Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
Zagora Athletik somehow managed to survive relegation in their first ever season in Liga Regale, despite not winning in their first 8 games and a shocking second half of the campaign.
Our survival this season was wholly dependent on a strong run of form between November and mid-December, in which we won 4 and drew 2 of our 7 seven games. In other words, 45% of our 31 points all season.
Things won’t get much easier next season as we are expected to battle bravely against relegation and don’t have the cash to compete at this level of football. But here’s what the board are expecting of us:
Excitingly, the board have now found a location for a new stadium and secured planning permission. The imaginatively named Zagora Stadium, 19,284 capacity stadium should be completed in 12 months time, in June 2023.
Worryingly, it does require the board taking out a £20 million loan, although there is a stadium sponsorship deal worth £7.5 million. And, due to these debts, the club lowered our incoming transfer revenue percentage to a shocking 10%.
But for now, let’s reflect on the season just gone.
2021/22 key performers
It’s safe to say we were very goal-shy this season. Indeed, we only scored a league-low of 23 in our 34 Liga Regale games, but only conceded 47 – which I think isn’t too bad when you look at our team. By comparison, bottom of the league Wabani Athletik leaked 80 goals!
Summer signing Aatami Begovic top-scored with 10 goals in all competitions and 9 in the league. And our next top scorers were first-choice wingers Martin Goronda and Tryfon Tahani with 5 each. Centre-back Boris Agha got 3 goals and left-back Acrisio Aberg scored 2 penalties, while only 4 players scored 1 each.
Goronda was our main source of creativity with 6 assists, followed by Tahani and Mirco Bjerg with 5 each. Aberg only got 2 and right-back Arkadios Gram only got 1, which always concerns me from full-backs.
Record signing Bjerg was our top performer with an average of 7.11 in 39 matches, although he worryingly didn’t score all season. The next 4 best performers tells you everything you need to know about our season. Boris Agha had an impressive average rating of 7.05 in 33 matches, followed by loanee Yabe Avitabile (6.99), holding midfielder Jeremias Burunda (6.94) and left-back Aberg (6.93).
Bjerg unsurprisingly took home to fans’ player of the season with 48% of the vote, followed by centre-back pairing Agha (24%) and Avitabile (17%).
Unpicking eyebrow-raising season stats
Interestingly, we had the 4th highest possession in Liga Regale this season with an average of 55% – which was 1% higher than champions Aswijan Malikiy. And we completed the most passes in the entire league with 18,417, nearly 500 more than nearest challenger Khaliza Undidi on 17,961 and 1,500 more than the champions.
Despite all that possession, we had the least number of shots on target in the entire league with just 116 – 9 less than Hadria Oskat and 39 less than next lowest CSSC. Aswijan Malikiy had the most with 357 – more than triple our tally! While Hadria’s Lucas Ocampos had 92 shots on target on his own.
We also created the second least amount of chances with just 49 all season. However, we had the joint 4th best shot conversion rate of 10%, only bettered by two teams on 12% and one on 11%.
Linked to this, we had the least crosses completed with just 92 – 48 behind the next lowest, which is pretty bad – and the lowest cross completion of just 14%.
And we were the second least fouled against in the entire league, despite our possession stats. We were also one of two teams not to receive a penalty all season, but conceded 8 . This confirms my sneaking suspicion that we don’t get the rub of the green from referees in this league.
We also failed to score a goal from a direct free-kick and only 3 from indirect free-kicks, which was more than four teams, and a second lowest in the league of 1 goal from corners. So set pieces clearly need some work, especially as we’re playing for set pieces!! While crossing and chance creation also need some attention given the amount of possession we have.
We also have by far the lowest attendance record in the league with an average lowest of around 11,000, to which the next lowest is around 15,000. Maybe that will change when we go back home to Zagora?
How our players stacked up
Bjerg finished the season with the most key passes in the entire league, with 89 in 34 matches – 1 more than Marrador’s Bastiano Roberto and 11 more than Aswijan Siti’s Viktor Penttila. While Burunda had the league’s joint highest pass completion ratio of 93% and Navneet Timsit was 18th with 91%. So that’s interesting to consider given the above…
The best performing attackers were Goronda and Tahani on 6.84 across the season. And interestingly, Tahani and Berg covered the third and fourth most ground in the league with 253 and 248 miles at an average of 7.9 and 7.4 per 90 minutes respectively.
Aberg made the second most mistakes in the league with 86, 2 of which led to goals, while he also made the 5th most key tackles. Not sure what that tells us! But Agha and Avitabile were well up there in the most interceptions and key headers categories and Avitabile blocked the 3rd most shots, all of which is unsurprising.
Rune Azevedo held the second most saves in the league and parried the 4th most, and also made a league-high penalty saves of 3. I think he stands a decent chance of winning the goalkeeper of the season award.
Begovic finished as the joint 16th highest goalscorer with 9, while the league’s top scorer was Marrador’s Kareem Chardin with 18 from just 25 appearances.
A look around Europe
I only have leagues other than Aswijan on view-only so I can’t see much of what’s happened. But if you are interested in who’s won what over the first three seasons then, here you go…
Liverpool have won the Premier League every season and Juventus have won 3 consecutive titles. Real won the first La Liga and Barcelona won it this season, Bayern won the first two Bundesliga and Borussia Dortmund, who’ve held on to Sancho and Haaland, just won the most recent one.
Liverpool just won the Champions League 1-0 against Dortmund in the final. Aswijan Malikiy reached the quarter finals and lost 3-1 on aggregate to Real Madrid while Marrador and Aswijan Siti, who just sacked their manager after finishing 4th in the league, both reached the first knockout round and went out to Atletico and Dortmund respectively. Barca and Man City won it the previous two years.
While Aswijan had its first European success as Aldaia lifted the Europa League, winning the final on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Chelsea. Lazio and Roma won it in the first two seasons.
Join us next time to discover how we go about preparing for a second season in Liga Regale with plenty of rebuilding required.