Category: Kim Cyun Hi

You can’t win anything with kids

After a decent start to my first Division 1 season—not great, but not bad either—I’ve been braced for disaster to strike. And it has struck. Kind of. I’ve gone on a streak of losing and drawing that’s seen me fall from the relative security of mid-table to fourth from bottom.

There’s no cause for any real alarm just yet. Okay, so I’ve slipped down the league and the table at the moment isn’t particularly good viewing. But I’ve still got 15 games left in which to turn things around. I should do that easily. However, the very sight of the league table is having a psychological effect on how I play PES2009.

It’s all about perception and confidence. I look at the table and see my team down there near the bottom and I just want to get away. So when it comes to the next game I tense up. I tighten up. I play too conservatively. Or I go to the other extreme and play too lackadaisically.

The effect of this consistent inconsistency leads to more defeats, and to more draws that should have been wins. Which leads to more tightening up and carelessness… Real-life football teams at the foot of real-life league tables probably undergo the same kind of viciously spiralling cycle of defeatism.

I think I’m reaping the consequences of favouring Youth over Experience. There’s no harm, as such, in operating a Youth policy. Master League actively encourages it with its endless parade of mouth-watering Regens on offer.

But it’s always wise to combine a Youth policy with enough Experience to carry you through tough times. You need to score bread-and-butter goals, and pick up the bread-and-butter points that they bring. A youthful line-up might do the business occasionally, but not often enough.

In recent negotiation periods I should have exerted myself some more to get a good, solid, late-twenties/early-thirties striker, preferably a target man type. Somebody like Vieri or Schwarz. At the moment I’m playing Kim Cyun Hi in the middle of my front 3. He just isn’t cut out to lead the line at the age of 20, and being about three feet tall. I’m going to move Kim out wide (his best position anyway) and bring in my only experienced striker, Mai Jungi, a true journeyman footballer. Hopefully I can scramble some points together before I end up in a proper relegation battle.

Some Goals Are Bigger Than Others

I have failed to win promotion from Division 2 in my fourth Master League season on PES2009. FAILED. A big theme of the past week or two has been how strange, in lots of ways, I’m finding this year’s Master League. It’s simply not following the usual script. As everybody knows who has ever played the mode to any extent, there usually comes a ‘tipping point’, and it usually comes after just a season or two—maybe three at the most. Not after four seasons. Or five

After the tipping point comes, you’re supposed to streak to promotion. Then after maybe a season of holding steady in the top division, you streak to the title, and thence to the Cup, and the European Cup, and the fabled Treble… And after six seasons or ten seasons or whatever your own personal ‘magic number’ is, you have a stellar squad that can almost win games on their own. (Occasional puzzling defeats still come along, but that’s just PES being dodgy with you.)

When things get to that point, you can be considered to have ‘completed’ your Master League career. The only real reason to play on now is out of curiosity, or because you enjoy the challenge of repeating your feats season in, season out. Most people restart, play another career, see if they can do it all differently, with or without the addition of House Rules.

Me, I like to go on, indefinitely. Some PESes are different. PES5 I found consistently tough, only winning three Trebles in about 40 consecutive seasons in the one career. That unforgettable year on PES5 will always be my yardstick to judge ML by, for better or worse. It’s still early days for PES2009 (yes I’m still saying that), but if these first four seasons are anything to go by, the longevity of ML this year could be close to PES5 proportions.

And here’s one reason why—this season’s final league table, where after such a good start I finished fourth from bottom:

So I’ll be spending season 5 still in the bottom division. Season FIVE. This is getting scary (but I like it…).

And I was doing so well. My last two posts showed great progress compared to last season’s pitiful effort. Yesterday I was sitting pretty in 5th place after 14 games, just three points from a promotion spot. What the hell happened?

I just collapsed in the final third of the season. I lost plenty, drew a few, and only won a handful more games. My slide down the table was relentless. I’m struggling to pinpoint an exact reason. I was never scoring loads of goals this season, but at least I was shutting out the CPU up the other end. I stopped doing that—and started conceding silly goals.

