And now you’re gonna believe us

No, it’s not over yet. I still haven’t finished season 15. I had an unexpectedly busy weekend for work and other things. It limited my footy gaming to a few quick matches on Saturday night.

Season 15 could be the one. This has been my most serious tilt yet at silverware on Superstar. It’s a tension-riddled, exhausting affair, playing PES2012 at this level. I’ll need a break after this season whatever happens.

With two league matches to go, I’m two points clear at the top of the table. Albeit with an inferior goal difference:

I’m loving my defensive record this season, though. Perhaps that, more than anything else, is why I’m poised to win the league now.

Here’s the schedule for what remains of the season:

Yep, look at that International just before what may be the crunch game at home to Sunderland. Bugger.

And that IS the FA Cup Final sandwiched between the two important League matches.

If I don’t win something this season I’ll be seriously kicking myself. To tell the truth, if I don’t do the Double from this position I’ll be disappointed.

Last time, I was worried and angry about the game scheduling an International the day before the crunch semi-final against Man Utd. My players were knackered, but I picked them anyway. I usually only rest them if they specifically request it, which usually means the game after the game after an International.

So I took to the field in the semi-final with nine of my eleven players half-dead with fatigue. But the game was wonderful. My gameplan was to keep the ball and deny Man Utd any space to run into and attack. It would be late in the first half before I’d even start thinking about attacking in numbers.

I stayed on 2-bar of attacking, making sure I never pressed L1+pass with either of my deep-lying DMFs. They spent most of the first half sitting just in front of the back 4. Many were the miracle dribble attempts from Man Utd, but with two layers of veteran stoppers waiting to stop them, they couldn’t get through.

And then I hit the jackpot just before half-time with a headed goal from Sibon from a corner. Just after half-time, Sibon struck again, this time with a poacher’s goal from a clearance inside the box.

2-0, then, and I shut up shop. I didn’t resort to passing it around at the back. I still attacked, but didn’t send up any support.

It was quite a feeling at the end of that semi-final. A tie that I’d truly feared beforehand, won quite easily with the right personnel, the right formation, the right tactics, and the right attitude. It’s a lesson that I should really take to heart and carry on into every other match as well.  But I probably won’t.

In the league, I’m a winning machine. Superstar requires focus, and I’m bringing that.

I keep coming up against lesser teams who play more aggressively and skilfully than they have any right to. Earlier this season I beat Brighton & Hove Albion 5-0 at their ground. In the return fixture, they were like some Jose Mourinho/anti-football/catennacio superteam par excellence.

Brighton had the cheek to take the lead 1-0 from a free kick that I thought was too far out to trouble my keeper, so I didn’t move him.

I left it until very late to mount my comeback. Sibon kept getting chances from crosses and corners that screamed certain goal, but kept heading the ball down and just wide of the post. Very suspicious, after a while. Ahhhh, we see the dread hand of The Management in every negative fall of the dice, don’t we?

One cross in the 70th minute overshot all the strikers and fell to Navarro on the left side of the box. I shot the ball like an arrow into the far corner of the net. Fist-pumping time. Now all I needed was the winner, and a few minutes later I found Rooney in some space, and fired a daisycutter from 20 yards for the 2-1 win.

At the final whistle Brighton’s players sank to the ground. I checked the table afterwards, and yes indeed, they had just been relegated. That’s why they were so supercharged and tough to break down for so long.

Anyway, anyway. I’m in pole position in the league and I’ve got a Cup Final to play. On Superstar. By Wednesday’s post I will have definitely played season 15 to its conclusion.


  1. Fantastic going!
    A Double on Superstar truly would be an achievement.
    Good luck for the remaining fixtures.

  2. HDR TIME! 😉 i wish you good luck and red form form arrows!!

  3. Good luck N-G.

    You should definitely beat Everton in the cup final. Odd to have a weak team like that in the final.

    Man City are unstoppable in my ML but I always seem to get a result against them. That just leaves Sunderland. Hmmm. Be careful with that one.

    And funny you should give a mention to my beloved Brighton and Hove Albion today – my birthday!

    My little lad just bought me (well, the missus did) Fifa Street. I wouldn’t have chosen to buy it but I’m now quite looking forward to giving it a spin. Anyone played it?

  4. Paul—cheers. I’m going to play the crunch matches this evening. Looking forward to it a great deal. Date with destiny and all that.

  5. Good luck but that seems a tricky final, although by season 15 who knows who anyone has in their line up! A one-off game we all know that anything can be chucked at you so I wouldn’t be as worried about that. I can’t see you getting any less than 4 points from your league fixtures so unless Man U win both – and often the off-game results are kind – the title is yours. To do it with only 68 goals is remarkable – on Pro we were scoring 90 – 100+. That’s some concentration you’ve been putting in.

