more TV since curtailing my late night gaming routine. I’ve enjoyed Star Trek Discovery, The Rain (although the last episode was a bit iffy) and currently Daredevil which is a lot better, darker and gorier than I was expecting.

    Picked up FIFA 18 in the end but so far not impressed with the gameplay. The graphics, presentation and stadiums are amazing but this is surely a new low for player individuality.

  9. I’m surprised Shed. My Cardiff played Chelsea three times in two weeks yesterday. Hazard and Kante were instantly recognisable throughout the games. And my three possible wide left players all handle differently, leaving me thinking mid-game Hoillet would have held him off, or Holtmann would have cut inside and kept the ball. What league are you playing in?

  10. Chris99 – I’ve only played a few friendlies so I’m prepared to eat my words at some point but right now I’m not all that impressed.

  11. The Dubious Overhead Kicks Panel has convened this evening to judge Mr G Bale’s contribution to the genre. Panel members felt that the pitch and angle of the player’s leap were within orthodox parameters and met the criteria for a bicycle kick. However, the characteristic bicycle-kicking motion of the legs that gives the genre its name, was notably absent. This goal was therefore more of a flying overhead kick, than a bicycle kick per se – but the goal’s picturesqueness and timing and the style of its execution could all excuse the term ‘bicycle kick’ being (wrongly) attached to it nonetheless.

    Panellists also noted the goal’s near-universal acclaim and widespread award of ‘best ever bicycle kick’ and/or ‘best goal in a Champions League Final’. Panel members were of the view that Ronaldo’s in the Quarter Final, being a full-on bicycle kick, was the better bicycle kick; and that Zidane’s goal in the 2002 Final was a better goal.

  12. Shed – Travelers on Netflix is a much better all-round sci-fi show than Lost In Space.

    And I never saw anything in FIFA17 that wasn’t in PES2017, personally. Or for that matter PES2018. The same footy gaming philosophy on show in both. Controversial I know. The on-field action in both games is more or less the same, post-2016, and it’s the on-field action that decides everything.

  13. nG – Then you’ll be pleased to know that over the last two days I’ve had four in-match injuries including both my main forwards. One of them is out for the next eight weeks. Also received three yellow cards and had to make substitutions because I feared players being sent off. Also had the opposition pick up yellows, including a bursting run through the midfield which ended in my player being cynically brought down before he could offload.

  14. Shed – give it time as that was my first impression. But over time you start to see the depth the game has to offer. I have watched PNE a few times with my Dad this season and the player traits are spot on. I am coming up to the latter end of the season with 13 games left and a Fourth Round replay at home to Hull to come. I am lying in 15th having drawn too many. Building for next season and have two quality out of contract players to come.

  15. NG – agreed. The goal was a good one but while acrobatic lacked the complete bicycle motion, it was more a push off on a raised pedal, he didn’t need to use the counterweight and motion of the other leg to become airborne. Karius and his complete meltdown were however pure ml – I’ve scored goals like benzema, though usually a little further away. Ramos could have come straight from 2016 and I suspect won’t be venturing to sharm el sheikh on his holidays.

  16. Chris99 – I will of course need to put in a solid season or two to judge FIFAs 17 and 18 overall, but my impression from the basic players-moving-about-and-kicking-the-ball aspect was that there wasn’t much difference between them all.

    Uncle Turf – of course it was a fine goal, but I really think the bicycle kick battle is lost. Every goal scored with the player jumping with his back to goal and even vaguely horizontal is effectively now what a bicycle kick is. It has to go in the same category as the False Millennium of the year 2000 and the true meaning of something being ironic. People are just never, ever going to accept the truth. I think Ramos’ individual instruction was do a job on Salah, and job was done. I quite enjoyed the match. A great football match has multiple developing stories within it and this one certainly did. Liverpool’s have been the best games to watch this season, no question. They’re very much in the Keegan’s Newcastle tradition. I’d love to see that swashbuckling-direct style – a mix of pass and move and old-fashioned British directness – rewarded, and for that to become the default template for the real-life professional game, but no.

  17. it was only the second football match I have watched all the way through in the last two years, and pretty decent

    Mixed impressions of FIFA18 so far, passing the ball around through midfield feels quite flabby, lacking crispness and precision. However shooting is good and I have already scored some thunderous long rangers, and the matches overall have been varied and enjoyable. Started a career mode on professional with Ipswich but might restart on world class with a league 2 team if the game grows on me

  18. I’m very, very glum about the state of football gaming in the year 2018. The requirement to make the genre online-friendly has done horrific damage to the integrity of PES (effectively killed its PESness) and I think it is irreversible now. FIFA was already where PES is now, core-gameplay-wise. I’m very glum about it all indeed. I’m still looking forward to my mid/late-summer go at FIFA18 (it’ll probably be FIFA18) mainly for the luxury of being back on PS4 and for the Career Mode. I’ll let the gameplay be what it’ll be. I really think football gaming as we knew it for decades is a goner, though.

  19. After getting into it a little more I can see that FIFA 18 is indeed impressive game and far more accessible than FIFA 16 or 17. On World Class I’m making and scoring chances while the opposition AI is also challenging. I’ll probably play a season in the the Premier League with Brighton to see if I can keep them up.

    I do still think the player individuality is shockingly diluted. I played one friendly where I realised I had accidentally started with goalkeeper Tim Krul in midfield. Rather than sub him straight off I kept him on and he was fine. Krul can turn, spray passes and even made some promising forward runs. Some players do have a spark of extra pace or a little extra weightiness to them but coming from PS2 PES, the difference is striking.

    n-G – I’ve got my fingers crossed for Coventry today. Have you got your sky blue giant foam finger packed for Wembley or are you watching from home?