It’d be easy to blame the influx of three new young players. It’d be easy to say they diluted my Teamwork stat. The truth is that before they arrived, back when I only had 17 players to choose from, I concentrated better, took fewer risks, played more methodically, more slowly. As soon as I had the comparative luxury of a squad of 20 to choose from, I lost my focus. I started thinking I had an automatic right to possession, and that every attack should result in a goal-scoring chance. Wrong on both counts, especially in PES2009.

So much for season 2011-2012. I really, really thought this was the season for promotion. It hurts, actually. All I can do is lick my wounds and move onto the next season.

There was one very bright moment in the last stages of the season. A goal that literally made me shout out loud. It was one of those special PES moments, really. It was all the sweeter for being scored with my new young player, Kim Cyun Hi, who’s showing some precocious talent even this early.

Kim was playing wide on the right in this game. The ball breaks for him, and I decided to take a first-time shot, from an angle, out near the corner of the penalty box. The ball flew absolutely ruler-straight into the far top corner, across the keeper. It was the first goal of its kind I’ve scored on PES2009 (the Gambino one from the other day was more central, and the ball moved a bit in the air, dipping at the end; this Kim Cyun Hi goal just flew).

Okay, it does superficially look like ‘just another long-range PES goal’. The poor quality of the mobile phone clip doesn’t do it any favours either. But this is PES2009, a game with arguably the hardest long-range shooting mechanic of any PES game. Goals like this are pretty hard to come by. Even if PES2009 does ‘do a PES2008’ and become too easy in the long run, and I start scoring goals like this for fun, I’ll still remember this particular goal, and my exultant yell at the moment of scoring it, for a very long time to come.

The man who would be Kim

Pro Evolution Soccer has certain traditions. Certain things that seem to be the same year upon year, whatever other changes are made. Rituals that never alter. Master League comes equipped with a whole host of them, some positive, some negative, some neutral. One of my ‘favourites’ is the mysterious dip in form that follows your first run of wins in Master League.

Master League seems at its most unfair to me when I’ve just started getting a team together, and just started doing well. That first run of good form has only just come in this season—which is season 4! It’s completely unheard-of even for me, an average player at best. It’s never been this late before.

Finding some form and consistency is one thing; keeping it is another. When form arrives, there’s always one game that comes along quite quickly, against God-knows-who, that I just can’t seem to do anything about. Sometimes there’s a cluster of such games.

I had a few of them in the run-up to the mid-season negotations. Going 1-0 up, only to get pegged back to 1-1. Or riding out a CPU storm to cling on like grim death to a 0-0, only to have a heartbreaker of a flukey goal scored against me.

My ‘favourite’ ones of these are when my keeper parries the ball onto some part of a defender’s body, and it goes into the net. I’ve scored a few of these at the other end, so the mechanic works for as well as against me. But I’d almost rather not score any of them than have just one scored against me in a big game. I know, I know. They happen in football. They’re ‘realistic’. I know.

This season I’ve played with a squad of 17. It has been tough. The Division 2 schedule is often kind to you, with numerous rest weeks, but at other times the strain on a small squad can be savage. Playing some games with seven or eight blatantly unfit players has been… interesting. At least it’s taught me that you can pick half-fit players and they will do a good job for you—for 60 minutes. Perhaps this tiredness—a chronic lack of stamina, from game to game—has contributed to the defensive confusions at times.

You can’t beat having a good, large squad with plenty of fit players to choose from. I think I’m going to make it to the end of this season with plenty of money in the bank. If my overall form keeps up there won’t be any danger of a Game Over. In fact I should have enough spare cash to pay for a larger squad. So I went shopping in the mid-season negotiation weeks. I decided to play it safe and just get three new players. Enough to spread the burden.

I found an old friend in KIM CYUN HI. (And I’m annoyed that I already used The Return of the Kim as a post title back in July.) I hope he’s at least as good as I found him to be in the PS2/PSP version of PES2008. Others raved about him, but I ‘only’ found him to be very good even after several seasons’ development. I’d settle for ‘very good’ in PES2009.

I also picked up KOEMAN and CEM, two SMFs who can play in a wide variety of positions. CEM alone can play in about five positions, including CB and SB, usefully. I’ve got high hopes for these two as well. All three new signings are Youth players, 17 or 18 years old.

