It’s another rollover

Oh dear. I’ve finished season 2014 and it all went pretty badly wrong in the closing stages. This was supposed to be the season where I either won the Treble, or at least ended up with something to show for my efforts.

But I got knocked out of the Champions League at the pre-qualifying group stage and crashed out of the D1 Cup. I was doing okay in the League, snapping at Valencia’s heels. I was confident I could win the title at least this season. And I was doing great in the WEFA Masters Cup—the Euro consolation prize—where I met Marseille in the semi-final. I was regularly playing and beating Barca and Real Madrid in the league. So Marseille in Europe should be no trouble, right? Right?

First of all I was intrigued to see the formation that the CPU was using: a weird variant on the 4-3-3, a kind of 4-2-1-3 that I don’t recall seeing the CPU use before. Those two CMFs look to be too close together. The sole AMF will have his work cut out. The burden on the three forwards (two SS and a CF) is proportionally greater than in my (relatively) more sedate 4-3-3 formation.

I thought I was going to exploit Marseille’s strange formation to the full after a first leg at their ground that finished 1-2 to me. A win, and two away goals: I couldn’t help but regard the tie as effectively over. The second leg would have to be an utter disaster for me to go out now. The final here I come…

But no. Marseille turned me over 1-3 at my place, winning the semi-final 3-4 on aggregate. It was pretty pathetic. I have no idea what went wrong, really. I just seemed to be overwhelmed by frantic, fast, lethal, attacking CPU play, and none of my many raids forward came to anything.

Disappointed (this is now my eighth season without any kind of Cup win), I turned my attention back to the league. With four games to go I was a point behind Valencia, who I played next.

It was a tough, tough game. Both sides had chances. The very best chances fell to me, but it was one of those games where the woodwork and a super-goalie conspired to shut me out. 0-0 it finished, then, without any change at the top of the table. I had to win all my remaining games and hope Valencia slipped up. I was sure Valencia would at least draw one of their remaining games. My goal difference was superior. All I had to do was win all three games, and I could still do it.

I won my next game, then played Real Madrid. As I’ve mentioned once or twice, I’ve had a pretty good time against them in this division. Imagine my extreme chagrin, then, to go 0-1 down straight from their kickoff. I equalised. Real scored again. I equalised again. Real scored again. That’s how it went, all the way to the final whistle, with the final score 4-4.

Did I not like that. Not only was it an utterly stupid old-FIFA-style scoreline of the kind that I always hate to see in PES (thankfully not so much in the PSP/PS2 version of PES2008), but it let Valencia grab a three-point lead going into the final fixture. I now had to win and hope Valencia lost.

I didn’t win my last game. I lost it, pretty dismally—Osasuna beat me 2-1. I was trying too hard. But in the end it wouldn’t have mattered, as Valencia won their last game and took the Division 1 Championship by a whopping 6 points—the biggest gap there’s been between 1st and 2nd all season. I was, and am, displeased with myself.

So I end season 2014 completely empty-handed. It’s getting annoying. The only thing I’ve won in PES2008 so far (on PSP/PS2) is the Division 2 title, way back when. Nothing else. At least it means I still have everything left to play for. The hunger is still there, spurring me on. Roll on season 2015. Finishing second this season means I’ll go straight into the full WEFA Championship tournament—none of that pesky pre-qualifying nonsense. I’ll have a normal start to the season with just one game per week. As ever the Treble is the target and this time I think I’m really going to do it.

12 Comments

  1. Unlucky there greg. But as you say at least you have the consolation (all be it a small one) of not having to pre-qualify for WEFA next season.

    After experiencing a poor start to my life in D1 (I came from nowhere to go up in 2nd at the end of the last season, the only time I sat in the top 2 all season was after the final match) I discovered that with my current crop of players I have sensational attacking prospects but no defence and midfield to get the ball up there.

    So I threw my favored 3-4-3 formation to the curb at least until i get some better players in vital positions and turned to your 4-3-3 and found it to be quite effective. I’ve only played one game with it but I seemed to be creating a lot more. I won the game 2-1 against Villa thanks to scoring twice in the last 3 minutes of the game and I think i’ll stick with this formation as it seems like it could do the job until i get the players I want to make my 3-4-3 work.

