Come on rock me aMattheus

Season 2 is well underway. I spent pre-season and the month of August wheeler-dealering.

My concerns about my settings – Fairly Hard for Negotiations; Small for Transfer budget – were that they’d be too hard. Now I’m concerned they’re too easy. So far I have not failed to sign a single player I’ve gone after, with Free Agents in particular being the proverbial piece of piss to sign up. I got Free Agent Flamini, for example, aged 36 but still good for a year or two in the Championship, for a third of his asking price.

I have fleshed out my squad in most areas, and trimmed down in others. My Season 2 First XI, Formation, and Squad:

My most important player right now? MATTHEUS. He’s a 30-something journeyman who won’t last long past Season 3 or 4, I think, but for now he’s very much my Kante.

Mattheus is emerging as one much greater than his modest stats, controlling matches, and popping up with the odd goal. Mattheus is playing on the left side of centre-mid in the screenshot above but I think I need him square in the middle, in front of Flamini, so Castledine might have to move back out wide. I’m fiddling with things.

I have had lots of offers for Castledine, but so far not taken them, and so far none have triggered his release clause. Realistic picture on the right of my avatar, looking like Jeremy Clarkson in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? hotseat, thinking over the latest Casteldine offer. ‘Hmmm, shall I? Nah.’

My other transfer highlight for a different reason is Pjaca, the striker currently holding down a starting berth. Drury calls his name as Piazza. He was also a Free and he also wanted over a million in salary to sign. Last year I’d have bumped that down to about £800k and massaged his feelings with scoring and appearance bonuses, and that would have made about an 80% chance of signing, and chances were I’d have got him.

This year, suspecting that something is screwy with the ‘Fairly Hard’ setup, I bumped his wage all the way down to £400k and offered NO bonuses. And he signed.

There are plenty of other stories of my squad – aren’t there always? Canning at left-back is the reincarnation of Ruskin – I’m going to keep him and develop him, and I plan to see him running the line in a Champions League Final.

Vitor Hugo at CB will inspire many a punning post title in the weeks to come.

Karlsen at SS has so far done little to justify my decision to hang onto him this year (check today’s compilation vid for a hilarious ‘miss-kick’ of his).

Begovic at GK is as solid and dependable as I wanted him to be when I snapped him up on another cheap Free. But his understudy, Youth promotee Beto, should be my club goalie long-term.

The table after 11 matches of Season 2:

A short compilation vid today, with goals and some amusing highlights. All action on Top Player difficulty.

It starts with the AI failing to score from a shooting-range free kick (0 conceded in all of PES2020 so far).

Then there’s a sequence from about the 20-second mark onwards that shows the end of a match versus Leeds when it was 0-0 and 1) I scored, 2) they equalised almost straight from kickoff, and 3) I scored the winner straight from my kickoff (in alarmingly easy style, it should be noted).

There are a couple of goals in the mix from the aforementioned Mattheus. Mid-rangers. (Still no laces long-ranger in PES2020 for me.)

And the video ends with me creating a team goal that I actually liked – because the finish was from mid-range and in off the post.

Updated: 24th September 2019 — 11:35


  1. Barring the match squads being patched which looks unlikely I’ll be passing on FIFA but should I read that it is resolved I will certainly let you know my thoughts

  2. Ffs! I feel such a newb. Shows how much notice I take of the advertising and my club!! Anyway, point remains that even that ‘come on lads today is…’ cutscene has been removed. But on the up side the lunatic express train matches have gone too.

    I went and checked out the pre release master league claims and the one about increased transfer realism sticks out a mile when set against the loan signings you can make, the hugely reduced wage demands and the fact that thousands of players are on the transfer list. Harry Kane heads the list in mine.

  3. Uncle Turf – I took the ‘increased transfer realism’ to mean that the ML world around your club would be wheeling and dealing in a more realistic way. Harry Kane wanting out of Tottenham wouldn’t be entirely unrealistic right now I suppose.

    Generally, if pushed on their claims, I can just imagine Konami bosses adopted their best Obi Wan voice in saying they were right, “from a certain point of view.”

    I might try a different camera angle tonight – a more standard one – given the comments on here, I wonder if the angled stadium cam is sending my shooting a little screwy.

  4. Turf – silly sod
    and take any one of the ‘Master League Remastered’ claims from Konami’s own website and you can pull it to pieces as lies and PR fluff.

    The only bit of transfers that has improved is the fees, as its now taking data from to get real life players values.

