Mathieu, Mark, Lark, and Bronn

Look who’s back and wearing a Coventry City shirt in a PES ML of mine.

Yes, it’s one J MATHIEU, who’s just a fairly average 23-year-old LB/CB nowadays. As a DMF in PES5, he was possibly my PES Player Of All Time.

I dithered over getting him in PES2019. It seems the kind of thing I do right at the end of an ML for a bit of a nostalgic lark, when there’s not much time left. But there could be 7 seasons left in PES2019, so there’s no larking around here.

I needed cover at LB/CB, someone decent but not too expensive, and Mathieu popped up in the first page of results, so I thought, why not actually get him ‘for real’ for once. So I did.

Here is my full squad and First XI for Season 15. For the first time since Season 2, none of these players are Loanees. Every player here is contracted to the club.

Just out of sight at the bottom is a Youth GK that I picked up as cheap cover for Cech. Jarvis is out on loan this season again.

So that’s 24 players, and I’ve left myself a few million to go shopping mid-season if need be.

I’m most excited about Hamsik from that list. N Ogilvy (Clint Dempsey) wasn’t doing it for me so I  moved him on and went in search of another midfielder with a big booming shot, and Hamsik fits the bill.And then the season began and everything went wrong. First of all, as the Europa League champions we took part in the UEFA Supercup match. This thrilled me, as if we won it I could then go with a ‘You Wait Ages For One Trophy And Then Two Come Along At Once’ sort of post title.

But no. Instead, it was One Of Those Matches.I had 14 shots on goal to Chelsea’s 4. Of my shots, 3 were the sort of gilt-edged opportunities where you ‘know’ in your bones that it’s a goal, it must be a goal – but each time, the AI keeper pulled off miracle Gordon Banks-style saves.

1 time is unlucky. 2 times is a coincidence. 3 times is a conspiracy. We all know the (non) score.

Chelsea scored so late with one of their few chances that it was genuinely gutting to lose.

Then the Premier League started. I really do want a title before PES2019 is over. But bloody hell.I was lucky to get nil. I’ve played a few other matches and I’ve had a draw and a win from them. I’m mid-table after 3.

I know the problem. Of course, its too many new players too quickly. The game models poor team cohesion decently enough, and there are just enough misplaced passes and non-existent defensive marking and the like to make this a terrible start to the season.

Oh, did I mention that I had to qualify for the Champions League via a playoff? Atletico Bilbao the opponents. That went terribly too:

I drew 2-2 at home in the first leg, and lost the away leg 3-2. I didn’t play that badly, but conceded awful goals. So I’ll be competing in the Europa League again this season. At least I get to see if I can retain that trophy after the rare win last season.

I would have played a lot more than these matches, but gave a few hours late Monday night to watching the climax of a certain dragon-themed TV show.

To finish with, 3 interesting moments from the very end of last season that I thought merited inclusion here.

  1. Modric and Xavi’s passing stats and skills are enabling a bit of a cheese move: the long aerial Glenn Hoddle-esque through-ball to the feet of an attacker, Castledine in this instance. But it always feels so good.
  2. In a PES of rare headers, this was a satisfactory one. Mascherano popped up on the wing to deliver a Beckham-esque cross for Castledine, who made a late Bryan Robson-esque run into the box for a David Speedie-esque header back across the keeper.
  3. And finally a real SNAFU from me with Cech trying to play the ball out of the back. A good example here of the PES2019 AI That We Need pressing me hard when behind. Regen Muller seemed to be on me in a flash.


Updated: 21st May 2019 — 11:00


  1. n-G – First things first, where’s the last of the books this dragon-themed TV show is based on? I read and enjoyed four of them but won’t bother with the rest now, nor will I watch the show. I suspect George R R Martin got a million for each of the Rs in his name for letting telly round that tale off.

    Unlucky with the Super Cup and the league opener. Is that a proper in-game injury pictured there by the way?

