It's been all go even this early in the season, Chelsea and Liverpool sitting pretty at the top of the table, Hull City disproving the old adage about promoted teams heading straight back down and best gag so far, the fake train announcement recording a 'points failure in the Tottenham area'.
But a new season also always brings a new round of gaming challenges as the annual FIFA versus Pro Evolution battle kicks-off. With FIFA already out and winning plaudits for its playability and polish, PES 2009 has certainly got to raise its game in this most ultra competitive of premier gaming leagues.
So it was with bated breath we recently journeyed to the PES European Championships in Rome to catch up with Pro Evolution Soccer 2009's creator Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka to learn the latest about this year's game.
In a round table interview, we heard his thoughts on the latest version of Pro Evo and covered topics as diverse as the online mode, improvements to the PS3 version, whether he'd take FIFA's game engine if it was offered to him and even how this year's Euro 2008 tournament affected PES development. Here's what we discovered...
We're at the PES European finals with some of the greatest PES players in the game. Do you take a lot of pride watching those games? Does it spoil your enjoyment when players spot flaws or bugs in the AI and exploit them?
Seabass: Well both actually because when I'm creating the game, I have to say that over the years when I see people play in this tournament the more I get ideas about how I can make it better again every year. Changing the program, things like that, that really helps me. With the game when people try to beat the AI, that's no problem, because that's all part of the game. So it doesn't really frustrate me.
I do actually have other feelings when I see people try to beat the AI, I am already making plans on how to beat them back! There's a lot of enjoyment for me when I think about that. But most of all you know, attending this event is really exciting because I can see the enjoyment people have and it gives me power when I go back to Japan to create the next one. Overall I have a very good feeling about the game and the tournament.
This is the second year of PES on PS3. What kind of advantages has that extra year given you to harness the power of the platform?
Seabass: Yes, this is our second or additional year on PS3 and it was very precious to us. Speaking quite frankly PES 2009 to me, when I finished it, I felt I was pretty well satisfied with it.
PES 2008 was how we started on next generation and it takes time on next gen consoles to boost performance on the machine, to optimise it to what we ideally really wanted to do. It was the same on PS2.
So I can say in future years that I think performance will go higher but you'll see right away there is an improvement this year.
Many players use the Wide Angle to play PES, but end up not seeing the great new stadiums you've designed. Do you think we'll ever see a new camera angle which combines ease of play with real cinematic feel?
Seabass: Yes, we know for a fact that many players use the wide angle and camera angles are always really important. Looking at the TV for example, football matches on that, we understand it's a kind of wide view which is the norm, a little bit like this, but a little bit more slanted, that's the normal TV view. We did try to pursue this for a little while but we ended up realising we'd have to sacrifice some of the game's control. So for the game, wide is pretty much the default view for a lot of players.