  5. Shed – I have to agree a bit that stadium cam does hinder the player slightly. It’s more fashion over function, and has it’s flaws. The sluggish movement at times, and failure to keep up with the ball when it’s cleared, or turned over. I’m sure many will disagree, and see it differently. It can be learned and loved, and right now i’m thoroughly enjoying it and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. But you will always be a slightly better player on a “regular” camera.

    I find it particularly difficult at corners, or when there’s a scramble in my box (ahem). The low down, zoomed in view doesn’t give you the same sense of depth as a regular cam, so it’s hard to know exactly how deep across the pitch the ball is and which man is closest to the ball.

  6. NG – I suspect that you didn’t miss anything that you would have enjoyed with that derby game. I played one last night, and Superstar served up one of the most ridiculous matches I’ve ever experienced. No exaggeration: it really was *that* bad.

    I couldn’t go on with Derby County after the Top Player treble; the step up to Superstar seems to demand a relegation dogfight, not consolidating and building upon recent triumphs. I took a look at the league table and saw Everton languishing in 19th. A glance at their squad (with no stars, only two players under 30 and five first-teamers 35+) was all it took to request a move. I simmed ahead (Derby storming to the top of the league), and took over at the end of December.

    Going down to high 60s/low 70s team spirit was a real shock to the system, but I had some reasonable games at first: a 0-0 against Huddersfield, a late (and unwarranted) 1-2 against Spurs in the cup, and a 0-4 against Man City with a makeshift defence that wasn’t even really given the chance to stop Sterling from first-timing all four into the roof of the net. When Superstar wants a goal, it just takes it: you can only later reflect that your chance to intervene wasn’t in that decisive moment, but perhaps two or three passes before.

    Getting to the point, the next fixture was the Liverpool derby. My Everton side were at home. I expected a tough fixture – but this wasn’t a game. It was Superstar grinding my face in the dirt. It was a kerb-stomp. Every single foray into their half ended with an unstoppable slide tackle straight through my player. Everyone on their team ran with 99 pace (and 150 acceleration). Even with my fastest players, I couldn’t catch the likes of Keita and Henderson or a couple of the low-rated kids they were fielding *when they were jogging*! I don’t think I saw more than a few instances where my players weren’t smashed to the ground, staying there for a few seconds each time.

    Given the lack of polish and playtesting in Master League that we’re all noticing, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone just forgot to update the derby difficulty/intensity modifier settings from 2019’s match engine. I’ve played enough of them over the years to know that this game was *exceptional*.

    The one good thing to come from those twelve minutes of horror, however, was a detail I noticed in the post-match stats. Apparently, Liverpool had only made a handful of tackles in the entire game, which absolutely wasn’t my experience. Their interception count, though, was off the charts.

    I’m going to keep an eye on this, but I now wonder if the match engine is categorising a lot of instances where AI players slide or barge as interceptions. Is this actually how they’re keeping the foul count down: dodgy accounting? As in: an interception can’t be judged to be an infraction?

  7. Played my first two games of season 2 – a draw I should have won and a loss I should have drawn. Both enjoyable, tight games. The new loan signings, particularly kheidira stood out by miles. I’m going to use my budget to bring more of them in. It looks shit but if it’s one of those konami idiotic flaws then we have to take what we can. Currently I have Joaquin,solanke, remy, kheidira, some bloke from Barca, a keeper from Bayern Munich and I’ve just agreed to rafinha. It must surely break all the loan signing rules of that there real football?

  8. Ok I am now fully torn. Pes 2020 online in its current form is really not performing as I would like. The removal of the growth system a major step back. The fouls online are ridiculous if a player is so inclined GBH is a regular occurrence. The jockey system can remove even the most skilled players from possession in what is an obvious but never given foul. The pay to win mechanic is revved up by and I am not exaggerating 400%. I have played over 100 games and find the infield action amazing but for the first time in two years considering starting an ML however alot of the comments on here are holding me off. If they patch the fouls (yea right) allow a long ranger or two (duh) this would be a fantastic game. As it stands frustration is building. If I were to mention scripting at least 1 in 5 you feel unbeatable and in the same 1 in 5 you feel helpless it is incredible amped up beyond anything I have ever seen in a football game ever

  9. Gary – as I type I am on the verge of signing Mezut Ozil (the Mezut Ozil) for my mid-D2 Season 2 Master League team, on Hard Negotiations/Small transfer budget. I could do it – I offered the release fee to Arsenal and he has accepted my offer of £3.8m salary. I don’t think I will do it as it would be a game-spoiling move in two senses: £3.8m would use up all my salary budget for one player; and I just don’t want to ‘go there’ right now or maybe ever in this Master League. This is so far not the greatest Master League environment ever.