    I watch these PES 2019 ever so slightly tempted to give it another go – mostly for the challenge (unfair as it is with nuPES a lot of the time) being so long lasting.

    But then again time and PES 5 get in the way of my going all PES 2019 again. PES 5 was and is the greatest footy game of all time. I knew that before going back to play a ‘proper’ ML campaign and with my Brighton side (including Mathieu) now challenging for honours, I’m convinced all over again.

  2. Shed – I wouldn’t disrupt your routine with a PES2019 excursion. I’m enjoying it but it’s very much a post-Golden Age sort of enjoyment. You’re in the Golden Age, and the peak of the Golden Age to boot. Why move? There really is no contest between PES5 and any other football game of any era. I’m not even being playfully exaggerative, there. PES5 is the greatest not by a little way, not with lots of caveats and qualifiers and ‘for its time’ nonsense – it’s just the greatest. Others may prefer other things for other reasons, graphics and whatnot, but really it’s like comparing Leonardo Da Vinci to Elon Musk. (Yet another PES metaphor.) I was thinking about PES5 a lot when I picked up 2019 Mathieu for my current Master League.

    Re. the last few books of A Song of Ice and Fire (the real name of ‘Game of Thrones’), there is no word on them as yet, and I was convinced there would be in the days after the TV finale. There are enough differences in the TV show, and enough faults, to preserve the separate integrity of the books IMO and I am once again looking forward to them, although hopefully GRRM won’t die before finishing them. So many plots and characters were dropped for the TV show, not least a certain Lady Stoneheart. I enjoyed the TV show but as time went on and the material diverged further from the books I almost lost patience with it. Particularly when it started doing TV trope-like things. This was my attitude to the TV show before I watched it, and it sort of is my attitude again now:

  3. Wait, What??? Hold on, surely not ……………..

    Konami haven’t got yet another basic rule completely wrong have they?
    You won the Europa League and still had to play a play-off match to get into the UCL?

    Europa League winners get automatic entry into the UCL at the group stage, its been this way for the last 2 years.

  4. Paul – yes, I think it’s another one for your bulging scrapbook. Either a straightforward Konami error, or a post-CL license case of ‘we’ll make our own European competition rules, with hookers and blackjack’….

  5. As soon as the tv asoiaf overtook the books I was done with the books, simply because I would read them thinking ‘is this really what he intended’. There is a huge difference in emphasis imho because of the different viewpoints the book story is told from – unreliable narrators and all that. Some of them, as NG says, didn’t even make the series…lady stoneheart indeed. I don’t buy the general last series theme as being GRRMs detailed vision, I think he simply said x will live, y will die, z gets the shiny hat and they filled it in very hurriedly. They captured the essence but not the form perhaps. I liked battle one, hated ‘battle’ two but found the ending relatively pleasant with a few amusing touches. Huge gaps remain though – all that dorne shit, the reeds, etc etc.

    I also find that having read Abercrombie, weeks and other trilogy/long series writers who actually work to quite a decent pace and regular output, that those who start fucking about mid unfinished collections – I’m looking at you as well rothfuss and lynch – can just fuck off. At the moment I’m considering starting the dark tower, anyone gone there? I imagine it might help join some of the cameo dots in other ones of his ive read.

  6. maybe I’ll time capsule the scrapbook NG, people can dig it up in 50 years time and think “WOW, is this how lazy and incompetent games developers were back then” as they play as a life size hologram in a VR world.

  7. Darryl – that, like the manager changing clubs feature, would immediately drag me back to ‘one more try’. If they’d also relax the editing as well, the thought of say fleetwood having to play in the stade Louis II or whatever the hell has the alps as a backdrop would kill it at birth.

  8. Darryl – its kinda moot until Konami start giving us an extra couple of divisions to work with.
    Having Fleetwood, and Salford City etc in the Championship and prem would mean unrealistic european competitions too, fine if you can start with one of those sides in div 3 or 4 and work up but as the current structure stands, it would be a mess.

