And so I begin season 2019 in my continuing Master League career on PES2008—the very good PS2/PSP version of PES2008. Not the other version that must not be named…

It felt great to start the season after I had a welcome little break of a few days. I just had to play Metal Gear Solid 4 all the way to the end. As a long-term Metal Gear fan, I found it a truly epic and unforgettable experience, although I can’t imagine what anyone coming to Metal Gear for the first time would make of it all. For me the last section—Act 5—dipped in gameplay quality after a superb beginning and middle, but the whole was still an unmissable, fitting finale to the Solid Snake era. As I’ve opined previously, MGS4 is a fine example of what Konami as a publisher can produce when it allows developers the personnel, resources, and time needed to deliver the goods. We can only hope that PES2009 is currently receiving the same kind of loving attention that obviously went into every single aspect of MGS4.


My theme for season 2019 is: keep it tight at the back. I’ve spent too many seasons conceding too many goals. It’s no wonder I’ve hardly won anything compared to similar stages in previous PES years. There’s no doubt in my mind that even this ‘classic’ PES2008 is easier than it was in previous years. It’s easier to create chances and it’s easier to score than ever—particularly from long range (see below). But it also seems a lot easier to concede goals. I don’t seem to be able to stop the CPU getting a goal when it really, really wants one. But then there’ll be other times when I do seem able to stop the CPU even when it’s in full-on God Mode, so I don’t know.

What I plan for this season is to shut up shop at the back. I want to make defence my first priority in every game. Last season I conceded 24 league goals. This season I’d like to concede less than 20 league goals. I’m not too bothered about how many goals I concede in the Cup matches as long as I win them.

So I’ve got 3 main aims for the season, which I’ll list here, for posterity. No doubt it’ll be amusing to look back on them as each one is FAILed…

  • Win a Treble of League, Cup, and European Cup
  • Remain unbeaten in the League all season
  • Concede <20 League goals all season

Yes, I’m setting myself up for a mighty fall, laying it all out in the open. But I think it helps to have definite aims for each season as time goes by. It helps to keep things alive and ticking over.

My first actual game of the season was against an old ‘friend’, Espanyol. I played with caution at the start, keeping in mind my aim of conceding fewer goals. The result was a 4-1 half-time lead that turned into 8-1 before 70 minutes were on the clock. There’s nothing like starting the season at a gallop.

Naturally I wanted to get to the almost mythical 10 goals mark, but it wasn’t to be. The CPU defence closed around me like a vice whenever I advanced on their goal. And they’d managed to get themselves a consolation goal into the bargain—something I was mightily unhappy about, because it felt very much like one of those goals that just cannot be prevented. Never mind. It was only 1 goal.

I’ve always loved scoring long-range goals in PES. In the rout of Espanyol I scored what is my longest-range goal yet. Just over a month ago I posted a goal that I scored with Bradley from level with the outer edge of the centre circle. This one below, from Prieto this time, was about a yard further back. See how the ball flies…

These kinds of mega-long-range goals are pretty common in PES2008. A bit too common for my liking. I’m not saying that I’ve stopped enjoying scoring them. I’d just prefer it if they were a bit harder to pull off. One of the many things that I would like to see in PES2009 is an altered shooting mechanic that returns these goals to being the rarity they were until PES4. I wouldn’t even mind if they were made impossible for any but a select handful of players to score, and then only once in a blue moon.

After Espanyol, my second game of the season was against Valenciennes. I won it 6-1, another great performance that was again only slightly spoiled by conceding another ‘auto-goal’ to the CPU near the end.

These two results left me top of the league, of course. Already I’ve got the kind of goal difference that’s worth an extra point in its own right. It’s early days yet, but I don’t foresee much trouble retaining my league title this season at the very least.


  1. I think this auto goal is something that is just there in 2008. I don’t think it’s avoidable for most matches. I wonder if Adriano can keep clean sheets all the time as well as scoring tons of goals?

    I envy your league status anyway. I am in 14th place with Spain in my international league. England have beaten me 6-1 and 4-0 in the cup. They are so overrated in this PES, it’s a joke.. The formation works but I need to score about 4 goals to win a match, defending is nigh on impossible at times. If the CPU wants too, it can run through my entire defence at will. Also in the PSP (tell me if you feel the same) the CPU seems to convert over 90% of it’s chances! They always have 7 or so shots on target and 6 goals scored. It’s ridiculous!

  2. I score one from just a little closer than that with Camacho the other day. I agree they are too easy to pull off this year.

    I don’t worry too much about keeping clean sheets, but I very rarily concede more than one goal in a match. My goals conceded at the end of each season are usually well under 20. Nothing extraodinary, I suppose. I focus more on scoring over 100 goals per league season.

  3. Not Given – I spend most of my PES2008 time in the PSP at the moment and I kind of agree that the CPU, if it gets a chance, will put the chance away. The challenge for me is stopping them getting that chance. But I often feel that stopping them is impossible. I have never, ever felt that way before on any PES. IN PES2008 there’s a certain level of pressure the CPU can put you under which has always felt fishy to me. The ball automatically going back to their players and that kind of thing. I don’t think there are any PES players left who’ll deny that, yes, often the CPU really is out to get you.

    Adriano – I’m scoring mega-long-rangers roughly six times a season. I only ever talk about the extreme ones from near the halfway line. They are much, much too common now.

    Conceding less than 20 goals per season is pretty good IMO. The best form of defence is attack!

  4. I think I just came up with a formation you might like. It might seem way too attacking-minded, but it’s quite balanced actually.

    It’s a 4-2-4 with 1 DMF, 1 AMF, 2 CFs and 2 SSs. It’s pretty much like a 4-4-2, only the SMFs are moved forward to the attack about level with the CFs, but they’re defensive status is set to high, so they’ll track back to help in defense, but will also make runs behind the SBs, and be available more frequently than WFs for 1-2s and in high ball situations.

    The DMF and the AMF are smack in the center of the field, but one is in front of the defense, and the other is right behind the forwards. The AMF’s defensive level is set to normal, and the CFs’ is set to low.

    You should try this, at least in a friendly to see how it differs from a 4-3-3. The opposition’s defenders go crazy sometimes, especially because they’re one on one with the 4 forwards a lot of the time.

  5. Thats the end of my first full season of the International League on the PES version. I finished in 9th place with 54 points. Top scorer was Baraja with 9 goals and 5 assists. Player of the season by far. The rest of the team shared the goals relatively equally. My target is to finish in the top 3 before I start an ML with the default squad. I hope I can do it!

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