Goal of the first two months

I swept through the mid-season transfer window here in Season 4, picking up two youngsters of note: T CAHILL (for his heading, hopefully); and K HONDA. Both are just 17 and not much use right now. I am investing for the future – of which it seems there will be a considerable amount.

Currently about 15 matches from the end of Season 4 in PES2019.

I am not going to get promoted this season.

The table after 31 matches:Yes, that’s me all the way down in 15th.

Superstar is absolutely kicking my backside, hard, every match.

I started this season the day after last week’s patch landed. I started on Top Player, which suddenly felt very easy post-patch.

My record on Top Player at the start of the season: W8 D0 L0.

My record on Superstar since I changed up: W3 D6 L14.

Leading to the overall position above.

I have considered going back to Top Player – and I did go back, for one match.

I was 3-0 up by the 30-minute mark.

I couldn’t have that, so I quit to the main menu, reloaded, switched back to Superstar – and lost the fixture 2-1.

It’s Superstar or bust. Even if I have to stay in Division 2 for many seasons to come. I cannot, in all conscience, drop back to Top Player and its guaranteed comfortable wins.

I might one day consider Top Player, with manual passing. PA0 remains one of my great undiscovered countries in PES

I dunno, though. I am excited about the prospects for PES2019’s longevity. This is shaping up to be the most epic PES year since PES2012. It now seems certain that I will have a double-digit amount of Master League seasons. This hasn’t happened for a few years.

Is PES2019 shaping up to be something of a classic? Way too early to call, but it’s got a chance.

Finally today, a tongue-in-cheek Goal of The First Two Months contest. Vote for your favourite goal in the comments. No prizes.

Updated: 2nd November 2018 — 10:01


  1. Looks like a few more seasons before you’ll get promoted then, those 46 game slogs…..

    As for the GOT2M competition, I’d go for the Lincoln curler.

  2. Paul – I’ll do another season (5) as it currently is, purely for the love of PES and the way this struggle is shaping the ML experience. Fascinated to see if I and/or my players/tactics etc can dig me out of this division. But I’m not a masochist and if it goes to another season (6) after that… I’d probably try the Top Player/PA0 hybrid difficulty solution – the Lloyd Doctrine.

    Your vote for the Lincoln curler is noted. Currently the Lincoln curler is in the lead.

  3. NG – the multi-season struggle for promotion will ultimately make your ML a more rewarding one.
    I remember it took me 7 seasons to be promoted in PES 2011, then Villalba and co ran riot in the Prem, and I still remember that ML experience all these years later.

    The Lincoln curler is a smasher, closely followed by Goal C

  4. NG – just a suggestion rather than going down to Top Player (Manual) If that came about, would you not consider Superstar but on pass 2 assistance. I did this for a while once back in 2015 when I was getting trouced by the CPU. Once the game started to bend I knocked it down to 1 again. The problem with manual is that it is designed for longer matches and you like the standard match length.

  5. NG – I couldn’t stop chuckling each time it was another Lincoln effort ha!

    Has anyone dabbled with the preset tactics being turned on so you can change on the fly in game? I normally use fluid formations, though I haven’t this year. If you use both it essentially means you can easily switch, in play without pausing, between three different formations and thus 9 different shapes (due to fluid formations) as well as three different sets of advanced attacking and defending instructions. I spent a good hour or two making a plan for it at work today after a very average start to my new season – 1-2-1.

  6. This is Shed calling. My vote goes to…

    …Goal D, Lincoln.

  7. Jay – Pretty sure Fluid tactics take precedence over everything, so basically, if you use them, you are down to just 2 sets of formation/instructions.
    Possession and out of possession, because ‘at kick off’ is extremely pointless and totally typical of Konami.

    As soon as the kick off is taken, you are either in possession, or if the COM kicks off, Out of possession, so what the hell is the point in the ‘at kick off’ setting!?!

  8. Paul – fluid formations will exist within each Preset Tactic. To change preset tactics in game you hold up or down and you’ll get the little notification appear to tell you you’ve changed. You may have seen the AI do it. So if you change presets the fluid formation settings within that preset will then start operating.

    Yes. Yes I did make this.