  9. Uncle Turf — after resisting for years I was able to see the TV show Game of Thrones as separate to ASOIAF. As soon as it became obvious that they’d left the books behind, I was happy to watch. The pure TV-style things that they started doing in the show were very helpful. E.g. it’s a popular trope in TV generally that when somebody’s throat is cut (with the merest swipe of a blade), the one whose throat has been cut immediately drops down dead and inert, as if they’ve been switched off. They don’t do any of the thrashing and gurgling that would happen in real life (unless it’s a major character’s death). So when in Season 4 of GoT I saw that they were doing standard TV throat-cutting, GoT suddenly became ‘just a TV show’ with TV rules.

  10. Ah game of thrones. I was quite satisfied with the ending as each of the main characters’ purpose was fulfilled. Most things you could see coming a mile away but still. It’s just the way they *got* there was so rushed and indeed, “tv-showy”. I rewatched some scenes from season 1 ND the gap in quality is humongous imo. Apparently benioff and Weiss rejected a 10-season idea because they were offered the new star wars films.

    Sad. A lot more character exploration certainly wouldn’t have hurt. You can tell the writers are clueless without the source material and like others have said I think George simply said “this one wins, this one dies, you decide how you want to get there” and called it a day.

    Have started reading fire & blood which is kind of a “separate entity” to it all as it goes back in time a few centuries.

  11. Never seen a single GoT episode and have no wish to

  12. I watched up until halfway of series 2 of GOT but then gave up. Story of my life really.

  13. Cech doing an Alisson there.

  14. GoT was great while they had the source material. Then the guys running the show started doing their Hollywood thing. They didn’t get what made the story great, and therefore where unable to follow on the same level. The reason GRRM is able to kill off main characters is because the story is not about them, but about the context: power, war, lust, etc. Context became largely absent in the last few seasons, and we were left with a much more narrow narrative focused on characters and driven by them. The books, when finished, will bring what is missing, i’m sure. My 2 cents :).

  15. Star Wars, now there’s a crock of shite.

  16. Having read what was then the four books of the A Song Of Ice And Fire trilogy over 15 years ago, I abandoned Game of Thrones after one episode, as so much didn’t agree with what was in my head.

    Turf – You’re right about Star Wars.

  17. Star Wars I see as a fantasy adventure in science fiction dressing, and it’s mostly decent for me, but I’m not a great fan by any means. I’m the kind of Star Wars watcher who thinks Return of the Jedi was easily the best of them all, and The Empire Strikes Back is one of the weakest (it had NO ENDING for god’s sake, and yes, I know that was the point, but 11 year old me disliked the point). So I’m just a filthy casual there. And the same goes for the GoT TV show, when all is said and done. Interesting viewing, and [spoiler alert] the episode where the Night King breaches the Wall was one of the best spectacles I’ve ever seen in a TV show, but it won’t stay with me.

  18. I love Star Wars having grown up a huge fan of the original films and having enjoyed the later one (even The Last Jedi to a degree) with my son through his childhood. I love the Marvel movies for the latter reason too.

    Had a great PES5 session last night. Struggling for goals in the league but turning it on in Europe in what I thought was the Uefa Cup. But no, the WEFA Championship is of course the Champions League with the Master Cup the lesser Euro competition.

    So, having just beaten AC Milan 5-1 on aggregate, I now find myself in my first major final (since back-in-the-day) with only Real Madrid between Brighton and that big ears cup.

  19. I never recovered from Star Wars episode 1. After all those years, to see that, and be prompted to return to viewing the originals and discover they were just hokey fluff for youngsters. I don’t blame jar jar binks, he simply represented what it always was.

    I was also disappointed with line of duty this time around.

    Fired up that thing called pes 2017 last night. And I was somewhat surprised. I couldn’t sign a single player. Nobody outside of the youth team would join me (lens in France 2 to save on editing this early). So I’m playing season one as entirely default. And how fast?! I’ve got it on -2 but it still felt ridiculously quick. I’d be keen to know where it sits in anybody’s greased pig index. I thought this year was still too rapid but bugger me that’s arcadey.