    Wanyama also accepted a similar offer. Again I won’t be biting. These are things that the game shouldn’t be allowing. The myClub toxin is everywhere. (Sorry, but it is.)

    prsgame – I never thought VAR would be just a way of letting the on-field referee off the hook for not giving ‘big decisions’ (i.e. correct decisions that would be contextually sensational). All the talk after was about VAR not giving the penalty. Not a single mention of Jon Moss not giving it. I keep saying it because it’s true, Association Football has the worst officials of any professional sport. Correct decisions not given because they’re ‘too difficult’ to give. Name one other sport where that happens.

  10. NG- Ozil in season 2———says it all unfortunately, Mercenary as the modern footballer is just no

  11. Currently 7th with 14 matches to go in the season. Enjoying the games on Professional and will move up to TP when promotion is achieved at some point. I too have moved to a zoned in Dynamic Wide camera angle and now at last feel settled there. As for transfers I am struggling to sign anyone above the 68/69 OVR mark with transfers at Normal. Have now pretty much spent up but things could change at the end of the season. Overall I am enjoying it for what it is. However, the games now seem to be identical to anything from the last 4 years or so, now that my players are getting better and TS is at about high 70’s. My opinion is that the latter is the culprit here.

  12. NG – as my loanees arrangements show, the whole transfer setup is completely ridiculous this year. It reminds me of when I got emre can on loan for Rochdale one FIFA. Actually buying players is a bit harder for me than you though, I suspect as Darryl has found that normal is normal. Your budget is not small, your negotiations are not hard, but my numbers are not yet at fantasy levels.

    I still find the football really encouraging, sadly they won’t even attempt to patch master league’s many issues.

  13. Only had time for a few games late last night after getting in from the MK Dons v Liverpool cup game, had 3 really good matches though, the pick being this one, coming back from 1-0 down against Boro to win with this goal:

    Professional, purity, where the game plays properly, and there’s fouls:

    View post on

  14. I didn’t sign Ozil of course, nor Wanyama – but I could have got both.

    Going for them was really just a test of the Hard Negotiations settings. I was shocked when I was allowed to enter negotiations, and shocked when my offer (the highest possible in both cases) was accepted. My scientific conclusions are that the setting relates purely to the wage you have to offer to players who are full transfers. Your own players’ contract renegotiations are a touch harder on that front too. It’s just a setting that forces up the wage offer for transfers. (You can offer anything to almost any Free Agent and get him, ditto Loanees.) My assumption that the Hard setting would make it impossible to sign certain players on principle, is wrong. So wrong…

  15. nG – I’m comforting myself with the idea that my signing of ageing Superstars isn’t beyond the realms of possibility for a Championship club. In the real world, a 34yo Rooney will be joining the sheep botherers in January, so why not a 37yo van Persie spending the last year of his career in Norfolk.

    Using the last of my super wage budget to sign regens Yuri Zhirkov and Darijo Srna as future replacements for the ageing and declining Fábio Coentrão and Ignazio Abate. I’ve also signed regen Nenê as cover in AMF, which I’m excited for as he has a bit of a classic Pablo Aimar shape about him.

    Special mention for Mickael Cuisance, a young lad at Bayern Munich who was added after the live update. Great little find, and was available on a free after season one. Shape wise, think Sahnoune but good.

  16. NG – Yep I just wish they’d use VAR like in the 2018 World Cup – get the ref to have another look themselves.

    While my regens came in and looked good straight away my big signing of Dan James from United has taken weeks to start producing. Itching to get a decent session in over weekend and sort out my CF situation. One Regen I bough or even fictional player had all the skills but is hopeless, need to cash in, he’s another Arcas

  17. Paul – Pro is a good balance and has it’s difficult spikes throughout the course of the season. Your close dribbling tips do help draw out fouls.

  18. Tommy – all of that activity should be stretched out over 5-7 seasons though, not all compressed into 2 or less. Makes me uneasy that it’s possible. Konami want even less time spent on Master League it seems. I would bet a lot of money that they’d rather be rid of Master League now and only keep it because they know they can’t be rid of it.

