Category: goal replay

Lescott said, Son is mended

pes2017-season-3-just-won-it

Season 3 has wound to a finish. I dashed for the line in the end, playing the last 12 or so matches across two sessions close together. Setting aside some growing concerns about where the mature PES2017 gameplay is headed, I enjoyed an exhilarating run-in where I was nip-and-tuck with Aston Villa at the top of the table for the last few matches. I never managed to overhaul them, but kept getting close. Of course on the last day it was still all to play for, as it so often is in Master League.

I have a tradition in PES of going up in 2nd place, and for the longest time it seemed that would be how it’d go again. I met Cardiff in the last match and they were tough. I was behind twice, and fortunate to come away with the draw.

At the final whistle my team celebrated and I knew I’d won the league. A special feeling, particularly as it’s something I rarely do. 90% of my promotions in PES have been in 2nd, so this was special.

pes2017-season-3-final-table

I was festooned with garlands:

pes2017-season-3-lavished-with-praise

The roll of honour

season-3-roll-of-honour

Look at the kerning on GALLARJO between the R and the J. Shudder.

Only 3 players in the Team of the Tournament, though – about right, I’d say. Rice was a great performer for me again but he missed about 7 matches through suspensions.

pes2017-season-3-tott

That £18m of made-up money I spent on Friday pre-season was money very well spent.

pes2017-season-3-top-scorers

And finally some highlights from my run-in – can you guess what my favourite goal is from these? It’s not the one you think…

No, it’s not the Son rasper from 30 yards, although I liked that too (his first contribution of note since returning from that December training injury). Lescott’s scissors kick (and it is a scissors kick, not a bicycle kick) is also nice, but not something I felt particularly exultant over. Him kissing the screen was a surprise though.

My favourite goal in this clip is Cahill’s slotted finish from 0:55. It seems so straightforward, but I needed a goal like that. It came at a time when I was getting really pissed-off with Top Player’s fast and furious nature. I just wanted to put my foot on the ball and play a killer pass, and I did so.

I do end Season 3 on a high – with some misgivings, but on a high. This Master League is the best we’ve had since PES2012.

I’m looking forward to the Premier League, and to what will probably be an immediate transition to Superstar.

I’ve decided not to spend any more time on Top Player unless I have to.

I only moved up from Professional to Top Player mid-season, so my switch up now to Superstar is sudden – but necessary.

I’ve found Top Player to be extremely fast and furious, making PES2017 seem a lot more like PES2016 than I ever want it to be.

From that mid-season point onward, fouls all but disappeared completely from my game. Around 60% of my matches now end with no fouls against me at all. The remaining 40% end with a token 1 or 2. I never have any matches with more than that now. Rivals matches are the worst for this, as I believe the game represents the famous ‘referee showing a bit of common sense’ and hardly awards any fouls at all.

Low-fouls and no-fouls matches are typically insane, frantic, end-to-end affairs that have little deep interest for me. I never finish a fouls-free game thinking ‘what fun that was! the action neva stopped!!!’

I want and need PES2017 to go back to being the stellar 9/10 game I was playing a season or so ago.  The means a game that can be fast and slow. That features regular stoppages in play. Where I’m discouraged from sprint-sliding all over the place as my number 1 mode of defence. I’m hoping the Premier League on Superstar will make the second half of Season 3 on Top Player seem like an anomaly.

The stars are bright

Not much time to write a long post today, but I have got a longish compilation of some recent notable goals. My two main men — Friday and Rice — being very much to the fore. Two stars in the firmament.

The main news is that I’ve moved up to Top Player and the quality of the game has taken a proportional leap forward.

Professional was only tolerable so long as I was being handicapped for lowish Team Spirit. As soon as I started waltzing through matches with little challenge from the AI, it was time to move up before that positive ‘PES2017 feeling’ stagnated.

Top Player has been a shot in the arm. I find the matches very competitive, with an intriguing step up in headed opportunities, as today’s clip will show. I’ve gone to about 1 in 8 chances being headed now. This is close to me having to agree that, yes, PES2017 is a header-friendly edition of the series.

