Are you finding it tough to get to grips with the limited playing abilities of the likes of Espimas, Valeny, Ivarov and Castolo? Left wondering when, where and how your next Master League victory is going to happen? Well fear not as this guide is designed to help you overcome your Master League nightmares, instructing you on the steps that can be taken to propel you up the Division 2 table and achieve promotion to the promised land.
Who knows, with a few slight tweaks to your Master League game plan, you could soon be dreaming of trips to the Bernabeu and San Siro, tackling Europe’s best in the European Championship! But alas, let’s take things one step at a time eh!
Playing the transfer market
If you want to develop your side into promotion contenders rather than just mid-table makeweights then it is going to be vitally important that you make the right moves in the transfer market. I always find it difficult to accumulate enough cash during the first season to make an assault on the market but if you are fortunate enough to be able to acquire a player in the first transfer window then I would strongly advise it.
My first suggestion would be to sign either a striker or attacking midfielder as goals bring you wins which in turn earns you money to spend on potential new signings! It’s always a good bet to search for players according to their openness to negotiation as this way you will filter out any targets that are simply uninterested in a move. Another good ploy is to search for players by future potential as buying a youngster with the ability to develop over a few years will certainly stand you in good stead for the future.
Ok so you’ve picked out the player you want and now it’s time to nail the negotiation process. I tend to test the resolve of the selling club in question by offering a lower amount to start with, gradually increasing the transfer fee as the weeks develop. Obviously you have to be careful not to exceed the negotiation period but this way you won’t be getting your pants pulled down over a ludicrous price. I would also add that you should be wary of your overall budget as working outside of your financial means could result in a game over if you don’t accumulate enough victories and goals.
If you are struggling to raise enough points to spend on transfers then your best bet is to arrange an abundance of pre-season friendlies. At the end of the season play as many as you possibly can to ensure that you receive enough cash to spend on that potentially decisive new recruit.
Pace, pace and more pace!
If the sub-title wasn’t a giveaway, the key to Master League success for me is attributed to a team that possesses considerable speed throughout. I would recommend that you have atleast one striker that has pace in abundance and equally important would be having two wide players who have the acceleration to test the often sluggish Division 2 full-backs.
When you are in advanced positions with a player who has decent stats for dribbling and speed/acceleration, don’t be frightened to test the opposition by running at them and weaving in and out. If you manage to beat the full-back with your winger this can afford you the luxury of cutting inside and having a shot or even laying the ball off to your striker’s who may be better placed in the box.
As important as it is to have pace to burn in attacking situations, a quick back four will ensure you rarely get undone by that frustratingly simple through ball into space and for me, speed and acceleration are equally, if not more, crucial attributes for a defender as tackling is. In addition a centre-back with good speed could prove vital in making up for the mistakes that the likes of Ruskin, Giersen, Stremer and the like will inevitably make.
Play the passing game
It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to tell you that a decent passing game will stand you in good stead for success in the Master League. Although keeping possession in the lower echelons of Division 2 really can be the difference between success and failure.
In this sense it is vital that you don’t just panic and hoof it forward whenever you have the ball in defence. Other than when you are under extreme pressure, try your best to calmly play the ball out and get your strongest attacking player’s on the ball whenever possible.
Get your formation right!
There is no sure fire formation that will guarantee success for your team but I always find that a solid 4-4-2 is the best way forward. In my experiences a team that plays 4-4-2 with three attack minded midfielders and one defensive midfielder playing the Mascherano/Essien role sets a solid foundation.
Obviously at times you will need to adapt your formation to preserve a lead or chase a victory. For instance, say you need to grab a couple of goals, a 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 system would probably be the most sensible approach. Similarly if you need to park the proverbial bus in front of your goal to stem the flow of your opponents then a 5-4-1 or 5-3-2 formation will provide you with that extra defensive cover.
While I’m not telling you to be as vigorous in your squad rotation policy as Rafa Benitez, possessing a decent size squad and utilising each member can prove an effective approach in the Master League.
Unlike real life, form doesn’t really count for anything on Pro Evolution Soccer whereas fatigue can be a detrimental stumbling block to your progress that needs to be addressed. I would suggest that before each and every match you should check the fatigue levels of your players on the formation screen and remove from your starting line-up any players that are struggling.
Similar to fatigue is the condition arrows that must be taken into account if you are to be triumphant in Master League mode. Try to play as many players who have red or yellow up arrows as possible as the arrows specify just how quick off the mark or sluggish a player will prove to be. Be aware that you are taking a risk by playing those that have blue or even worse, grey arrows as they will be significantly slower to react during the match.
On a final note, while a game is progressing make sure you keep an eye on the stamina bar below the player’s name and don’t hesitate to make a change if one or more of your players are struggling to keep up with the pace of the game.