    Agree with you on the At Kick Off one. Only reason I can think is it could be used to counter AI immediately going at you or similarly to immediately go at them. I agree it’s essentially redundant.

  9. Jay – I saw you a you tube video that explained how certain tactics take precedence over everything else, i’ll try and dig it out.

    If you made that Jay then you are blessed to not have much to do at work.
    Also curious as to how well those plans work in reality given that your team mates just wander about freely and don’t mark when they’re meant to.

  10. Paul – I’ll feedback! I know you’re not a fan of this year’s PES but it really has improved with the patch and it isn’t as bad as you make out! Honest!

    PS over to comment on FIFAFX. I read it at work and always forget to comment once home.

  11. Jay, I don’t dislike PES 19 as such, I just find it extremely frustrating how it gets so many basics totally wrong.
    The core game play is good, and probably bordering very good after the patch, but it’s everything else that hangs off the core that’s white dog turd.

    I find it difficult to play, or praise a game that lies to its consumers, makes them wait months after release for fixes because they don’t test anything, doesn’t include features that were hyped and promised, where basic elements of the sport they are replicating do not work such as player positioning and marking etc, and where you slog it out over a 40 game or thereabouts season, which can take weeks of your life depending how often you get to play, to attempt to win a trophy and when you do, there is no trophy !!!!!

    I’ve said it before, would be like NHL without the stanley cup, or Madden without the superbowl trophy, or super mario without the king koopa end boss battle, or Uncharted that cuts off halfway through the final chapter so you never get to see any treasure, its just unthinkable.

    Not even mentioning the cant be assed bland menus, lack of presentation, stadiums, poor commentary etc etc.

    it’s just not a finished product.

  12. Made a quick video of fluid and preset working in tandem. Having a similar problem I’ve had with fluid formations in the past tho – players moving around on the formation screen between the off the ball and on the ball screen!

  13. In an effort to completely remove sleep and free time I’ve downloaded Football Manager on my Ipad. Surely by the time PES 20 and FIFA 20 come around, I will finally be able to define the way I want a team to play. It’s in my head but I can’t communicate it to others without arm flapping.

  14. Jay – I get ya now.

    Made a few new kits over at PESFX, if anyone wants any kits, but wants the sports branding changed etc just let me know.

  15. Paul – that Adidas Geo kit is naughty! Very reinvented 80s. You’re good at these.

    I should’ve made my formation spreadsheet sooner….

    First game with it bagged me a 7-1 win and I’ve won the next three comfortably too.

  16. Hi there. My Nothingham Forest ML on PES PC, saw me going up at 3rd season on professional, and then ending 2nd on the 1st year on the PL, so (im playing shared with my nephew) we decided to move to top player, so now the 2nd season is going harder. All fun.
    Anyway, while i like the struggle of managing our salary budget i really think the financial model make transfer money worth nothing. We are sitting on 100 million euros, we could buy any but the top most expensive players, but then we could not afford their salaries. In the mean time, we hire promising young players at around 75-79 ovr, and then have to let them go when it is time for renewal because suddenly, they ask 5 times their previous salary… and again those 100 mil are good for nothing. Something is off in all of this, i think.
    Or am i missing something ?

    (i know i haven’t explored the loan offers. I really like the idea of building a squad from youth to stardom and the game just won’t let me. At least so far.)

  17. Goal D, simply for the noise of it hitting the woodwork.

    My Marseilles top player ML is chugging along nicely, I’m winning more than I lose thanks to an influx of decent players. I’ve got 32m in the bank but my wage balance is only about 700k after my latest signing, 80 rated dutch left back Brenet who is on 900k, and thats after haggling. I’m a long way from going up to superstar.

  18. Luis – it is incredibly hard to keep a team together once you’re over 4 years in. I’ve only *bought* 5 players max and I’m in season 6. The rest have been frees and youth academy. I’ve now not signed anyone for 18 months because I’d rather keep my team together. My salary budget is in the negative so I literally can’t sign anyone but I can keep my team together. I have £11m in the bank and I’ve never had more than £15m so £100m is impressive but I’ve barely sold anyone either. The finances are much harder than any PES since money wasn’t a thing and you bought players with a weird points currency.