    Paul – my last game of last night’s late session I went to Professional and PA0. It wasn’t a fair experiment though as all my PA0 training of a month or so ago went out the window and I was a noob once more, sending simple passes astray, and the match was a mess! Lost 1-0 to a very active AI which is how things should be on Professional/PA0 so I’m not complaining.

    prsgame – pre-season I was looking forward to all the consternation and drama that would ensue when VAR would enable officials to give ‘big decisions’ (the fact that such a phrase exists in football-speak shows the state of its officiating). Never did I imagine that the ‘big decisions’ would simply continue to be ignored. I remember Michael Oliver giving that clear penalty to Real Madrid last season as an example of something that should be happening all the time – correct decisions, given regardless of context. If I take someone’s Queen in chess my opponent doesn’t grumble that I’ve just taken his bishop and so it isn’t fair. The game is the game. The same pure objectivity should exist in football too, and no, it’s not a matter of opinion whether a defender giving a striker’s arm a little tug is committing (hilarious phrase) ‘enough of a foul’ – it’s just a foul. Ditto that handball. ‘But it would have been very difficult for the referee to give that in the last few minutes’ is simply ruinous to the credibility of football. It amuses me to see all the grabbing and pulling in PES2020, when that is absolutely forbidden by the rules of Association Football, but of course the sport’s rulebook is just a guideline book. Which is startling enough to begin with. What always staggers me is that everyone is OK with that.

  19. Tommy – I’ve got Cuisance too. Great range of passing. I’m playing him as a kind of wide CMF in a midfield diamond.

    I rated my experience with PES 2020 so far as 7/10 yesterday over on Paul PESFX blog. Today it’s 8/10 and rising down to two factors, a change in camera angle and the effect of Team Spirit.

    I’ve never liked Team Spirit. It’s one of the worst elements of nuPES for me. But now my Brighton side’s TS is 70+, it’s like the shackles have been taken off.

    A switch to a customised Dynamic Wide camera has also helped me get to grips with the game better on World Class. I had a prolonged session in the shed last night (yes, the PS4 is now shed-bound except when I have to haul it back indoors for updates). Game after thoroughly enjoyable game saw everything from dull 0-0s to the odd emphatic victory to thrilling 3-3 and a 3-0 defeat.

    I’m almost certain to finish above 21st now and am already plotting for a promotion push next season. I made the mistake of not renewing German Denis’s (my veteran CF) contract in January and he’s since been brilliant with 12 goals in all. I might have to try and get him back.

    The player individuality really is very impressive so far. I really hope TS and/or future patches don’t rob us of the best we’ve seen in this regard since the PS2 classic era of PES.

  20. Darryl – Finding through experimentation that using R2 to trap the ball is essential to keeping possession, Holding L2 (manual modifier) button allows your player to turn sharper and tighter, any pass/shot feints have to be completed a good few yards before the defender otherwise they always dispossess you, when locked into a physical battle, and shielding the ball, using the RS (finesse dribble) to aim away from the tackling player, helps evade their challenges, and quick last minute stabs of the dash (sprint) button at a 45 degree angle as you approach defending players works well for going past them.

  21. I have to say easing off R1 helps massively too. Should only ever be for little bursts of speed. Continuously holding it is almost always going to bring on an AI stab-tackle and loss of possession. I’m slowly zeroing in on my first laces long-ranger, which worryingly hasn’t happened yet, and not sprinting into position is key for this.

  22. NG – Absolutely, clamping sprint will get you nowhere in this game, you should only ever use sprint in 2 situations on PES 20, 1. to dash past a player last minute, and 2 when theres open grass in front of you.

    Shooting whilst sprinting drastically reduces accuracy, aways let go of sprint before powering up a shot from outside the box.

  23. Panico is my favourite signing so far and has now scored 19 goals this season and has a lovely touch on him. Here is scoring a goal I loved. I have picked out the goal as it was unusual as a series of longer passes led to the goal:-

  24. So if you have a regen Robben, Pato and Buffon within your sights, do you sign them as it may be the only chance to play as them or do you pass and forever regret?

    I think if they are some of your favourite players you have to put them in the squad. I’m not going to go for a regen superstar if I didn’t like them.

  25. prsgame – Go for it. Why not? Despite the inflated money and ease of transfers, I have no regrets signing van Persie. He’s been a joy to play with, a true superstar player, even at 37yo. Playing with superstars is something I’m not really used to in PES as I spend all my time playing ML, usually building my way up with a squad of unknown youngsters or early regens. I don’t really get to experience superstars fully fleshed-out, and there’s a noticeable difference about them. It’s where the player identity is, especially the old skool PES players. RVP is different gravy, for sure.

  26. Nice finish Darryl, what ball are you using there?

  27. Interestingly enough they are at clubs marked as ”Other” so they will command a reasonable fee – I can maybe get 2. I think the finances are balanced nicely on Normal but the negotiations are a bit easy.

