Life at the bottom

I’ve zoomed ahead to February of Season 7 in my maiden season in the Premier League.

Life is tough. To put it mildly. No messing – here is the table after 24 matches:

Bottom of the pile. 24 matches played. Won 5. Drawn 4. Lost 15. Scored 24. Conceded 51 (FIFTY-ONE).

No, it’s not hard to see the problem. Too few goals scored up front, and far too many conceded at the back. A Goalkeeper and at least one defender were on the shopping list heading into the transfer window.

I needed them. Here are December’s results, which show a reasonable cross-section of results, including a nice couple of wins to finish the calendar year:Those two matches versus Arsenal and Man Utd were representative of how things tend to go for me against the Big 6. I tend to get absolutely thumped. Typically I go a goal down, and then take a few risks to try and get back into things. So I’ll push up. Then I’ll get done on the break. Now I’m 2-0 down. Still in the game, really, if I can just get 1 goal back… So I continue taking risks – and get done on the break again. That’s how the big teams punish you in the Premier League.

The matches against the top teams are not the most enjoyable matches in PES2019. In fact they’re very similar to the accursed Old Boys match and the Rivals matches – fast and furious arcade-style crap with minimal interruptions. Mostly. There are some good spells in these matches, but I don’t have the players yet to live with the opposition, and so they’re 80% tedious button-mashing slogs. It worries me that anyone (at Konami, or in the wider PES-playing community) thinks this kind of football gaming is good football gaming. All action! Thrills! Spills! Turnovers!

I vastly prefer meeting the Brightons and Huddersfields of this division. There’s the PES2019 I’ve come to know and love.

How has Forlan, my big Season 7 signing, got on?

He’s been worryingly anonymous for too many matches. Only 8 goals so far all season, which is a low strike rate compared to what I need.

But I have come to sense it’s my fault for not being good enough, frankly, and not getting Forlan in the game.

He had a great December, scoring 4 goals in a purple patch spanning 3 consecutive games.

Below is a brief video showing all 4 of those Forlan goals in December.

The first goal here was a consolation goal in a defeat, but it seemed to bring Forlan to life, and all the others came in much-needed wins soon after – including my only free kick goal of Season 7 so far. The final goal is a PES2012-style ‘turn and shoot’ jobby, which I am starting to get some joy from again.

Highlights aside, Season 7 is a grind and I love it. I’m rock-bottom of the league and facing a genuine battle to avoid the drop.

After well-documented financial struggles I have finally got myself to a place where I have a steady income of £550,000 per calendar month. It all flows into the wages budget. For the first time I feel comfort on that front – but how long will it last? The next round of contract renewals will likely give me something to think about.

I’ll focus on the here and now. In January I had enough spare cash for my first real shopping spree.

First I picked up two older Youths from my Youth team. I’ve had to frustratedly watch several decent-looking youngsters come to maturity over the past few seasons without being able to sign them.

JOAQUIN (SS, 80 OPR) and CESAR NAVAS (CB, 81 OPR), both aged 20, both come in. I’ve had the former before (in PES2017, I think) and he was great, so I’m hoping for more of the same. Navas has gone straight into defence.

I also carefully picked out a 20-year-old Goalkeeper from the Free Agents list – J PELE (79 OPR) is already more solid between the sticks than Mannone ever was.

My shopping still wasn’t done. I still had cash to spend! Ah, life in the Premier League…

Time for me to look for a proper DMF. I haven’t had one this season. My Loanee Jack Wilshere’s aerial passing has impressed me this season. Obviously I’m not going to keep the 30-something Wilshere. I wanted a DMF with the same kind of Passing stats and skills (Low Lofted Pass and Weighted Pass) as Wilshere has.

This fella popped up as one of only 4 players who fit the criteria:Riccardo Montolivo, who has the kind of facial profile up there that you might see on the front of a Roman coin. I got him for a bargain £6m from one of the Chinese sides. £1m per year salary, so it’s a risk. He’s a Regen, currently aged 20, and already impressive. Not so much on the going-forward front, yet, but he breaks up play and distributes well, and that’s the first job of a DMF.

I have a feeling that Konami nerfed the traditional swashbuckling PES DMF a few editions ago now. It feels like a long time since I had a stormin’ DMF in the Mathieu/Camacho mould.