  20. Epic 5th round tie at home to Liverpool. Highlights below:-

  21. Shed – I keep having to remind myself I have all future time (however long that is) available to play all the footy games. There’s no sense of having to get on with PES2011 so I can ‘do FIFA’ before the next release of PES, as in a traditional year. I reckon I’ll be FIFA18-ing it in August or Sept. A FIFA18 thumbshot on PES2019 release day would be amusing.

    And I’ve got the Sky Blue scarf and 1970s football rattle out of storage to watch on TV. I know quite a few people who have gone to Wembley but I’m afraid having the energy for that kind of thing is at least 10 years in my past, maybe more like 20.

    Darryl – I love AI Firmino’s finish for their first one. If you’re uploading and posting highlights, the bug must have bitten you. As I remark above, I am going to be there eventually.

  22. Shed – that’s a truly awful indictment on football gaming that a big keeper can turn into Michael carrick.

    I’m now balls deep in skyrim and thoroughly energised at how much their is to do. Now I have the full fus ro dah and a bad ass wife nothing will really stand in my way so I’m off to collect some trophies and put the game to bed forever.

  23. Congratulations to the Sky Blues and very well deserved. Would love to see them back in the top flight one day.

    NG – yes I have got the bug. With 6 games left every match feels crucial as there are 5 points separating 5th and 14th. I am currently 12th and have a sniff of the play offs. What I also like is that the teams in my division have all played different amounts of games, which makes the run in more interesting. I am also off work this week, so should get a good stab at the game. Also excited as we have a new 4K TV coming tomorrow.

  24. Darryl – it was a most un-CCFC journey to this promotion, with the two victories in the semi and the final being rather comfortable (in the end). All 4 goals were very football game-like goals, I thought. I’m not interested in League 1 ‘consolidation’. I remember Wolves surging up the divisions with 3 successive promotions during their Steve Bull era.

    Uncle Turf – there’s a video out there of people playing David de Gea as a striker in FIFA18, and scoring thunderous goals with him. Can’t find it right now but it’s a shocker.

    I just read something on a forum about online play and it occurs to me this is the first year since online became a thing (PES4) that I have literally not played one match online at all. I’ve at least played something each and every year, usually a complete session or two – until this year. Should I leave it at that?

  25. Yes, good to see Coventry moving up but I’d stop short of them returning to the top league – I forever associate them with annual last minute survival as much as I do the 87 cup final. For similar reasons I’m not in a hurry to see West Brom come back. Mid table championship scrapping with forest and Ipswich seems about right. Mind until recently that was where I’d have pegged Leicester and Burnley were fourth tier.

    Anyone played that fortnite business? Small turf has been going on about it for weeks and I downloaded it yesterday. Not looked yet but I’ll not have a clue if it’s like mmorpg doom type shit.

  26. n-G -Congrats on real world Coventry finally emulating what you’ve done them in PES numerous times. Is this really their first promotion in 51 years?!

    I reckon Coventry have a great chance of going up again next season but the Championship is a lot tougher than when the likes of Wolves breezed through it.

  27. Uncle Turf – I asked midi-Shed about Fortnite when it was all over the news. He’s at that age when anything that popular is just not cool. Other than the character customising element, it doesn’t appeal to me.

  28. Well done to the Sky Blues. They hit form at just the right time although there was some suspicious table scripting with Mansfield and Swindon slipping away.

    No football gaming for me, I’ve finished the main story on Zelda but have the DLC to complete. It’s a great game, I’d describe it as an Ico, SOTC and Skyrim mix up.

    NG, any chance of a closer look at how does the back room staff mechanic work in PES 2011?

  29. Cook – PES2011’s backroom staff system makes you make big decisions at the end and beginning of every season, and works really well. In the early seasons it comes down to either/or. Either I get a top new signing, or a top new Coach. I really can’t have both. I’ll do the backroom staff thing with screenshots next time I have the big decisions to make.

    Shed – the 51 years thing slightly annoyed me yesterday (it was Sky News pushing that one the most). It’s misleading as it implies that CCFC have only ever been in League 2/Division 4 or similar for 51 years. It takes a bit of thought – and being old enough to remember – to see what is meant, i.e. that CCFC got to the old top flight Division 1 in the 1960s, and stayed there before the recent freefall years.

    Uncle Turf – it’s a new football era and the prospects of a Coventry taking up a permanent home in the Premier League for three decades is probably long gone. Burnley will be relegated one of these seasons soon. Southampton squeaked it this year. Huddersfield are having a laugh. Etc. Still great to have a season or two in the bigtime though.

    I’m still thinking about my failure to play a single moment of online football this year. When PES2011 is done and dusted, right at the end of the footy game year or thereabouts, I will play a few online matches in PES or FIFA, just for completion’s sake.

  30. n-G – I was more than aware of Coventry’s long stint at the top table of English footy but it’s still remarkable that you, as a Sky Blues fan of a certain age, are only now feeling the buzz of a post-promotion working day. I would hope that even your non-footy fan colleagues are talking about it.

    PES 2011’s back room staff feature is basic but extremely affective in adding a something extra to the ML experience. It could so easily be still in nuPES ML mode but no, it’s been gone for years now. I suppose it just gets in the way for those eager to buy big name players and win trophies within a couple of seasons.

    I’ve not played an online match of any kind since PES 2013.

    FIFA 18’s World Cup add-on is released later today for anyone interested. I’ll certainly be giving it a go – offline only of course.

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