Newcastle Boss Alan Pardew Gets 8yr Extension

alanpardewA positive sign of things to come or an over-confident move?  They seem to be the 2 biggest trends to come out of recent news that Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has been signed to an incredible 8 year extension.

Pardew took over the helm in December 2010 after former manager Chris Hughton was shown the door.  Since that time the club has taken on a much more positive direction and has seen some major signings including Demba Ba and  Papiss Cisse.

“I was a bit shocked when it was suggested that an eight year contract was on the table,” said Pardew. “It hasn’t quite sunk in, if I’m being honest, that the club have given me that kind of contract.” (source)

Former Crystal Palace teammate Ian Wright spoke very positively of the extension, telling ESPN, “Pards was never the most blessed footballer technically, he was always a guy who had opinions and thoughts on how the game should be played, so it doesn’t surprise me to see him doing so well,”

I see this move as a positive step up by owner Mike Ashley and an indication that the club are ready to make a serious push to be once again, one of the top clubs in the English Premier League.

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Play To Your Team Strengths… But Don’t Forget Defense

How is season 5 looking for your PPM soccer teams?  If you’re like so many other managers, during the short off-season you probably made a few tweaks to your team to help make them better going into this season.  When preparing for this season, did you have a particular strategy in mind (other that winning, of course)?

Wayne-Rooney-and-Team-7
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United; a team that wins games by prolific offense

Like most team sports, the key to a successful football campaign at PPM is to make sure you play to your team strengths.  Naturally strong teams down the front are going to want to put emphasis on their strikers and focus on winning games by out-scoring them.  It’s worked well for Manchester United in the opening games of this seasons Premier League, has it not?  Teams who are weak up front but have much stronger midfield and/or defense are going to want to play a style that allows for their strongest players to dominate the game.

Playing to your teams strengths brings 2 related topics to relevance.  The first is that of formations, and which ones are best to use for your team.  A highly offensive squad may opt to play 2 or even 3 guys up front and leave the back-end a little open. This will offer a risk of being scored on, but if you have good strikers you will be out-scoring your opponent anyway so it’s not a “huge” issue.  Strong defensive squads may opt to role as much as 5 defenders with 3 down the middle.  This will often work great with 4 midfielders and just 1 forward, but naturally your ability to score goals could be heavily reduced.  Then again, this type of formation is great against those 3 forward type offensive squads.  The important thing to remember when selecting your formation is to use one that plays to your teams strength first, and then to what your opponent is doing.

The other topic that comes up is the topic of defense.  One of the “tweaks” PPM did to the soccer game engine was to have more influence in the attacking zone.  To you this means 2 things; your forwards need to be better than your opponents defense and more importantly your defense needs to be as strong as possible to shut down your opponents forwards.  It is better to draw games than to outright lose them.  

Just something to keep in mind when planning your next match.

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Seasonal Energy Loss: Subbing Players In PPM Soccer

ppmsoccerAn interesting discussion has taken place on the PPM Soccer forums tonight resulting in an interesting piece of information. Did you know, that substitute players will lose the same seasonal energy as those who start the game?

Think about this for a minute, if you sub a player at the 80th minute point in the game, that player is going to play just 10 minutes but will have the same seasonal energy loss as a player who plays the full 90 minutes. So while you may gain fresh legs for the final 10 minutes, you are actually disadvantaged over the course of the season.

The impression that was given by one of the PPM staff is that this will most probably not change in the near future.

It makes me wonder though, when they bring in weighted lines in hockey, will the same (seriously bad) issue happen there as well? Something to think about, i’m sure.

Of course, if you’re not happy about this, you can as always get on the forums and tell PPM how you feel. The more people who raise the issue, the more chance PPM will get a programmer to look into making the game better.

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PPM Soccer Beta: An Introduction

Soccer -  Online Games - Enjoy the taste of victory!

During the last week PPM opened up the beta version of soccer. Have you seen it yet? If not, clicking the link on the right will take you directly to the soccer game.

The initial roll-out of soccer introduced the testers, followed by the PPM team (captains, assistants, moderators etc) and then finally in the last few days to the general membership of PPM through an early entry credit purchase. This early entry, which I will be explaining shortly allows users to join the beta version of soccer and get an up-close look at the game in progress. There has been some debate about the use of the word “purchase”, which I will also be explaining shortly.

Beta Features

The first thing that you should know is that the beta version of soccer is missing quite a bit of the game. Based on my initial quick research, the following sections of the soccer game are currently not live or not released:

  • Team analysis
  • Automatic opponent search feature
  • League statistics & All-Stars
  • Live games (PPM TV)
  • Player statistics
  • Tournaments
  • Individual player history & detailed statistics

There are also quite a few pieces of content still in the native slovak language which have not yet been translated (to other languages).

Lines/Tactics/Gameplay

Like all games, the most important part of the PPM soccer game are the big-3; Team Lineup, Game Tactics and the actual system Gameplay. Those familiar with PPM hockey will understand the soccer tactics fairly easily, as the layout is similar. You will need to understand basic soccer wording but other than that the tactics are an easy follow. The Team Lineup is grosely different to PPM hockey, so don’t expect to simply go to soccer and follow what you’re used to. The lineup system has confused a lot of people and has been labeled as over-complicated a number of times on (and off) the forums. The process involves you first selecting up to 14 players and then from those, placing them in the desired location on the field. It actually “is” that easy in theory, however in practice the whole system is more complicated than it needs to be (in my opinion). The up-side, is that you can place your players in a large range of field positions allowing you true control over where they play.

Gameplay is an unknown factor right now as the PPM TV (live games) features is not active, so there is no way to watch a game in progress and judge how the actual gameplay looks.

30 Credit First-Entry Purchase

This has been an issue of debate between myself and some within the PPM management. As part of the roll-out, PPM have allowed users to get a first-look at soccer by paying a one time 30 credit fee. The purpose of this payment is to ensure that only those truly serious about testing the beta version of the game join right now (to reduce server load). I have been told that this is not a purchase transaction, however I believe that if a user is paying 30 credits, which they would have had to buy in the first place, they are in fact making a transaction to purchase their first-entry team in beta.

Does this first-entry position give you any bonus? No, none at all. It is simply a way for you to play the beta game for 2 weeks before the game is restarted and the full version is launched. The full version is free to all members.

This raises a very valid question… is it worth paying 30 credits to join the beta version of soccer, or does it make more sense to save those credits and simply join the full version at no cost in a few weeks? This is a tough one to answer… actually, no it’s not. No, it is not worth paying 30 credits. You will be paying to join a game that lacks key features such as live games, statistics and analysis and in less than 2 weeks the game will launch fully and your credit purchase will be worth absolutely nothing. My suggestion is to simply wait a few weeks and join for free.

Saying that, if you do have 30 credits laying around and can afford to simply throw them away, getting in the beta soccer game could be worth it, especially if you are a soccer fan.

Beta… Remember that

It is very important to remember that soccer right now is in beta, and therefore there will be bugs and unfinished parts of the game. The developers are busy working on the game and each day we’re seeing different parts of the game improve. I have no doubt that when PPM have released the full version, the game will be much more impressive to watch, review and of course, play.

Not a member of PPM yet? You can join right now for FREE by clicking here.

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