Some of these goals were on Professional, but most came after the move up to Top Player:

I did a good bit of business – my Most Important Player has signed a new contract for the next 3 years:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161101191136

The question is, where will the team – and Rice – be in 3 seasons’ time? Will he sign a new one? As the above video shows, he’s very important to the team. A kind of Bryan Robson-Coynborough lovechild.

pes2017-season-3-halfway-pointI’m fielding a starting formation without an official DMF for the first time since… ever. In practice both Rice and Bartual (new signing) function very well as DMF-style CMFs, but it makes me uneasy. Expect this state of affairs not to last long.

After a match that saw me storm back from 1-0 down to win 1-3 away from home – on Top Player, that’s a great win – the post-match blurb made interesting reading…

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161101183853

…because it makes absolutely no sense at all.

The table after 26 matches:

pes2017-season-3-after-28

And here is the current top scorers’ chart. That £18m was imaginary money well-spent:

pes2017-season-3-top-scorers-after-28

AND FINALLY TODAY – THIS HAPPENED:

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161031183242

He was back during December, none the worse for his brief ordeal.

 

The Prodigal Son

pes2017-a-streakI’m going to stick my neck out and predict a Season 3 promotion. I win nearly all the time now. My 4-2-4 attacking formation purrs.

The game is still chucking the occasional bafflingly hard match at me, where I’ll fail to score, concede a dubious one myself and lose 1-0, or only get a draw, or something. But the overall trend is heading just one way.

Here’s the table after 17 matches, a few weeks short of the mid-season window:

pes2017-season-3-after-17

I could do with scoring a few more goals. And so far, PES2017’s reputed avalanche of headed goals has yet to materialise for me. I have scored a few headers more than before. But it’s a case of going from 1 header in 15 goals to 1 header in 10 goals. Something like that.

And it’s not for want of trying. Some matches I’ll get an early goal or two, perceive that the AI isn’t going to offer any threat, and spend the rest of the match pinging crosses from all angles at my strikers — whose number now also includes Tim bloody Cahill. Except he’s still only a 17-year-old Regen, and contributes little for now.

A prediction here: Tim Cahill is going to be a big player for me in this ML. I’ve already seen enough of him as a general striker to convince me of this — and he’s even got himself a couple of headers.

I’ll also predict that my eventual Premier League-winning side, in however many seasons that takes, will feature Rice-Friday-Cahill in some manner.

Team of the Month for November is interesting for a couple of reasons:

pes2017-season-3-november-team-of-the-monthFirst, it’s got Lobato up front alongside Heung-min Son. Ever since I said that Lobato’s days are numbered, he’s been pretty decent actually. Bagged a couple of goals, a couple of assists. He’s stood out more.

A similar thing happened with Friday last season. He only sparked into life after I’d agreed to sell him.

I have yet to make any kind of move toward shipping out Lobato, so I will see how he does.

And then there’s Heung-min Son, an £8m import from Spurs that might be one of the best bits of business I’ve ever done in any ML. He’s brilliant as my RWF, and can step up to play SS when required. Playing a 4-2-4 requires observing player positional discipline, which means keeping my fingers off the sprint-clamp buttons. Nothing worse than unconsciously bearing down on the accursed buttons and suddenly seeing your players playing all over the place. Refraining from sprint-clamp enables me to notice how effectively, or not, players play their positions. Son is a hard-working, skilled wing-forward.

Oh, and he has scored a goal that I might be able to regard as my first true long-ranger. Here it is:

I’ve been enjoying nurturing Rice, the one Default I kept on who seems to be going somewhere.

I regret shipping out many of the Defaults now, before they had a proper chance to shine. How many other Rices might be among their number? Probably not many, to be fair, but undoubtedly there must be some.

I recall that just before I sold R JARVIS, one of the Default strikers, he started showing a bit of form. So I’ve thought about bringing him back, and considering the last season a loan spell.

When I went looking for Friday after selling him, the asking price was £18m. Jarvis’s new club are asking for slightly less:

looking-at-bringing-back-jarvis

I’ll easily find the cash to complete that deal from somewhere, and Jarvis will be back.

And so I head towards promotion. I have a feeling it’ll be something of a procession now. So I’m tempted to step the difficulty up to Top Player in January, but maybe that’s an experience I’ll want to savour in the Premier League. I’ll see just how straightforward (or not) the next 5 or so matches are for me on Professional before making up my mind.

