Month: April 2019

Final week of the PES2019 season

My last season of PES2019 Master League moves into its final third.

I’ve now played 27 league matches. There are 11 league matches remaining. I’m in the Champions League Quarter Finals.

Assuming I get all the way to the CL final (a big ask on current form, as will be seen), that means there are a maximum of 16 (SIXTEEN) matches remaining in my PES2019 career as a whole.

By this time next week it will all be done and dusted.

The current table:17 points behind the leaders, with 11 matches left. Not even the most generous Master League table scripting will bring me the title now. Maybe if I won literally every single match of the remaining 11, there might be a chance. Even if that were possible for me (and it’s not), PES has never ‘allowed’ such unlikely runs anyway.

I felt the last shades of the title slipping away from me in the very first match of my most recent session. Man Utd are unpredictable in PES2019. They’re either annoyingly troublesome, or disturbingly easy to brush aside. (Punchline not required.)

I had 20 shots, 11 of them on-target, in a game I absolutely dominated. I have had 4-0 wins that were not as comfortable as this match was. Man Utd had 3 shots, 1 on target. The final result? 0-0.I must admit, I was sorely tempted to replay this match. I’m always tempted at least once every year, and this was the match I was tempted by in PES2019. It seemed so outrageous that I could have so many clearcut chances but either hit the post/bar (three times) or see the keepers pull off miracle saves – or see my uber-strikers mysteriously drag shots wide for no reason.

I’d finished the previous session with 4 straight wins. The scripting fairy really came to town for this one. Oh yes, I bet I could have won it at least once, if I’d replayed the fixture several times. Maybe I’d have won it on the very next attempt, who knows.

Either way it’s a moot issue as I only ever move forward with my Master League progression. I never stay in place to fool around with settings/patches/versions/whatever. I never go backward,. So I had to take the monstrously unfair outcome to this match and move on.

A couple of matches later I met one of the other teams around me at the top of the table, Man City, and there were no complaints about this result. I was well beaten at home, 1-4, a particularly bad result given that I had scored first.And so to next week. I’ve a busy weekend coming up, so Monday will be when I resume the struggle, and it’s likely that I will finish PES2019 midweek. Tuesday’s post will be a scene-setter for next Friday’s finale.

I’m also saving up my notable goals from this second half of the final season, for a farewell highlights reel next week. I’ve scored a few nice goals of al varieties and it should be good.

Rice and Ruin

One of the many unwritten stories of this Master League has been that of one J Rice, Esq. The Forgotten Default is still in my squad, but rarely gets a game. He’s in serious decline now and not much use, a 65 OPR player in a team with a vastly higher average ability across the board.

The only time Rice makes an appearance is when there’s absolutely no choice. A recent run of fatigue and suspensions led to him featuring in two matches in a row, where he acquitted himself well, which seemed to prompt the game to give him the award as seen above. The usual squad-based buffs are the positive side-effects, but he’s by no means a key player. It’s simply never been worth getting rid of him.

This is almost certainly my last season. I am 99.99% sure. I simply have no appetite for another season after this one.

I sailed through my Champions League group, and am into the knockout stages. This tournament is my best chance of a trophy, as the domestic league may have slipped away already.

Some poor results have left me 15 points off the lead with 19 matches played. With another 19 matches remaining, I can’t afford too many more defeats.I went crazy in one of the defeats and got two players sent off, Robben and Giorza. The latter’s was a straight red for a professional foul. At least Robben’s was only a two-yellow-cards jobby, and I’ll only be missing him for one match.

It was my first experience of playing PES2019 with nine men, and I nearly got myself back into it, but, uh, I didn’t. It was one of a run of three straight defeats that really set me back in the title race by a long way.

The table:That really is one hell of a gap between where I am and where I would like to be. It might even be an insurmountable gap, even with Master League table scripting.

Still, I have another 19 matches in which to close that gap, and Master League’s famed kindness might – might – come into play. Experience so far shows me that the PES2019 flavour of table scripting will open the door, but I’ll then have to fight my way through that door by getting results when it really matters. PES2019 on Superstar, for me, can be a bugger to get a result from when it really matters.

A goal replay to finish with, from Forlan. It’s a fine example of a low, placed, long-range shot – yet another one for the PES2019 Forlan scrapbook.

What I like about this goal isn’t so much the goal itself, as the way the AI keeper remains spreadeagled face-down on the pitch, in acknowledgment of his failure to save a shot he should really have had covered. ‘My bad, lads’ he is saying here, in universal GK-speak:

Robben Hood

So my current feeling is that this is certainly my last season on PES2019. The Charity Shield win at the start of this season technically satisfies my declared wish for a trophy before quitting the game. It was almost as if a friendly spirit was saying ‘will this do?’ I think it might, you know. I think it might.