  20. NG – I had 45 mins to dick around whilst waiting for an ASDA delivery last night, my FIFA game is poised at a critical point so didn’t want to rush-play that, and not enough time to start a new story based game, so what did I do …..
    I loaded up my ML on PES 19 from back in September and played through 4 matches ……

    It was interesting.

  21. Shed – I know you’re a Star Wars fan, and liking The Last Jedi (or at least thinking it not-bad) is a huge indicator of that! I didn’t think it was bad as such, but it was a bad Star Wars film IMO.

    Uncle Turf – my surprising Star Wars secret is that I quite liked the Episode 1-3 trilogy, particularly the finale. George Lucas is on record multiple times as saying that this series was originally designed for under-16s and younger children (hence the beepity-booping androids and cuddly monsters etc). JarJar was intended for them, not us.

    Paul – interesting how so? As I mentioned on your blog, on Tuesday I also had a surprising FIFA19 encounter, so much so that I’m planning now to have a go on the full game in due course, at some point this summer.

  22. NG – well you know my overall views on PES 19, I’ve slammed it enough, and all with justification, but on the same token, i can appreciate the things that feel good in it too.

    I did enjoy the 4 matches, completely ignoring the issues with the AI, presentation, commentary and all that, on the pitch, it does look and feel good.
    FIFA muscle memory is well and truly embedded so even on Top Player, I think thats what its still on, I lost 3 and drew 1 of the 4 games, trying FIFA things and getting controls mixed up certainly played a part.

    I can see after the updates, that for someone like you who has stuck with the game, how you can grow to really enjoy it, I had a brief encounter with the restricted finances, in that to sign even a youth player, I didn’t have the salary budget, so you’d have to nurture and grow a team and therefore build an affinity with them.

    If it wasn’t so late in the year, I would have given PES 19 some more serious time after the conclusion of my FIFA 19 CM, but its just too late now.

    Aside from the shoddy player positioning and AI awareness, one thing that really did agitate me was the LGST, the new LCS!

    LGST – Laser Guided Side tackles. By the COM. anytime I tried to dribble with the ball, the COM player would launch into an onrushing slide tackle, from at least 10 yards away, and slide into me and take the ball every single time.
    Not only did they take the ball with 100% laser guided accuracy, but on every occasion, it led to them setting up a direct attack, the ball didn’t bobble out into loose open play, or out of touch, like a slide tackle mostly would IRL, it always deflected off to the feet of a waiting COM player.

    Highly annoying.

    Also didnt like the floaty feel of PES after the weightiness of FIFA, or the lack of ability to be able to zip a driven pass across field like I can in FIFA.

    But overall, I didnt hate it as feverently as I thought I would, actually enjoyed the matches.

  23. Paul – there’s nothing surprising about anyone who likes football games… liking a football game, at least the gameplay, for any reason, given the right conditions. My FIFA19 excursion the other night came at just the right time. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that I’ll be giving the last two months of the footy game year to FIFA19. What I saw in those demo matches was enough to intrigue me. Don’t like it when it goes crazy fast, but with sliders etc.

  24. I think its just something different too NG, I’ve been playing FIFA solidly for the last 8 months, you’ve been playing PES, so playing the ‘other’ game suddenly gives something fresh and new, you see new things, and can try different ways of playing, that’s all part of the appeal.

  25. I can’t be alone in thinking…Paul…Asda…you have got to be kidding.

    What he was too embarassed to type was ‘I had 45 mins to dick around while my manservant Jenkins unloaded the hamper from Fortnum and Masons, it’s so hard to find good quality truffles this side of the channel’

    Anyone watch that Andre the Giant film on Sky? bloody hell, that man’s drinking habits.

  26. Nahhh Turf, just a plain old ASDA delivery for the weekly shop.
    Yeah seen the Andre documentary a while back, really enjoyed it.

    50 pints before he hits the whisky chasers (bottles of whisky) legend!!!

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