  19. Luis – your ‘Nothingham Forest’ might prompt a grumble from Tommy I think…

    And re. the finances, it certainly is a year when the wages budget is critical and it’s more frustrating than ever to see that total mounting up in the general transfer kitty. That’s the nature of the beast this year though, and if I could choose it to be this way, I would.

  20. Not Forest was chosen purely based on kit colour. Equal to Benfica, and easy to see on various situations because of the contrast against green grass. No other criteria were involved:)

  21. NG – this is especially for you. My new formation and tactics has allowed me more space in certain areas of the pitch if I go about creating it properly. This is what happened in this afternoon’s session (11 games long W8-D1-L2):

    I also got 2 (TWO) penalties in 1 (ONE) game during the same session. The first was saved and went out for a corner, with which I won the second penalty and duly dispatched it.

  22. Jay – they’re satisfying, aren’t they?! great stuff, now your fingers know the ‘feel’ of how to get them. I’m still not tired of scoring them, and despite appearances, they are by no means common or particularly easy. It takes a very particular ‘feel’ to make a good stab at them, and the keepers palm them away more often than not. I find myself wasting good opportunities to try an R2 curler, so I only really try them maybe once per match, more if I’m already ahead.

    Your first one there went under the AI player’s armpit!

  23. Confirmation for me last night of what we’ve always known – dropped a clanger thinking auto save was on and lost my last result when I turned off. Turned back on to find player arrows were completely different for the match (there had been nothing beforehand, it was straight into the go to next match schedule) to the extent that I had to swap players out who’d played moments before. Whether it affected the game I don’t know but the speed was hugely different, no changes to formation so it shouldn’t have but it was like I’d knocked the setting down by 2. This sort of thing is why I’m afraid I don’t have much time for your more advanced theories of tactics Jay – the game is a dice roll in so many areas and player form has been broken like this for years.

    And Celtic on superstar is a decent test, it’s the only one in the spl, all the other teams are like the championship, yet hearts are top of the league. Hmm. I may stay at Motherwell for season 3 to test myself in Europe.

  24. Uncle Turf – sounds like session variance to me, a dice-roll as well of course. We’re probably better off not knowing just how much/little almost everything we do with that gamepad in our hands really matters. In the PS4 era it’s very common to think you’ve paused the game when you haven’t (because that PS4 controller Start button is so fiddly to press properly). So it’s a common thing to come back from the toilet or kitchen or wherever, to see that you didn’t pause the game and there it is carrying on and playing itself quite happily without you. Your ‘controlled’ player being a very small part of the automatic whole.

  25. Each to their own. Having used just one formation (fluid turned off) for the first five seasons, to then change my formation, turn fluid on and alter my advanced instructions, there was an immediate difference in many aspects and my results and stats changed.

    I tend to lean towards session variance being a thing, because I *feel* that I experience it. But before I’d visited this blog for the first time I’d never heard of the expression and would never have thought PES suffered from it. Akin to NG’s perception (and experience) of LCS.

    Your differing experience on the replayed game after the first one could be explained by session variance, if we presume it exists, but firstly: would you expect the result to be the same if you saved before playing a game on Football Manager or any other football game and then replayed it afterwards? It wouldn’t, even if you had the same players on the same form; which brings me onto the second point that the game could equally have felt different because you were playing with different players with different forms (the arrows can drastically change stat ability by upto 18%).

    It’s fairly accepted that arrows seemingly have no logic to them, and again I tend to agree based on actual experience – and have *always* felt that way about PES (part of the fun of playing with mates was loading up the match screen once we’d picked teams to see who was on form or not for either side! Even Konami describe the form arrows as ‘Random’ in the settings screen).

    But I don’t see how arrows being random or nonsensical has any bearing on an entirely separate aspect of the game such as advanced tactics. I suspect it’s because it doesn’t. If you want to, tinker with your formations (fluid, advanced, etc) and see if it makes a difference for you or whether you feel/think/experience a change in your team.

    NG – I agree on the pause button, which is why I always wait for the pause menu to appear before going to sit on the toilet to read this very blog.