Despite the maddening late CPU heartbreakers, I’m doing well in the League, a lot better than in the last three seasons: Here’s a snapshot of the table after 14 games:

But for a couple of those timely late CPU goals I’d be in the promotion positions right now, maybe even top. I’m not happy about my goals-scored tally. 8 goals in 14 games is pathetic, really. But I’ve got to be happy, overall, with my goals-against. Good defending is why I’m in the position I’m in, 3 points off a promotion place just after mid-season.

The Return of the Kim

My opponents in the quarter-final of the European Cup were Barcelona. In between the two legs of that tie, I played a crunch league game against Real Madrid. In most Master Leagues these three games taken together would have been among the hardest that I could ever (not) wish to have. But in this Master League, the fates have decreed that both Barca and Real are fairly average teams by the usual standards. They’re both still pretty good, but they’re nowhere near being the uber-opponents that they should be. It’s just the way things have gone.

At times I regret setting up this Master League in such haste back on March 1st. I do kind of wish I’d taken more time and at least included the English teams in a custom super-hard league. As much as I love my faux-Spanish league setup, I do miss playing against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United. It would have been nice to at least have the possibility of meeting them in European competition. Back in March, I was pretty tired of the English teams after incessantly playing them (and effortlessly dribbling around them) on the version-that-must-not-be-named of PES2008. When I cracked open my PSP copy and set up an all-new Master League, I fancied a change.

Before the first leg of the European game against Barcelona, I implemented a change to my First XI that’s been in the wind for some time. Since I dropped the promising Kim Cyun Hi from my starting line-up a season or two ago, he’s been superb when filling in for Giggs up front on the left. This is despite Kim’s natural footedness being very much on the right.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that players can be as good (or even better) on their ‘wrong’ side in PES. Back in PES5, I played Bergkamp on his ‘wrong’ side, with staggering results. Kim Cyun Hi may be the same kind of player who’ll truly flourish for me on the ‘wrong’ side of the pitch. He was only ever competent for me in the middle and over on the right, not brilliant. I’m hoping he can be brilliant now he’s back in the regular first team.

All of which means that a place must be found for the mesmeric Giggs. In amongst all my good players, I only have about four or five gold-plated, undeniably brilliant players—Giggs is one of them. I decided to switch him back to the left-sided AMF role. He’s slightly more of a natural midfielder than he is a WF or CF. And he’s a better AMF than Burdner, who has been curiously anonymous for me so far. In PES6, Burdner was a star midfielder for me. Not so here. Not yet.

I’ve decided to stick with my 4-3-3, despite being strongly persuaded that an alternative formation might serve me better. The arguments for a 4-1-4-1, or a 4-2-4—or even my own demented brainchild, a 3-3-4—are variously compelling. But what can I say? I play PES every day, with hypnotic fervour, for a reason—it gives me more or less the same experience, day in, day out. I’m like a child who has to be told the same story in the same way, word for word, every day. Any departure is a cause for distress.

4-3-3 is an intrinsic part of my PES experience. I don’t know if I could stomach switching my main starting formation from my beloved, and familiar, 4-3-3. But never say never. The most I could do is to design an alternate formation and map it to a strategy button, and use it on the fly at selected moments in-game. I might do that in the off-season, when things are a mite less hectic.

——-

I won both legs of the Euro Cup tie against Barcelona 2-0 and it was pretty easy. I was barely challenged at all, which is actually quite rare for the latter stages of the Cups, I’ve found—even against an ‘average’ Barcelona. Or have I finally ‘aced’ PES2008, and will this be the norm for me from now on? I hope not. I still get enough awkward moments every season for me to know that the game still has a few nasty tricks up its virtual sleeve. Admittedly these tricks now can only come in the form of God Mode, a.k.a. good old scripting.

So that was me through to the semi-final of the European Cup. In the league game that formed the meat in the sandwich, I absolutely thumped Real Madrid 4-0.

Real Madrid are a mid-table team this year, and it shows. Their one bright spark is the almost peerless Kaiser, who usually torments me all game, but on this occasion he wasn’t playing.

So now I’m 13 points clear with 7 league games to go. Feasibly, I could have the title wrapped up with 4 games to go. I’d like that.

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