The Header Master Ritual

friday-return-going-ok

The man. The myth. The goal machine. (Sort of.)

The Championship top scorers list after 10 matches:

season-3-top-scorers-after-10-matches

The return of F FRIDAY to my Master League team’s fold has so far been an almost unqualified success. £17.9m for a player in the Championship? I hardly batted an eye at the cost. Worth every imaginary penny.

Many readers have already seen this highlights video of my 3-0 demolition of Leeds at the start of Season 3:

My favourite goal is actually Rice’s ruler-straight volley from 20 yards. But Friday’s goals were proper ‘black Schwarz’ goals: both powerful strikes from outside the box that the revered German striker used to be adored for.

Friday is 23 years old in my game. I should get 7-10 more good seasons out of him. Where will the story take him, and me? This is what Master League is all about.

The same goes for Rice, my star midfielder, the second coming of Coynborough in all but name. Master League is about building a story, building an experience, brick by brick.

My pre-season wheeler-dealering culminated in this First XI, this Squad – and this surprising new formation:

pes2017-season-3-4-2-4

Talking points? Quite a few.

That startling 4-2-4 with WFs – a massive departure for me.

Depay in on loan, and surprisingly good. PES is individuality-lite these days, as we all know, but Depay feels like something different.

Regen Tim Cahill. He popped up on a search for header-friendly players. I’m interested in finding out if PES2017’s ‘famous’ header-friendly nature is real, or a vast unlikely conspiracy against me.

Son Heung-min. Or is it Heung-min Son? Whichever, just £8m from Spurs for an 80-rated quality player like that? How could I refuse?

Regen Aaron Lennon from my Youths. So far indistinguishable from Downing. I know they both need time though.

A few other Youths have been brought in to pad out the squad.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2017_20161025011042

But what about that 4-2-4?

I’ve been tinkering with formations a lot recently, having admitted defeat in trying to stick with my favoured 4-2-2-2.

The 4-2-4 functions quite well. It is, of course, very goals-oriented, as can be seen by the table after 10 matches:

pes2017-season-3-after-10My current ratio of 1.2 goals per game across 10 matches is a step up from my 0.8 goals per game across the whole of last season.

Alas, swashbuckling as it is, the 4-2-4 is not going to last.

The table above suggests why. 3 matches lost already. 2 drawn. Only 5 goals conceded, but they were telling goals. That’s too many points dropped.

A 4-2-4 is such a fragile flower. It’s far too midfield-lite, and midfield is where the AI gets friskiest when it decides to get frisky.

Rice and Petsos cope well enough, as long as my front 4 are firing on all cylinders and pinning the AI back. But when the goals aren’t flying in, and the AI is in the mood to be stubborn – which is often – I really feel the lack of at least one extra body in midfield.

I’m toying with the notion of pulling back one of the front two to play as a central AMF. That would make it a 4-5-1 formation, and I’m not sure I can stomach that. 4-5-1 is one of the key factors involved in destroying ‘real-life’ football as a spectator sport.

Whatever I choose to do, Lobato’s days are numbered.

Lobato is a peculiar example of a player who plays below his stats for me. I’ve had him for almost 2 full seasons now, since the mid-season window of Season 1, and can barely remember a single good thing he’s done. I think I remember him getting an important goal in a match back in Season 1 or something. That’s about it.

I will be cashing in on Lobato in the coming midseason window, barring a miraculous Friday-style burst-to-life routine.

Lobato is officially a resounding flop for me. Proof, if proof were needed, that there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for Pro Evo success. Don’t even start me about these headers. I’ve now played lots of games with a 4-2-4, flung dozens of crosses of all types into the mixer, and scored maybe one header.

One final thing today – a video oddity.

For many editions of PES now it has been my habit to bring my GK up to take late corners when I’m behind. It enables me to have all my outfield players in or around the box. Leave it late enough and even if the AI wins the ball back, the ref usually blows the final whistle, so there’s hardly ever danger to your own goal.

Hardly ever…

We’re used to seeing AI teams fluff glaring opportunities like that. My respect for the PES2017 AI was already pretty high, but went up a notch when its advanced striker took that potshot from 35 yards.

The game was lost anyway, but I was still relieved not to concede there. I didn’t want my imaginary goalkeeper to feel bad about his life. Isn’t that peculiar?

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