And so that’s the state of play. My Premier League £££s have enabled me to kit myself out with 4 top players in the mid-season. It’ll be another season or so before I’m totally done with Loanees. Maybe I won’t ever be completely done with them, if I continue to struggle and future contract talks go the ridiculous way I suspect they will.

My relegation battle is close to the end of the season at the time of writing.

I’m about 7 matches from the end, still in the bottom 3, and 5 points from safety.

There is a very real chance of relegation, I sense. I would not like to see what happens to my finances if I do drop back to the Championship.

I’ve got enough 6-pointers against fellow strugglers coming up that I’m 95% confident of survival. Maybe it’ll all go to some Last Day Drama…. There’s a near-100% chance of that, I suspect.

Updated: 14th December 2018 — 12:06


  1. Will you allow relegation or adjust the difficulty should it come to that?

    I’ve got the option of a 16yo montolivo at the moment but I’ve rejected him for being too small, slight and orange statted. Picked up leiva, that ex Liverpool fella instead. Very little activity for me in the window but I did sign cech in case Buffon doesn’t sign. Andy Carroll turned me down on a 93% chance deal which was very irritating.

  2. Uncle Turf – I’ll take the relegation and enjoy it, if it comes to that. The growing legend of PES2019 will grow that little bit more, if I’m relegated. I don’t want it to though, as I need to squad-build and I need Premier £££s for that. I can’t fiddle the books like some.

  3. In my first season in the Prem I stayed up with a win on the final day. Was pretty epic and was the only time in the whole season I was out of the bottom 3.

    The whole salary budget system is a bit of a mess for me, 16 million in the red and growing every time there’s renewals. Just got to the point where will just stick with this group and forget about the budget

  4. NG – Obviously you’ve described how the ‘Big 6’ teams beat you convincingly, and you pick up points against the lesser teams, which is how it realistically should be for a newly promoted team, but in all honesty, do those better teams play any differently? Do premier league teams play any differently from Championship teams? Or is it much of the same just with better players ?

  5. Ever been relegated NG? It’s a desperate, soul destroying business. Once in my master league life, it still hurts.

  6. Well, this is interesting. I thought Div 1 might be more of a struggle than 2 but not to this extent. You must be relishing a proper relegation battle n-G. I know I would be. Going for all those (invisible) trophies is fun and all but there’s something about a fight for survival. I can’t recall many PESes providing that – not after several seasons.

  7. Maximus – which is why I’m looking to equip myself with he players I want before things go south again on the finances. I could deal with having a settled squad of 20 players and a couple of Loanees, but I never want to go back to having 14 squad players and 6 or 7 Loan players.

    Paul – a definite step up in terms of difficulty, but not because of Team IDs or anything like that. All the Big 6 play like Man City. All the rest play like Huddersfield. There are fuzzy zones between the two with a foot in both camps (West Ham for example). Overall if I had to pick a division to play the rest of PES2019 in, it’d be the Championship. Those 6 seasons were magnificent. The Premier League will doubtless grow on on me, but currently playing the Big 6 means around 12 matches in the button-mashing fast-and-furious arcade style that somebody at Konami thinks is what we want. It’s not. It’s so not.

    Uncle Turf – I think it did happen once, on PES2011 or PES2012. Can’t remember how badly/well I took it.

  8. Shed – relishing it is the word. Not best pleased about the way the game represents the top teams – it really is a case of getting a good grip on the controller and trying to keep up with the frenzy – but generally the game holds up. 2 great fixtures against Brighton this season, who are just above me in the relegation zone at the time of typing…

  9. I also have PES Legend Yohann Pelé, assuming that’s who you mean. He’s come in as a replacement for José Sá who is playing out the last 6 months of his contract.

    Joaquin is also a PES Legend and should serve you well, assuming you don’t play him on the opposite wing or something, like some kind of monster.

    Anyway, check this beauty out! I got a trophy for it and everything!

  10. Tommy – ‘Goal of the PES’ for you there I think – I’d love one of them, they’re not happening for me in this edition yet.

    My new GK is indeed Yohann Pele, but I’ve never heard of him being a PES Legend. Joaquin yes, and I have had him before. He is of course playing on the right.