  26. I absolutely believe session variance exists, and I’d never heard of scripting before landing here but now it’s pretty clear. I think the football manager comparison isn’t the best as I’ve got a fair amount of experience of that actually repeating the same result multiple times. Lots of people have tried it to see if they could win ‘unwinnable’ games and often they found they couldn’t alter the outcome. After all you aren’t physically in control at any point of that, it’s just a load of maths running in the background. A better comparison might be a beat em up.

    The point about tactics was not related to the arrows (which are shit really, why even have them if none of the game narrative influences them – konami is just so half arsed about so much) it was that from the start the AI was different, much slower, less agrressive. In response to no changes to my tactics whatsoever. I simply don’t believe the AI analyses your set up and looks to combat it, it just does what it’s going to do regardless of what you choose. Whether a tactic alters your chances of scoring is different, obviously you will see a difference between 1 up front or 5 but that’s the extent of it. I never ever change tactic mid master league to suit a particular match, never have, never will, once I pick one in week one it’s fixed because you can easily buy any player to fit the slot and everything else is smoke and mirrors.

    I’m not quite Paul on this but I’m definitely in the ‘it’s not as clever as it pretends’ camp. That said post patch I think it’s the best pes I’ve played for years. The transfer market is awful but on the pitch, now LCS has gone for me and routes to goal are more varied, I’m loving it, absolutely loving it.

  27. Here here. First session today for over a week as I’ve been away, and a good one at that. Thoroughly enjoying this PES now. Finally getting my teeth into Red Dead tonight.

  28. NG-good that you’re sticking with superstar. Kudos on toughing it out, if I don’t make it out of the Lower league by the first season I’m in for a serious mental grind.

    Unfortunately the league additions by Konami indeed messed up my master league as I feared, even after my option file was updated. So now I have more than 100 players called “player” running around with insane stats and generic faces. They keep popping up in my scouting reports as well and worse yet the cpu is picking them up in transfer windows, highly annoying. The option file update fixes these issues but only take effect when starting a new master league. Nearing the end of season 2 with Liverpool, might restart with Ajax as I usually switch to them after 2,3 seasons anyway (if the game lets me).

    The upside to this is that the cpu actually uses tactics and fluid formations this year and the new option file has these included for the entire premier league. I will be adding these to the Dutch eredivisie so there will at least be some much needed variety to cpu play. Also the J-league is included in the option file which means all the Japanese freebies are out this time. Extra challenge = good times.

    Speaking of my Liverpool save, I just had a brilliant game against West Ham, a nil nil draw. The cpu tried two finesse shots from outside the box, switched regularly between playing on the counter and a high press and was fouling me all over the pitch. Meanwhile I’m in 18th place and just slipped into the relegation zone.

  29. Season 2 finished, a respectable 4th. No play-offs in France, so need a top-two finish next time. The two teams that dropped down last season were a class above, and went straight back up. I’m hoping the two that come down this time are the same two that went up last season, giving me a shot at automatic promotion.

  30. Uncle Turf – that is quite the endorsement, surely only Paul’s would be bigger at this stage, and after almost 4 full seasons now I have to break cover and agree that it’s the best since PES2012 for me, and I have a crazy suspicion it’ll turn out best since PES2008(PS3/PSP), which was probably the last Golden Age PES on PS2. For now definitely ‘best in show’ of the PS4/late PS3 era.

    Jay – session variance is certainly a thing. If you have a better explanation for why a discrete switch-on session of the series can feel so different from the previous one, and the next one, I would like to hear it. Session variance is behind all the placebo patch myths. Session variance is what makes one session turgid hard work, and the next session sees your players moving like quicksilver, and the next session one you can’t score in, and the next session one you score a ton in, and so on. Session variance was in the series from ISS on the PS1. It’s undoubtedly one of the Worcester Sauce-style secret ingredients of the series.

    Scripting is real too.

    And so are the clowns.

    #1 – the CPU chips my keeper for fun since the Big Patch (arguably the most effective patch in PES history, judging by the reception). I haven’t noticed any OF messups on console, but I’m prepared to see them at some point. And no, I won’t start again…

    Tommy – I keep meaning to get my teeth into RDR 1 (ONE) but PES2019 keeps me playing with that infuriating knack all footy games have of fitting perfectly into any given amount of time available.