  28. PRS – I had a nosey in the ‘Others’ category, some tasty looking names in there, many at the twilight stage of their careers, 33 upwards, but still commanding huge salaries, 4-6 mil a year, at the time i couldn’t justify that on a single player that would last maybe 2 seasons tops

  29. Prsgame – I picked up a young Robben at the start of last year’s campaign and he was one of the essential ingredients of a classic Master League year for me. I would do the same again and probably will with someone or other. I was testing the water with Ozil and Wanyama and today Payet. Could have got any of them on Hard, which isn’t good, but the getting of such players is part of Master League’s appeal for me.

  30. It’s as much a type of player rather than a name this year which is fantastic.

    I scored the best header at lunch so hopefully, it saved. A big loopy cross too close to the keeper and my cf beat him to the ball and nodded it over him before clattering the keeper. Fantastic and not seen for many a year. Proper amateur league stuff.

  31. surprised it wasnt given as a foul to the com PRS

  32. Paul – I haven’t changed the ball so it will be the default one.

  33. darryl – Ahh the new PES20 ‘Regista’ then.
    Just asked as where some people love boots, faces and tattoos, im a ball whore. Love ball designs where you can see it spinning, so something with a pattern on it.

  34. Something that you all might want to try: tapping L1/left bumper regularly while dribbling, especially when combined with slight left stick adjustments, has an effect on AI pressing – and profoundly so with heavy pressing.

    It’s not documented in the manual, and it doesn’t appear to be some secret “micro-touch” feature. But the difference it makes to building attacks on Superstar is quite literally game-changing. It seems to stop the AI from constantly charging in. It’s still hard to deal with, but you don’t get the same oppressive in-your-face attention from one moment to the next.

    My theory is that L1 might be misleading the code that reads and interprets your inputs, making it anticipate a lofted through-ball or one-two. The best way to potentially defend against such passes is to stand off – therefore, the AI forgoes the full intensity of its usual barrage of bodies to guard the space that you might move into.

    Something else that’s interesting: on Superstar, I can confidently state that match difficulty is linked to the opposing team’s league position. Also, in a change from Top Player, teams at the bottom of the table don’t seem to be quite so defensive. At the moment, I’m beating lower teams with relative comfort, having hard-fought battles with sides in the middle of the pack, and being effortlessly blown away by the top five or six.

    On a more downbeat note, Team Roles (Youth Prospect, Protégé, et al) are bugged for all AI sides. If a player doesn’t have a hard-coded role from your starting database, they won’t get one unless *you* sign and play them. As roles are removed when a player is regenerated, all Team Roles except for those that you effectively create will die out over the course of a career.

    This is a really dumb oversight: the Team Roles feature is one of the best ML additions of recent times, and something that makes it worthwhile to stick with longstanding squad members, or sign players that are perhaps past their prime.

  35. Evening NG and co, quick question for you all, what’s the best OF to go for? I’ve got the Pesworld one on at the moment just wondered if that’s the best one? Looks like there’s a few different sources out there? Has anyone used the Pes Universe ones? It’s been a few years since I’ve played PES properly so any help is mightily well received!

  36. James — is it possible the L1 taps for a split-second make the AI think you’re another player completely and so get tugged that-a-way for enough time to lessen the pressure? Not tried it myself yet.

    Stewdog – PES Universe’s OF is free now and perfectly serviceable. Time was I didn’t bother with an OF, just changed all the team names and got going. It was PES2013, I think, before I started and it does make a great difference.

  37. NG – Possibly. However the code interprets it, it’s making a difference. Input reading (usually married with “button delay” effects when you try to pass and shoot), stat boosts and the narrow+deep defensive style are the cornerstones of AI defending in single-player PES and FIFA alike on higher difficulty settings. With Superstar stacking so much against you, it’s nice to know that there’s a way to deal with the relentless pressing when you get into the opposition half.

    I’ve just finished my half-season with Everton, dragging them out of the relegation positions to a comfortable 11th place by the end of the year. Sadly, most of the final matches were all against sides lower in the division, who have all now started parking the bus as they were on Top Player. When the games open up, they’re really good – but it’s mostly a case of attempting to tip-toe through a third of a pitch full of charging bulls.

    The whole game is patently unfinished, and lacking those final touches that can make all the difference, but I don’t blame the devs. They just had to put down their pens when the examiner called out, and turn in what they had. I just hope they have a clear and coherent vision for October’s “retakes” patch…

  38. James – Tiptoe Through charging bulls is a good one.
    Do you think the devs have spent too long watching too many matches involving teams like Man City, Liverpool Et all instead of going down the leagues and getting the basics right? I can see those two teams especially hunting in packs then they apply this logic to teams that shouldn’t be doing it all in the name of difficulty.

    Maybe PEP has ruined PES for us since that Barcelona team.

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