Baranello

Baranello

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 11:56

The Tales of The Old Tart - Episode 2

In the previous episode I sketched out how my story of PEN started and how the shape of my team evolved during Season 3 (my frst in the league). In this episode I will recall my best and most beloved players in the subsequent seasons, lifting a veil a little bit on my team building philosophy and why I see certain players more fit for my idea than the others.

Episode 1 ended with just a mention of Altidore. I brought him in in March 2014, that would be short before Season's end, when I must have known Do Prado would be sunsetting soon enough after his departure to some MLS team. 

There's a very strong reason why a guy like him would be draggin my attention. Remember, I mentioned a bit of an unfavourable position when playing online against UK-based guys. So when your button response time is below fluent, or, satisfactory at times, you need to rely on other player qualities than great dribbling or skills/tricks. Altidore was not a tekker, not at all. But he had decent, pace, strenght of an ox and a powerful shot. He was also quite agile compared to his physical dimensions. That's why he suited me perfectly - he was hard to knock of the ball, he found breathing space very well with his pace, and he stood his ground with his back to the goal to set up Mayuka for scoring opportunities. He scored his own load as well, can't remember numbers, but he must have been my top scorer at that time. He eventually drifted away after leaving Sunderland for the MLS, most natural direction for an American, so Konami 'faked' him in PES2015, and as much as I loved him, I decided to venture into the new areas.

With Altidore's departure halfway down Season 6, the main striker position was open. I tried different options then and learned on my own example that seeing a player pulling insane performance for somebody else, does not necessary mean he'd do the same for you. I remember one game in particular, I lost to SkobiWanKenobi and he scored like 4 or 5 goals with Filip Djordievic, serbian striker. Not long afterwards I had an opportunity to grab this player on the market, a true 84-rated slag. Guess what, he was hardly ever on a good form, and when he was, he was a shadow of the player I remembered from this game. He seemed to have all the qualities I needed - good balance, attacking prowess, hell, even a Goal Poacher card, but I just could not expose that. Maybe because his better foot was left? I never had much luck with lefties.

 

I had a brief encounter with Peter Odemwingie, he was a bit better, but eventually the bullseye was Roberto Soldado:

What a player that was. I remember getting him from Bluebird for some modest fee, and the reason was I used to play with Tottenham in Online Divisions, and he partnered there with Chadli and Eriksen to pull out some amazing things for me. So when he became available, I got him in in no time and it was one of those golden strikes on the market. Roberto had a grim time then in real life, his Spurs position was shaky, he eventually moved out to Villareal, and in fact, his PES stats were not that impressive compared to that Djordievics for example. But still, his decent agility, good attacking prowess, great kicking power and finishing along with strong heading made his my sweetspot. He carried me on over Seasons 6 to 9. It must have been his Fox in the Box card that made him deadly in front of goal, with that nippy shot from virtually every place inside the box. He also contributed much into the first line of defence on opponents half. He hardly ever failed me and he will be remembered and revered in the clubs I managed until my time on PEN is done.

Going through spreadsheets, there's one more player I must mention: Henrique . There are truly a lot of Brazilians going by that name, easily mistaken one for another. I traded him in for Jason Puncheon during Season 3, he was a solid 74-rated CB back then, with good defensive stats. He partnered with Zebina, whom I mentioned already before, aided by Fabio Aurelio, Clyne and Mathieu on the wingback, they formed quite decent defensive formation. With an advent of new engine in 2014, he was boosted to an impressive 83 rating owing that to great season at Bordeaux and he remained the cornerstone of my defence. As a proper centreback should, he was almost 190cm tall, with an appropriate mass and ugly face to scare opponents strikers. I kept him until he was renamed twice to a fake name: first, Horincko, then P. Malafaia in PES 2016, only to let him go at the brink of Season 10. Imagine a player staying with any PEN team for over 6 seasons? And he still was pulling great sub performances just before he left. Surely, another club hero in the Hall of Fame.

Now that I think of it, I always preferred strong, physical players. Somehow, it paid off the best for me: Henrique, Soldado, Emenike, Altidore - they all shared quite formidable presence that worked well for me. But also, some other patterns emerge as I recall more on my squads. There was a time when I oozed a deep love and affection based on different predicates. At some point, I managed to gather a nice bunch of Poles for an obvious reasons.... I also drove what I called a pack of rabid Chilean dogs. But thats a completely different story to come in the next episodes....

PS. If you wonder about how good my memory is, wonder no more: I just reach back to the League overview sheets. You can too, find the list below.

Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6
Season 7
Season 8
Season 9
Season 10

 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 10:55

The Tales of The Old Tart - Episode 1

I'm playing my 10th Season since I joined the site. Recent 5th anniversary of the reborn PEN and the fact I've been here for almost 5 years too brought some memories back. Not only memories, but also a hard evidence in the shape of Season 3 League Overview sheet, made we wonder about my favourite players I'd used to have in the course of my PEN League participation.