  6. Max—cheers, but I doubt I’ll be able to record the matches and process and edit them in time for Wednesday’s post. I’ll think about it though.

  7. John—I once played a demo of FIFA Street, years ago, and thought it was a fairly good computer game. If you play it on its own merits and don’t see it as trying to occupy the same sphere as PES/FIFA games proper, you should get something out of it.

    Poor old Brighton so nearly came close to mugging me on my run-in, but I sent them down in the end.

    It’s Man City in the Cup Final, Everton next in the league. And while Everton aren’t the strongest, they’re not weak either. They’ve got a striker called Stracqualursi who is one of PES2012’s beasts, and always seems to score against me.

  8. uncle turf—it’s utterly exhausting. I’m exhausted. War-weary. Battle-scarred.

    Man Utd’s next 2 matches are Stoke and home and Man City away. I’ll play my last 2 matches assuming they’ll get the full 6 points, and that I have to do the same.

    My defensive record is probably 90% of the reason I’m in this position now. I’d prefer to ‘Kevin Keegan’ it with 4-3 victories all over the place, but give me a nice 1-0 or 2-0 and I’m just as happy.

  9. I’ve got good news for you, the international match before the end of the season doesn’t fatigue your players at all, well not in my game at least.

  10. I think there might be some truth in what Robin hood said. My last game of season 3 was straight after an international and they didn’t “seem” to be as fatigued as i expected and had good form arrows to. But i onky have 5-6 internationals to cope with have a whole squad is another matter. After internationals i sometimes go for broke in the first 30mins hopeing to get a goal or 2 before my players start to get tired and then park the bus.

    I finished season 3 in 5th, no players in the team of the year or near the top of the assist/goal rankings. Irjescu finished as my second top scorer on 11, all long rangers, i never realy played the same starting eleven as all my attacking players play in various postions and my goals were very spread out through the squad.

    In the off season i somehow became uba rich! After sending Shimizu out on loan and selling 1 player i received the fan club money and had a staggering 26million to spend! I decided to upgrade youth to 10million, fan club to 5m, Head trainer to 5million, doctor to 3m and coach to 3m. No signings again as i have a decent 24man squad, 3 keepers, and every1 is in-between 70-80 Ovr. Looking good for season 4 i have changed to a 4-4-2 with clone Rooney-Higuian partnership up top and my clone Pato has just learned to play RMF so i can get them all in the starting line up. Pato’s ovr shoot’s up 8ovr to 83 when played in his new position which is nice.

    Played 3 lost 2 drawn 1 i might have to rethink my tactics. Next game is the Europa League group stage, if i don’t get out of the group i will lose some well paying sponsorship deals!

    It was a very funny session as my pre-season friendly game was against a strong Galatasary team that i beat comfortably 2-0. But the first 3 league games felt like Barca, Marid and Man City. Feeling like PES was out to get me i switched off even though i had planned to play another hour and half. Hoping for a btter roll of the die next time!

  11. Max – I just got a youth ‘star’ through in my first year using only 500k coach and 200k investment. Cocio (AMF) is a familiar name but he is usually poor, this one is 16 and 77ovr with Talisman card. He is described as ‘reminds me of Rosicky’. This suggests to me that the coach potential spotting (5 stars with 500k coach) is most important in the early seasons.

    NG – this is how weird this season is proving – I just beat a top 5 side 4-1 after being 1-0 down going up to 5 attack till I equalised and then down to 1 in the hope I would salvage a draw. they left gaping holes for my three goals to be scored as one on one through ball efforts.

  12. Uncle turf- yes that’s for sure, I realized at the end of season 3 I had that Romanian 1m coach with 5star and got. Rooney. I reloaded a few more times that January and got similarly good players, I almost went for eto but chose Rooney. That 500k coach has got me some great youths in the first season, 88ovr bigger built arron lennon being the best one. I hope I don’t regret changing my coach but he still has 4star potential I think, I Realy need a AMF this year as I need to replace ettori.

  13. What method do you use max to get the youth players? Reloading to do what?

  14. Leroy getz- have a coach with 4-5 bars “spotting potential” and then save the game on the 31st of January, turn off auto-save if you have on. When you pass over to jan 1st you get messages about contract renewals and such sometimes you will get a message at the end that says something like “there is a star player in the youth team worth checking out”. In your youth team r2 to the coaches comments and you will find a player that says something like “he reminds me of x-player, he could turn out to be just as good”. If you don’t get a star youth or you don’t like the player you can just reload back to dec 31st and try again. It seems quit random if you get one or not, I could get 3 in a row and then nothing for the next 5-10 reloads. The level of your coach’s spotting potential determines the quality of the the player, I have had 80ovr+ players with no youth team investment. The invesent in youth team combined with what coach you have is what determines the average ovr of the rest of the youth teams players.