  31. Pre patch it was on a par with release 2014. The patch has been a huge turnaround imho. However, I’m only in Scotland, where you start with a bye into the cup quarter finals (I mean really, how shit is that?). Maybe when I move I may see some PPDOTR – post patch boredom owing to repetition. My catchy contribution to mnemonics.

  32. NG – like I said, it exists, just like LCS did prepatch. But also, like your outside vicarious experience of LCS, for me I hadn’t come across the phrase “session variance” until I read it on this blog and I hadn’t noticed it before then, but inescapably did once I’d come across the phrase. The human brain is inherently disposed to find reason and pattern in the absence of it and the absence of the knowledge of it. I likely put session variance down to tiredness or if I’d had a bad day or whether someone else was in the room or anything other than session variance. Now I tend to agree it most likely is the primary cause.

    Also NG – I very much think you’d like Noah Yuval Harari’s Homo Sapiens and Homo Deus. I suspect you’d enjoy the latter most but both in general.

  33. Jay – big fan of the two books mentioned, read them both and listened to the audiobooks, and his new one – a compilation of journalism – is just as good. The clocks going back/forward and how ‘the time’ in general controls us and shapes us is a good example of intra-subjective reality.

  34. NG – I thought that would be the case. I presume you mean 21 Lessons for the 21st Century? That’s next on my reading list once I’ve finished Working Class Heroes, which is a book on Rayo Vallecano that I’m rather enjoying. I thought 21 Lessons might be somewhat of a indirect retort to Peterson’s 12 Rules, as they’ve had their fair share of public disagreements, unsurprisingly, but I imagine it’s just a sellable title due to the repetition and maybe the similarity with a recent bestseller in 12 Rules.

  35. Shall I start the morning with what might be considered NG click bait….I’ve seen talk on that there twitter that Lee probert should not have booked gray for removing his shirt to show a message about leicesters owner, he should have ‘applied common sense’….

    I’m going to a referee awareness event on Thursday night and I’m going to bring this nonsense up. ‘The referee spoiled the game’ is another classic.

  36. “This referee is trying to let the game flow.”

  37. Uncle Turf – I am of course aware of the Lee Probert yellow card debate, but have yet to see discussed the main reason why he absolutely should have awarded the card: the integrity of the competition (the Premier League) demanded it.

    Say he hadn’t booked Gray, and Gray then accumulated other yellow cards over the course of the season, but ended up playing in a match that he would have been suspended for had he not been ‘let off because of the sentimental feels’ in this match – and say in that match he should have missed, he scores a goal that sends a team down, or denies a team European qualification, or whatever. Clearly wrong and against the very ‘spirit of football’ that the late Chairman and Leicester are supposed to represent. Verdict: justified yellow card that had to be given. Football is the winner at the end of the day.

    I was more interested in the sheer zest with which the ref in Man City-Southampton awarded the penalty to Southampton when it was 3-0. That was a ref knowing he was essentially awarding a consolation goal and he wouldn’t be surrounded by protests, and so he gave it immediately. If it was 0-0 between Man City and Man Utd, he is much less likely to award the penalty. Refs’ psychology being a key element in the awarding of ‘big decisions’ continues to skew football matches in a way it shouldn’t. VAR cannot come soon enough.

  38. Anyone qualified btw? I’ve got my cricket umpire badge and it was very black and white – we had a series of courses at night, a huge reference book and a fifty question exam at the end. Right or wrong, no interpretation. There was player management of course but decisions were very much ‘what is the answer if a, b and c happen’. Curious to see how football approaches it as I’ve got no intention of going into it.

  39. Uncle Turf – the Association Football version of your reference book should say ‘what is the answer if a, b, and c happen and the decision you make will decisively shift the balance of the game?’ And the right answer will be ‘almost always just wave play on, unless conditions d, e, and f apply, in which case…’ etc..