  2. 4-2-1-3 is the formation I like best. Though I use a DMF and a CMF behind the AMF, and the forwards are two wingers and a CF. It works great if you have the right players.

  3. Its progress at least!

    Not having to qualify is massive.

    Next season theres no excuses! 😉

  4. stinger – good to hear you’re still playing and enjoying your ‘homecoming career’ on the PS2 version.

    Paww & stinger – you’re right, not having to qualify next season will be massive for me. I don’t know what it is but whenever I’ve ever had to go through the slog of all those games in the first weeks of a season, it makes the season just feel weird to me, and I never seem to do very well in them. I think it’s more than just the fatigue it causes in my squad. I think it unbalances something in the heart of the game. Tough to describe. I’ll come back to this topic if/when I have to go through it again.

    Adriano – Well, the 4-2-1-3 certainly worked for Marseille. They were all over me. On the subject of other formations, I have used a different one in the past. In PES4 I was so successful with my usual 4-3-3 (I thought PES4 was the easiest PES ever – until you-know-what came along, of course…) that towards the end of the PES year I restarted Master League using a 4-2-2-2 formation, and did very well. Peculiarly, the only formation I have never really had any joy from in all the years, is the most common one in football – 4-4-2.

  5. I find 4-4-2 amazing for coupling too great forwards and playing one-twos. I play 4-4-2 in alternative ML with Schwarz and Ben Sahar upfront. It gets really enjoyable after a few seasons when their teamwork stats get good enough. It’s not exactly 4-4-2, it’s more like a 4-1-3-2, since the DMF is way behind protecting the defense, while the SMFs and the AMF are in line behind the two forwards. It’s a great scheme to alternate with 4-3-3 when you don’t have a CF strong enough to break through entire defenses alone (you know who I’m talking about).

  6. I dominate possion with 4-4-2 but I can’t seem to break through in the final third to get enough goals. Draws are far too common for me with that formation.

    4-3-3 just suits me with bombing down the wings and floating balls in to my CF. 🙂

  7. Paww, if you position your SMF’s in the limite between midfield and attack and set their arrows forward and diagonally toward the goal, they’ll act a bit like wingers, but go back to defend more, and you’ll still have the two CF’s to feed high or low balls to. You can also set one of the forwards as a CF positioned as far as possible inside the opposition’s half and the other forward as an SS. That way you can pull the defenders out with one player while the other waits for a gap. I especially like to start a one-two with the two forwards and lob a through ball to the SMF coming behind the SB while the defenders chase the strikers.

  8. I have also found 4-4-2 a little bit ineffective in the past no matter how I use it. For whatever reason I just can’t seem to play and score with a formation that doesn’t use 3 strikers (Usually a CF, a SS and a RWF). It just feels like you have less options up front.

    At the same time I like to have a strong Midfield, hence me favoring the 3-4-3, only problem being it requires really good defenders and a brilliant DMF to use effectively

  9. Am I the only one who plays all three front players in a 4-3-3 as CFs? I do this regardless of whether the players’ primary positions are SS or WF or whatever. I know it’s wrong, but it feels so right…

    Whenever Giggs plays up front on the left for me, he plays as a CF. I don’t think CF is even one of his alternate positions.

  10. My 3 strikers often don’t play in the positions they are technically classed as being in. I really don’t think there is a major difference whether the position is listed as CF, WF or SS. My RWF is technically another CF and I usually have a player who has their position listed as CF there, same goes for the SS.

  11. stinger – I think I remember many PESes ago a discussion on PESfan about whether there was a penalty for playing players out of position (i.e. in a role not on their list of alternates), and the consensus was that there must be a penalty, otherwise there’d be no point in having positions. Personally I don’t think there is a penalty, or if there is then it’s so slight that it makes no difference anyway.

  12. I think there might be a penalty, but it’s only noticeable when you play, for example, a defender upfront or an attacker in defense. It’s probably all due to the attack and defense stats and a couple of others. Not to mention the abilities starts like d-line, marking, sliding etc.

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