  15. Good luck nG, quite an easy run-in for the league so you’ll never have a better chance.
    Can confirm that the final game doesn’t get affected by fatigue for some reason. Happens every season.

  16. Robin Hood/Max/Grilled Seabass—thanks for the good news. I have played through the relevant period now—my lips are sealed about the outcome until tomorrow’s post—and you are totally correct. No fatigue after the season’s final International. How very odd, and how very PES2012-ish.

  17. uncle turf—unless you get inflated results all the time across several separate sessions, I’d say it’s just natural variance. I had a 5-0 win earlier this season, which sticks out like the proverbial in the context of my usual result scorelines. You’ve played with the Defaults so much now that you’re bound to have picked up some degree of expertise.

  18. NG – I know I have had blips before, this season’s 3 red cards feels right but the 8 own goals I’ve scored?? I read on a forum that there are estimates of X% control is down to you, Y% is script and Z% depends on stats. It seems a plausible theory as it would mean those poorer default defenders have an increased chance of simply blundering into the ball and it pinging into the net, which is exactly what has happened. I also feel it happens much more frequently against teams in the top spots – as if luck increases (pretty much like getting a penalty at Old Trafford!)

    I’m just one home win away from securing my sponsorship for next year – a huge priority after last time! – and have signed a great keeper, an RMF (to hopefully replace Shimizu in a years time) and Leon Best as a workmanlike forward to come in the summer. All cheap wage free agents. And Cocio got mentioned as ‘the wonder kid’. The names are clearly irrelevant, it’s the stats they get given.

  19. Max – that seems the wrong side of fair play to me…I wouldn’t be happy reloading like that unless you are conducting a trial on behalf of us all? Doesn’t it take away the excitement of seeing what you’ve been given to work with? I gave up the default/youth idea when I saw what a gap there was between the development of some of mine and the likes of Kmou, Jig, Rane, etc.

  20. uncle turf—there are so many competing Theories of PES (or of Master League, we should say—the online crowd have a different set of obsessions and paranoias). I’m never sure if you’re suggesting that you’ve encountered a bug or glitch when you mention your particular Default-on-Superstar woes such as those own-goals. For things like that I’m a natural variance man. For things like the no-injuries bug/Advanced Start bug etc., yes, definitely bugs/glitches. That % theory you’ve come across there sounds very appealing. Default-on-Superstar must lower your % of direct control very, very low, ebbing and flowing dynamically across the span of a match.

    I think all we know for sure is that there are shenanigans, that they are annnoying, and that they afflict us more at some times than others, depending on what stage of the ML we’re at, what is happening contextually in the match and the league situation, and what is happening in our lives! E.g. my old habit of listening to podcasts/audiobooks whilst playing ML has had to be ditched a lot of the time lately, because I need maximum focus for the game. And just over the past week I’ve been busy with other things and had a lot less time for gaming than usual.

  21. NG – no, a bug is the Men in Black running across the pitch as someone said, or no injuries at all in 10 seasons, etc. 8 own goals in half a season, or 11 red cards and no yellows is more this ‘roll of the dice’ factor that sometimes seems to be the normal eb and flo of a campaign, other times it seems to give you nothing positive in return. I think with the defaults that chance is much less in your favour – if there’s a 10% chance of scoring an overhead kick, your striker’s ability turns it into 1%. I think it was said that each ML experience was intended to be a journey and I find that true – something always seems to be helpful (a good Ribeiro, an older Shimizu, a great youth prospect) and something always kicking you in the head (cards, own goals, top teams scoring in the last minute, crap youth prospects).

    You won both didn’t you…

  22. uncle turf—if you believe you’ve detected an upbeat, positive note in my earlier reply—when I might have savaged the game had I lost both or perhaps even just one of the trophies—all I’ll say is, wait until tomorrow to see 😉

  23. NG – I just think if you’d lost both you’d not be on here at all, you’d be lying down somewhere crying…

  24. Id prefer to read about the climax in its entirety, so no nibbles or teasers here please!!

    Loaded up PES after 4 days away last night and first game I thumped Wolves away 3-0 in possibly the most open, free flowing enjoyable game ive had on PES12.
    Great i thought, the rest has done wonders, thenfollowed 2 scrappy bitty games where I drew 0-0 and lost 1-0.
    Im well out of the running for the title now, am 14pts behind leaders Liverpool in 5th, but only 3 points seperates me and 2nd place so still some reward to play for, and I have an FA Cup semi coming up against Chelsea, with an international match the day before!!! Joy!!!