  11. NG – I think it’s a matter of settling in as well, to get a feel for the premier league so to say. I found a smiliar difficulty spike like you have seen. I must say I do see a noticeable difference how each team plays, I think the custom tactics I implemented come into play here.

    Cook – which option file you using on pc? The icritmypants one? If you are, do you see any players called “players” popping up after updating everything (both Konami dlc and the option file itself) ? Unfortunately I do. 61 of em with generic faces, all in “other”. They don’t show up in edit mode just in my ongoing ML. Goddammit. Goddammit fucking Konami. I’m not restarting AGAIN though.

  12. nG – I probably band the word PES Legend around too much. In PES 5 he was a “must-have” young goalkeeper. Not quite up there with the likes of Adriano or Park Chu Young, though. Everyone has their own legends.

    For PES 2008 I could talk to you at length about about Daniel Chavez, Halil Altintop and Jukka Raitala, and you’d probably look at me gone out.

  13. Tommy- What a goal! That is the dipping volley goal that has eluded me this year so far…
    Y. Pelle has been a legend for me this year and the last few.

    NG- The face pace of top the top flight is what drives me to keep restarting ML. I have put in a lot of hours over the last month or so and the lack second division in Italy and Spain will mean i lose out on anther 8 seasons or so of play-ability…

  14. You could play Y. Pelé as a stand-in CB, such are his stats.

  15. Tommy – I could tell you a fair bit about Altintop in PES2008 myself. Excuse 2007’s Motorola Razr goal footage.

  16. nG – That could be literally anyone, but I’ll take your word for it.

  17. Wow… 2007 really was a long time ago.
    A bit of a spoiler ahead but some news on the possible method I described a few posts ago on how to keep youth players.

    **spoiler alert**

    You can indeed sign youth players, release them after which they are free agents and then you can sign them again immediately, literally on the same day. You can decrease their wage below even their initial wage and then sign them for 3+ years. The good ones will still be expensive, but at least it’s a bit less insane with the wage demands. I get that some people like it the insane way hence the spoiler tags. I can make the story stick in my head by pretending I kick them out because of their insane wage demands after which they come back begging on their knees. Now mind you I only tried this once just now but i suspect this will work on most youth players. Of course there’s still the odd chance you’ll fail to sign the free agents youth players so it’s a risk albeit a small one.

  18. Nice tip but my youths are not worth the effort compared with the mass of free agents. Besides which I’m now sold on the idea of a settled side and keeping team spirit up. Consequently it was a very quiet, unbeaten January for me. I signed boateng to sit in that dmf, cmf, amf backup area and sold no one from my first team. 1.7m wage surplus.

  19. Tommy – Altintop was one of the heroes of my second ML career on PES2008(PS3).

    #1 – I’d never use that, preferring to follow the story. The restrictions of budget etc. are gameplay features to be navigated. I’ll use exploits if I’m in the mood, but not on the macro-level. Not judging those who do of course. We all live in separate game worlds.

    Uncle Turf – hmmm, if you’re running with a surplus like that, you can only be getting rid of players who ask for too much. Is that in keeping with the terms of our informal Trading Places-style wager? I think not… E.g. if one of your key players asks for silly money at the end of this very season, you can’t just get rid of him, keep your surplus, and claim to be the PES2019 whizkid. I think you’ve been doing that all along. I’m crying foul now.

  20. Sorry NG, your own view of the wage management business is blinkering you there – I sold giroud as mentioned (as he is all round shit) and other than that I still have the same team, although I think yaya toure came in to replace some ageing expensive cmf just after I listed it. Just to check;

    Buffon, ordi(something – rb from real m), young, corluka, Luisao, ivanovic, bartey, yaya, petrolucci (or something like that), crouch and Defoe.

    On the bench; cech, donatti, two full backs – nagamoto (?) and Pedro Lopez, leiva, boateng, wernbloom(?), the really fast cf on77 I can’t remember the name of, Valdez. (? Are because I can’t remember their exact names).

    I make 185k per month on gate receipt bonuses. So my 6 months plus giroud off the books have allowed me those trades of a weak keeper (Moyà) for cech, etc. My squad is actually bigger and better. The only two of he starting eleven not signed up to the maximum 3 years hence are Buffon (he’s on 900+k and wants 2.5m) and corluka who wants to be the highest paid cb when he’s the weakest of the three. That’s it. Easy peasey. You obviously pay too much early doors as for most of them eg. Defoe it was a matter of simply tripling 300k, no regen should ever cost more than 400k. Nobody is out of contract for at least two years. In fact I’d like to add a really top class striker if I can – crouch has a very poor turn and shoot, I’d like a lewandowski or similar. I realise that would be showboating, gilding the lily somewhat. And I will make great play of that when I do it.