When I entered the league, I was given the Southampton brand. The way it worked back then, you received the original team with just the most valuable assets stripped, and some cash, like today. There were no customised teams, no overly budget considerations, just the most notable figures were left in the dungeon, and you could enjoy players you knew and liked from the real life. Well, in my case, not exactly :) I come from Poland, and I really liked the idea of having Artur Boruc in my team, he was back then the 1st choice Sotons goalie, and a 79 rated PES player. Guess what? He was considered the most valuable player of the original Saints team and stayed with the Board (which, technically, wasn't called the Board at the time :D). I had to swallow that and enjoy the rest of the merry bunch.

I didn't have very much interest in the EPL at that time, today, I still don't, but keeping up with PEN market requires at least some rudimentary knowledge whos-hot-and-whos-not, otherwise your chances to get screwed skyrocket. Anyway, the guys I got were pretty anonymous to me. I might have known them from some international encounters, but it was only when I joined PEN that I actually started noticing all those unfamiliar figures. When you look at my squad back then, you'd probably by LMAOing right now:

Seeing guys like Lallana, Schneiderlin, Shaw, Ward-Prowse or Yoshida you'd be saying "my gosh, this guy must be clueless" and you'd be right, I was. But honestly, the names don't play in the game and this is what always appealed to me the most - PES performance. And at that time, those later-to-be-greater names would not impress me. Maybe it was me being a shitty PES player, or maybe because of my physical location I was crippled by the lag, but I could never base on high dribbling or technical skills. What worked best for me was high explosive power and that's why my favourite player of them all became Emmanuel Mayuka. The guy was amazing, paired with very good physical stats of Do Prado who provided him with the second ball or simply sent pin-point passes to the little Zambian, they were my best attacking choice of the season, and when only on form I'd play them upfront with no hesitation.

Of course, a starting point on my PEN journey, my starting team, quickly changed shapes and colours, by the end of the season becoming very much different. The youngsters quickly became the top target for in-and-out-epl-knowing guys like Goat, who already knew about the bags of potential carried by likes of Shaw, Schneiderlin or Ramirez. Others like Yoshida or Lallana were on the brink of a larger career already, but I wouldn't see that. Instead, I tried to put together a team of my liking, and a team that would perform satisfactory in PES. At the time of Season end Soton squad was as follows:

You can see the original ranks decimated, while other strangers joined at the same time. I cannot recall the specific reasons for bringing every one of them in, but very well remember why I would be keeping them, at least in PES2013. Demy De Zeeuw - what a guy, inconspicous Dutch international, didn't make a great career in real life, but he seemed like a perfect match to my playstyle. Agile, hard to knock of the ball, with great passing stats and good agility. He was a chief for my team, always on form, always hungry for the ball and tireless midfield dominator, he was also not shy in front of goal and he scored a bunch for me Season 3 onwards. I remember him retiring and AWOLing from PES after PES2015, where he was 72 OVR only, but still took piss on other midfielders in the league.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania demy de zeeuw

Another notable guy who stayed with me until his RL and PES retirement was Jonathan Zebina. French centreback playing for Toulouse, mostly ignored on PEN due to playing for a bum club Toulouse and his late age, he was a cornerstone of my defence. Excellent defensive stas, good pace and explosive power made him my top pick CB throughout 2 or 3 seasons, until he drifted away over the horizon in between Seasons 5 and 6.

And last but not least, the player I acquired near the end of Season 3 - Emenike. Nigerian forward who went into disguise of the fake name already in PES2014, but getting hefty upgrade from 73 to 81 CF, was also my main forward at that time. I remember playing a friendly vs. one of the old xbox guys and he scored 3 goals against me. I said to myself, "shit, I want to have this striker!". Great strength, kicking power, agility, cards - you name it, Emenike (or Emukadji as you please) had it, all at my disposal. His real life story isn't maybe that impressive, but he did heluva lot for my PEN teams and I think he carried the torch until he was replaced by another scoring machine - Altidore....but this is the story to come in one of the next episodes.... 

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania emenike

 

Friday, 19 January 2018 18:34

Kownacki. First steps, first goals!

When you are starting the adventure in pastures new, there's surely a point in making it 'Dawid Kownacki' style. The Polish youngster who was brought into the league in winter BOD window by Baranello, manager of Lokomotiv Tashkent in PS4 Division 2, made his entrance spectacularly enough, by scoring a lovely header in his first game in which he was lined up as a starter. 

Friday, 12 January 2018 08:01

Could this be the breakthrough season?

The last few seasons were not very lucky for Baranello. In his 5th year of service on PEN, his best result so far has been successful playoff fight for promotion in Season 9. Seasons 10 and 11 ended in a massive slump in the table near the season's end, so the hopes for the new Season 12 were close to non-existent for the poor Pole. However, change of brand from former CSKA Moscow to even more exotic Lokomotiv Tashkent must have inspired this veteran manager and as of now, he's holding his own in the top half of the table.

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