What has kept me going through all these seasons has mainly been the affinity factor. Getting to know my crop of players in PES2019 has been one of the most rewarding Master League experiences of my PES-playing life. The way Gomez dominated the early seasons. Then the way Forlan eclipsed Gomez and become one of the greatest strikers I’ve ever played with in any Master League. Forlan of PES2019 has long since surpassed Forlan of PES2012. (Nobody will ever exceed Bergkamp of PES5, for the record.)

But there’s also Robben, a player who can be anonymous for a few matches but then have one match where he dominates and is decisive. And of course Castledine, a wonderful all-round AMF and the best incarnation of Master League’s eternal Cas-man since the original Castello. There’s Fazio, a big stopper so strong and dependable that when he’s out for whatever reason, I notice he’s out. Remember Lincoln from the early seasons? I only moved him on because I was trying to wrest control of the finances. I wish I’d kept him now. This has been a great Master League for the individuals, the best such, overall, since PES2015.

Season 13 will almost certainly be the last one now whatever happens, as I do feel fatigued with the game as a whole. Tending to my squad and seeing the players through matches isn’t enough on its own to keep me going here.

Knowing it’s the last one (almost certainly) gives the passage of time an extra frisson. I believe I will be thereabouts for the league again this season. Looks like Spurs are this year’s runaway leaders who need to be caught up with:I’m reasonably happy with my defensive record so far this season, My goal-scoring needs to pick up if I’m to storm up the table in classic Master League style.

The Team of the Month for November told the story of the league so far in miniature:Those players from the lesser and newly promoted clubs – Leeds, Cardiff, Huddersfield et al – show just how tough the matches are against them. I was beaten quite badly by Leeds and Huddersfield, and I struggled to a scrappy win against Cardiff. Three of the hardest matches I’ll play in all of this footy game year.

Time being at a premium again for the next week or so, this final season might take a while to play out. I’m estimating Easter will see the culmination of PES2019.

Shield’s up!

Season 13 has started with a trophy win.

The Community Shield, to be precise. (The Charity Shield, as I still call it in my heart.)

It was a major surprise to me that I was even in the frame for the Shield. I got nowhere near the FA Cup Final last season, and in the league I finished 2nd to Arsenal – who must have done the Double, of course. So I got the other berth in the (quote-unquote) ‘traditional curtain-raiser to the domestic English season’. Is that how it’s always worked, in real life as well as PES?

Whatever, it was a match with a trophy at the end of it, very unexpected and very welcome after 12 seasons of trophy drought. I set about my task of finally winning one with a lot of focus. Forlan scored a hat-trick and I ended up winning 4-1. Get in!Won Super Cup, eh? Whatever, Konami, whatever. I was just delighted to finally get to see my players sitting around an empty space where there is clearly meant to be a cup of some sort, but there mysteriously isn’t one, despite it being well within any footy game-making company’s remit to make one up for the occasion. But this is Konami and things have to be weird.I just can’t envisage any team of players adopting a pose like that without a trophy of some sort around which to gather.

Does winning this invisible trophy satisfy my criterion for being able finally to quit PES2019? It might, you know. I’ll see how I feel at the end of the season, if I haven’t won anything else.

Last season’s exploits have got my team into the top 30 of teams worldwide.Not bad at all. It’s to PES2019’s credit that in past nuPES games, I was easily at number 1 or thereabouts after not too many seasons at all. Here I am, in Season 13 of this one, still painfully inching my way up the ladder.

The new season is going well so far. I really have got to win one of the two trophies on offer this season. I’m saying two (2) instead of three (3), because I’m already out of the FA Cup. Beaten 2-0 by D2’s Bolton Wanderers in what might be the toughest single match I’ll play all season.

So it’s just the League and the Champions League to go for.

The early pace-setters were Tottenham. I met them in a huge 6-pointer at their place, and I won it 2-1. Here is their current First XI and squad in year 2030-31, for anyone interested:That’s a decent midfield, but they’re interestingly lightweight elsewhere, particularly on the bench. I think this demonstrates a sad truth about recent PES. Stats don’t count for as much as they used to.Those 4 draws were all irritating matches I should have won, but felt the game holding me back by the coattails. One was against Man City. I was in the lead twice, but was twice pegged back by the kinds of goals that make you curse out loud.

Finally a brief montage of 3 highlights:

  1. The moment the final whistle went in the Community Shield final, and my in-game avatar David Pleated onto the pitch
  2. A lovely first-time strike by that star man, Forlan, in the opening game of the season. I love the pass from Castledine. My club captain, Castledine has been bloody fantastic for me in this ML. At 32 he is now in decline. This might be his last meaningful season no matter what happens with me.
  3. And finally a lovely own-goal from a Spurs defender that got me level when I was 1-0 down, and set me on the road to taking all 3 points in the match. Never seen an AI own-goal as gracefully headed in as this one.