  21. Uncle Turf – so what will you do when your key players go from asking £400k to £1m and above, as they will (and I won’t believe reports that they haven’t)? That’s the question. ‘They won’t do that with careful management’ doesn’t wash as this is a computer game with a hard-coded bias to do so, not a man-management sim. If you get promoted before the tidal wave breaks you might get away with it, but if you don’t, you won’t…

  22. NG – I’m a bit confused – which players? When? I signed players who are now ‘key’ from the regen free agent bucket, most of them coming for 300-400k. I have now given them all an extra year – I find not only can you not sign them beyond an initial 3 but you can’t give young players more than 1 extra without the prospect sinking to zero. So I have all my key players on 4 year deals, at 3 times starting salary – 1mish each. Buffon and corluka are the exceptions, they are on 900k and 600k respectively and 3 year deals. There isn’t a single player out of contract, key or otherwise, in the next two years. There is no tidal wave to break as I knew what would happen so the week after I bought them I got the extra year before their development pushed it higher.

    Are you suggesting I won’t get promoted inside three seasons? Pfff, that would be embarrassing…

  23. “Bad session” this morning, proving that session varience is a thing and that the game is still enjoyably difficult. My 12-game win streak was just a purple patch, and we’re back to an “even” playing field. Cpu fuckery in full effect at times. End of February and I’m top by 3 ahead of PSG.

  24. nG – Old colleague of mine has recommended the book Life 3.0. It might be right up your street.

  25. Giorza thought he could get away with asking for a salary of 1.5 million euros while he was earning 300k.. So off he went. Unlucky for him I had regen Zanetti willing to join for exactly the same salary, 1.5 million. Bye bye! Castledine is now the only default left and scored a 30 yard screamer. It’s as if he knows…

    I went back to unmodded gameplay for now and I must say Konami did a good job with the latest update. Lots more CPU error and sticking to their strategy, if a bit tame and hesitant to shoot from distance. But credit where it’s due.

    On the topic of cpu fuckery ; looks like it always intensifies toward the midseason transfer window. Anyone else notice this?

  26. Uncle Turf – nothing wrong with using your foreknowledge of the timeline to avoid early difficulty, but you’re by no means in the clear yet. Sooner or later, the man will get you.

    Chris99 – that’s the book I was reading a few months ago when I was blethering on about AI a lot. The book’s thumbnail sketch: if/when somebody somewhere does invent Strong AI, they’ll keep it quiet. By the time we hear about it (if ever), it’ll have been around for years and its effects will be very obvious in retrospect. Watch for sudden spurts of tech knowledge.

  27. Been trying to hit one of these for a while… Nailed it!

  28. I’m dancing around like the bloke in the life of Brian accused of saying jehovah shouting ‘in the clear, in the clear…’

    A week before Christmas and I don’t think I’ve ever felt less Christmassy. Feels like everyone else is quite flat about it as well.

  29. Speak for yourself Scrooge Turf!
    Very looking forward to xmas, 11 days off work, weekend away, spending time with family, lots of food and drink, whats not to be festive about!

    For any Man Utd Fans on here – Up yer Arse!!!

    new FIFAFX post up at 10am.

  30. Really Paul? I was in York on Thursday and Durham yesterday – both old cities, usually quite festive, cobbled streets, twinkly lights, etc etc and I felt nothing. Flat, hardly any indication that there was a yuletide around the corner. Seems to me like budgets for that sort of thing have been cut to vitually nothing. Fortunately I don’t live in one of those places where people create monstrosities of plastic and electricity outside their houses but there’s not the usual subtle white lights strung along the eaves, or the modestly decorated tree. Even the little turf seems distracted, not that fussed about his advent calendar and the like. Is it because the news is so bleak every night? Too much brexit? And the telly looks awful according to my Radio Times. My neighbour has gone to Tenerife till April and I’d happily join him. Complete humbug.

