Pro Evolution Soccer 2009: Guide

Guide: How to master the beautiful game


1. Pick the right team
Whether you're playing against the AI or one of your mates, you've got to pick the team with the best players to win. Now this is bloody obvious but as West Brom season-ticket holder, you might feel yourself leaning towards them but only do this if you're already PES savvy. Anyways, the top ten club teams you want to be looking at are: Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Juve, Barca, Real Madrid and Valencia. These are the most balanced teams in the game with tight defensive players, tricky dribblers and top goal-scorers. For national teams try Brazil, Argentina, France, Holland or even England.

2. Choose the right tactics
Set yourself up in the 4-3-3 C formation for the best balance all over the pitch. Make sure your left winger (LWF) and right-sided bloke (RWF) are lightening quick like Arjen Robben of Real Madrid or Cristiano Ronaldo of Man Yoo and they'll cause all manner of problems for opposing defenders. Previous PES games used to be about drafting a big man in to play at the point and nod in crosses from your flankers but headers aren't as successful as before so just drop in a keen finisher like Crespo or Van Nistelrooy for great results. On the flip-side if you've got Valencia's giant Nik Zigic in the middle then you can toss in long balls and watch him eat them up all day like big football pies.

3. Get the settings right
Before you march out to victory, head into 'Simple Settings' on the formation screen. In here you can change a small, but completely relevant, setting which will determine how your team attacks and defends called Change Match A/D Levels. If you leave it as 'balanced' your team will defend when they've got the lead or press up the field in search on an equaliser if you go a goal behind. While this means that the AI deals with these things it does leave your back-line open to counters so go for Manual to keep players where they are.

4. On the pitch
There's 90 virtual minutes to each match so don't feel like you have to rush things. When in possession keep the ball for as long as possible by knocking it around between the midfield and the defence. This will give you time to probe holes in your opponent's defence and if you're playing against another person, rile them up no-end meaning they'll lose concentration and you can roll them over easily. In said 4-3-3 formation keep hitting the flanks by using your midfield maestros, like Xavi or Fabregas, to pick out near-impossible through-passes when the opposition slip out of position. The lobbed through pass is king in PES 2009 so wait for your moment and then chip it over the defenders to get your striker clean through on goal.

5. The basics
The play in PES 2009 has become far more languid than the zippy arcade feel of old, which means you're going to have to speed your actions up. As the ball comes to feet start looking for a pass because you don't want to be caught in possession. Point your player in the direction of your desired recipient before you tap pass because unless you've got a technically sound player like Berbatov, a blind pass / flick / back-heel will almost certainly go awry. With an improved dribbling system, there's very little need to hold sprint as simply twisting left and right with someone like Ronaldinho will see you tie-up defenders in knots and create time for you to squeeze the run button to get away. Shooting? No need to hold the button down anymore because the ball will balloon over the bar and into row Z with this method. Just tap shoot when you've got a sight of goal and the ball will glide just above the surface like a rocket. However, the likes of Steven Gerrard and Inter's Adriano can are adept at smashing the ball on-target with a long press of the button.

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