    The interesting thing about the Unwritten Rules that refs use to ref football matches by is that they’re never spoken of in public forums, not on MOTD, not in newspapers, nowhere. E.g. a penalty that should be given but is not given – the pundits boggle hard about why the referee didn’t see it. When they know and we know the referee just didn’t want to give it for multiple interlocking reasons, none of them to do with the actual foul. And it’s never spoken about. Name me one other sport that has that kind of thing as a permanent feature. Or a concept of ‘big decisions’ and ‘brave referees’.

  40. Proving session variance and scripting has always been a thing in PES, I had a nasty end to season four of my PES5 ML. I went from third to finishing sixth after an enjoyable but torrid run of fixtures in which the goals just seemed to dry up. This is where free kicks and penalties really matter.

    With a little break before season five and having just watched the excellent Godless on Netflix, I felt tempted to get Read Dead 2 over the weekend. Remember just how little time I get on the PS4 though, I’ve decided to stay all retro-in-the-shed and replay the original on PS3 instead. A return of to my all time favourite non-footy game is happening as soon as I find a cheap Game of the Year edition.

  41. Shed – I’ve got RDR1 on digital download on the PS3 hard drive. I have come to admire the Western genre in general after not really liking it as a kid (I was always sci-fi first) and keep meaning to finally play the greatest ever Western game… but time, etc.

    Scripting and session variance are so fundamental to PES (without them, there is no game) that I am always shocked when anyone seems to doubt them.

  42. I bought Red Dead 2 on Friday so no room for PES, I even set up remote play for when the tv is busy. The game brings us another step closer to those simulation machines often portrayed in sci-fi.

    One of the reasons I’m off PES is because I was messing with game play mods and now I’m not sure what’s what, much like slider syndrome I guess. I imagine I’ll be back to default but at the back of my mind I have concerns about game speed and difficulty which can be solved by mods…maybe.

  43. n-G – Incredibly, the digital version of RDR1 is still twenty-odd quid on Playstation Store.

    I’ve always loved a Western, one of my first favourites on telly being The Lone Ranger. That said, I wasn’t sure I would like Godless but the whole mini-series is like a love letter to the Western genre with Jeff Daniels out of Dumb and Dumber proving to be a brilliant villain.

  44. Shed – if you’ve never seen Deadwood, you really should. And you’ve picked the worst time ever to try and get RDR1 cheap.

  45. The trailers I’ve seen for RDR2 reminded me of a modern Westworld feel. All the open riding seems quite Delores and Teddy to me.

  46. Do we think perhaps that the curler has become somewhat of a go to, like the 2012 corner or 2013 touch and shot across goal? I mention it as I was trailing in a game I was desperate to win and out it came to the rescue. Following match, another, not top corner but the bend of the ball seems to confuse the keeper’s diving. It’s getting quite frequent in my games, way ahead of any other type of goal.

    Shed – apart from a hotel what would you say was the best western? I have particularly firm opinions on the who, what and how.

  47. Uncle Turf – the full-on 150-yard, R2 Lincoln showbiz curlers are still rare events for me. I’ve scored 1 in the past 30-odd matches. That’s not remotely a worry for me. I do bag a lot of lesser curlers – closer to goal, and lower in the net, with other players. Remember the turn and shoot from PES2012? They’re like that for me. A reasonably common type of goal, but not unbalancing.

  48. Uncle Turf – are you saying outside the area/long range curlers are your most frequent goals scored? How often and how many are you getting?

    I scored a new form of one earlier that I will upload later!

  49. Two firsts! Both were last minute goals. The first rescued a point vs West Ham and the second got me all three points!

  50. No, not the long range curler, not the 29 yard one NG originally posted, but the just outside the box, from five yards in from the vertical edge of the box (it never works for me from a central position) – a sort of 23 yarder at either 7 o’clock or 4 o’clock from the penalty spot if that makes sense, then yes, that’s my most frequent goal. And always with a midfielder, my strikers are never in that zone. Corners often allow the exact positioning, or throw ins in Rory delap territory.

    I do experience goal variety, but what NG calls the lesser curler (and I concur), is very much the turn and shoot for me. If I absolutely must find a goal then that is always the option I’d look for. I’m inclined to think it’s an AI black spot, a place where they can’t quite jam the signal.

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