  25. What’s the worst injury anyone has ever had? You know about my reliance on Ribeiro…. 28 weeks!! I’ve only got 19 players anyway.

  26. Uncle Turf – back in the early years before i upgraded my Doctor etc I too had a 25 weeker, since the upgrades the worst has been 6 weeks, its usually a week or 2 here and there though.

  27. uncle turf—after all this time on the game and so many ups and downs, I’m so battle-scarred that I’d be able to take any outcome to this season. How many times has the PES2012 AI throughly shafted all of us in manners so completely blatant and unfair that it’s bordering on the comedic? And we take it, we really do take it.

    Re. injuries, as Paul said, a 28-weeker for me before I got the staff up to a good level. Ever since, just the occasional 2-weeker. I think I had an 8-weeker last season.

  28. Paul—a good Superstar strategy is to work on yourself at the beginning of every match. Just dig deep and decide not to be beaten. This is a crazy instalment of PES. Am I the only one hoping the PES2013 AI is much the same?

  29. Very, very nearly at the end of my tether with PES 2012 at the minute.

    After dominating on Professional I stepped it up to top player, only to be left completely deflated by the blatant cheating of the AI. I dropped back down to professional to revitalize my season. It worked.

    Then I stepped it back up to top player, but soon felt familiar frustrations. Super dribblers, deadly AI free-kicks and the blatant ineptness of my players when the game chooses its going to score.

    Everything I turn turns to shit. Everything the computer does turns to gold, what doesn’t turn to gold, takes five deflections and still finds the net.

  30. Paul(2)—there should be a special worldwide helpline for wounded PES2012 players to call. Special documentaries—When PES2012 Attacks, etc.

    All you can do is take a deep breath, maybe take a break, then perhaps consider sticking on Professional for a while longer (or consider skipping Top Player and heading straight to Superstar). The wheel will turn and your star will rise again. You know this. We all know what the game can do. How evil it can be. I’m a bit burnt out by PES2012 and I love the game.

  31. NG – We speak like we are part of Alcohol Anonymous, but what you say really does help. Plus it is 100% correct.

    When PES hits you, it hits hard. In a ruthless manner. I breezed The Europa League on Professional and dominated the big teams. It was no fun. Unfortunately I just can’t crack top player, which also isn’t fun.

    A week off may be in order.

  32. Paul(2)—I often find just a day or two off can work wonders for morale and attitude. Much longer and you risk being a long way off the pace when you come back. Consider trying Superstar at least—maybe an Exhibition game or two? You might be pleasantly surprised.

  33. January transfer window and after promising myself no 16yo regens up pops del piero 84ovr and riquelme 86ovr. Had to be done. Have decided to get rid of all over 30’s so it will be bye bye to Careca, Diego and Barnes. When they leave Metelger will be oldest member of squad aged 25. On rechecking squad Heycory is 22yo and 103ovr, scored an absolute screamer the other night, nearly woke the kids up with the celebration. I WILL upload some goals this weekend.

  34. For me the AI for PES13 needs a serious tweaking, id be very dissapointed if it remains the same.
    Its far too clumsy, your own players will run into you when you have the ball, often they dont seem to know how to react to a loose ball, ther arent enough movement optioons when your on the ball, players will stop and check when tracking CPU runners, which gives the CPU that yard to get on to the ball, refree AI is shocking… its quite poor IMO.

  35. Lloyd—the decline of most over-30s in PES2012 is one of the features of this year, and quite a worrying one. I’ll be 40 soon!

  36. Paul—when I mention AI in PES I always mean opposition (CPU) AI, not teammate AI. That deadly, cheating, infuriating CPU AI is what I hope will be largely unchanged for PES2013. As for teammate AI…. God yes, enough of the freezing and stumbling and running into each other.

  37. I agree about the AI challenge. No need for any house rules this year, quite the opposite in fact, whereby I have actually had to try and buy all the best players to compete. This is very refreshing.

    Saying that I’ve just done the CL and league double on SS so if I can repeat the feat next season i may have to consider a wage, age or ability cap (or even trying the Max and Uncle Turf’s tortuous default/youth/free transfer challenge) but I’m not worrying about that yet.

  38. They say life begins at 40…..ask me in 18momths 🙁

  39. why would you hope the cheating CPU AI is still in!!? are you a sado-machisist??

  40. Cook—in times gone by any conspicuous success was always followed by a strangely difficult season. See how the game feels next season.

  41. Paul—the later chapters of the book will reveal, yes, I am a practising sado-masochist 🙂

    As for the PES2012 CPU AI, it cheats like fuck, but provides such a challenge that yes, I genuinely hope it’s pretty much unchanged. I’d like to see the straight-from-kickoff thing toned way down, and other blatant cheats nerfed, but otherwise, I’m OK with it.

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