  31. It’s because we’re pampered and spoilt, always having enough to eat and drink, always able to do whatever we like and indulge in any leisure activity, and so it’s effectively always Christmas for us all year round. I can’t remember where I read ‘the citizens of modern western capitalist democracies are the most fortunate human beings who have ever lived’, but it’s true. The conditions that made Christmas/Yuletide/whatever meaningful (food-and-drink celebration of making it past midwinter), no longer apply.

    Uncle Turf – I am stroking my chin and saying ‘itchy beard’.

  32. I guess it varies by place etc Turf.
    Around this way, shops are absolutely rammed, streets are adorned with brightly lit houses, the council have lined the streetlights with festive lights also, it definitely feels christmassy.

    this is my view in our street when I walk home from the gym …..

    The wife has been through the TV times and highlighted a ton of programmes over the xmas period for us to record or watch, just shows how different peoples experiences vary.

    As a family though we have all agreed to curb the gifting this year, it usually takes us all around 3 hours on xmas morning to open all our presents, it was getting ridiculous, so have all agreed to just get each other a few nice gifts and focus more on family time and days out etc.

  33. Dear God, I can only thank the fates of life, employment and geography that I live nowhere near that, do you have a local problem with epileptic vandals you want to keep away from your properties? A well placed single row of white fairy lights adds a nice winter theme, that looks like the scene of a traffic accident.

    And there is nothing original at all worth watching on the t.v. Nothing you can point to beyond the odd repeat of an easily available bond film or thereabouts.

  34. not quite how I imagined your crib Paul, but very jolly nonetheless

  35. You managed to stick in with the game Abbeyhill?

    I’m 3rd after 28 games, it’s a far too long season in the championship, especially as I’m being rubber banded with all around me. If I don’t go up in 18 games time (about Friday I reckon) then I’ll be having a break over Christmas, games are just too samey in this state.

  36. Turf/Abbeyhill – That’s not my house, just one of the streets nearby that I walk along on my shortcut from the gym to home. Its like national Lampoon’s house from the movie, gaudy but fun nonetheless, they actually have a little collection bucket outside and all donations every year go to the local end of life hospice, so all for a good cause.

  37. Turf – yes still banging my head against the brick wall of challenge mode, being sacked every week or so and coming back with new tactics and signings to try. Sounds madness but I am having a great time. In the current attempt with Beziers I’ve got a superb loan partnership of Andy Carroll and Moussa Marega up top which has got me to a decent mid table position so far, although annoyingly the chairman’s goal is promotion rather than 9th place

  38. Although I’m having and enjoying a different kind of grind in the Premier, I miss the grind of the Championship. I don’t miss the long, long seasons though. 38 matches seems short by comparison.

  39. Seemingly Jose was on challenge mode too… he might have made 9th though.

    I’m looking to spend 1.5m on Andy Carroll a mere weeks after missing out on him in the free list. Farcical really but he’s my Crouch sub when the big fella is misfiring.

  40. Uncle Turf – I find the heading game so hit and miss in PES2019 that the big men are only great when they’re the big powerful kind who can receive the ball to feet and turn away from a defender, with added value if they’ve then got a yard or two of pace. Crouch is still knocking around in my ML world but I don’t see him being able to do that PES2012-style move.

  41. Surprising how much difference those 8 games less in the premier league make isn’t it, for me a session is on average around 4 games, so that would be 2 sessions, or 2 days worth of play, play just 4 seasons and that’s a week of your life.

  42. yes I just get the big men up front for their strength on the ball rather than heading ability. Marega in particular seems to have everything – strength, pace, cracking shot and positional awareness

  43. Agree – Crouch does not have the impact of a 2012 Sibon type, and having had big fellas up front I don’t believe the game allows for that kind of height/muscle advantage in the air. I am as likely to win the ball from a cross with a medium player as a beanpole.

    In fact Crouch has little going for him by way of previous Crouches (Crouchii?) yet he has something as his goal record is solid. Playing Oliveira and Defoe just doesn’t work as well, probably because of the huge number of knock ons he can win in midfield – an ability that mysteriously vanishes in the box.

  44. Any excuse to post my Goal of PES2015:

    If PES2019’s version is that Peter Crouch, I need to know.

  45. And of course:

  46. PES 15 looks better than PES 19, except the shoddy no editing kits

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