Welcome back to the Aswijan Assignment, a Football Manager 2020 save in the fictional country of Aswijan – using a database created by @Chilled_Moose.
Two-time reigning Aswijan champions Khaliza Unidi didn’t require too much rebuilding in the summer of 2025, which was lucky as we had a pesky Club World Cup competition to play in.
I had no idea the tournament had not only moved to the summer but totally revamped from the former version where only the champions of every continent competed. Now, it’s a baffling situation overloaded with the best teams in the world.
For some reason, my board require me to win it – they don’t even require us to win our league! And our task to do that would be tough as we were drawn in a group with Liverpool and Boca Juniors – which seems harsh given groups like Real Madrid drawing Gremio and LAFC.
We played really well against Liverpool, who still have Firmino, Mané and Salah, the latter of whom gave them the lead early and we deservedly equalised through Dan-Axel Zagadou really late on. They then thumped Boca 5-0, which I guess means we need to better in order to qualify. But we only won 1-0, so we went out. What a pointless competition!
Summer transfer dealings
We brought in £100 million in transfer fees in the summer, led by centre back Dan-Axel Zagadou moving to Inter for £30 million and left-back Arthur Zagré going to Hamjar for £17 million. You’ll see why in a moment…
Left winger Thaaqib Solar, who only scored 5 goals last season, went to Aswijan Siti for £29 million and left-bbaand backup goalkeeper Rune Azevedo, who was in the last year of his contract having joined for free from my former club Zagora, went to SCM for £12.5 million.
In other news, those evil bastards Aswijan Malikiy poached another youngster from our academy.
We brought in three exciting wonderkids as the transfer window opened up. The best of the lot may be 20-year-old Italian left-back Gabriel Fersino, who comes in for £30 million from Cagliari. He looks very, very good!
We also signed 19-year-old Belgian centre back Pascal Payen for £40 million from Inter, who looks like a fantastic player. And we snapped up centre midfielder Valentin Scheupenflug partly because he has a great name, partly because he’s a great player, and partly because he was free.
Tweaked tactical approach
My board are looking for possession, high tempo, attacking and entertaining football, most of which we didn’t deliver last season. So to address that I’ve decided to try and mix things up a little this season and try to shoehorn Ilaix Moriba and Yacine Adli into the same team.
Adli, I think, has to be starting having finished with the most assists despite not being first-choice last season. So I’ve decided to do away with our defensive midfielder and move to a 4-2-3-1.
Can you play an advanced playmaker and deep-lying playmaker in the same midfield together? Never tried it, but I guess we’re about to find out. And we’ve now got inside forwards on both flanks with youngster Stefano Gatto stepping up into Solar’s berth on the left.
And the new formation began very nicely indeed with a 3-1 win over Aswijan Malikiy – who’d sold Kai Havertz to Man City for £117 million in the summer – in the Aswijan Super Cup.
Liga Regale defence begins
The opening day of our second title defence began at home to last year’s runners-up Marrador FC, who’d just signed 34-year-old Eden Hazard. We well and truly dominated the game and Francisco José and Moriba scored long-range strikes in each half to secure a 2-0 win.
We followed that up with another 2-0 win inspired by an outrageous Ulrich Awono free-kick and a late penalty, then survived a battering at Hamjar to claim a 0-0 draw. And we continued the fine start with a solid 3-0 win over Aswijan Siti’s troupe of old boys led by Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, with goals from Francisco José, Fersino’s first for the club and centre-back Hugo Vandevelde – who was fresh from bagging a hat-trick for Belgium.
Another 3-0 followed as we breezed past Manouza with Francisco José winning two penalties that Awono converted and a first goal for the club for Gatto. Then we went one better as we battered Fari with two Moriba screamers and goals from Faatih Vukojevic and Awono. And then edged past struggling former champions Aldaia 1-0 with another Moriba goal.
We continued the great start with a solid 2-0 win over Al Aghora Athletik with goals from Awono and Calvin Stengs. Then conceded our first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Hadria.
Title favourites or relegation candidates?
In the build-up to a game against Hadria Oskat, the Aldaia manager Jesse Marsch suggested we would struggle to stay up… despite us being top of the league after 9 games and having won the last two titles. You what Jesse?! Needless to say, I handled it calmly…
Just to prove how ridiculous his comments were we went and spanked Hadria 5-0 with 100-scout-rating Francisco José returning from injury to bang a hat-trick in the first 17 minutes.
We’d switched up the formation to a 4-2-4 for the last couple of games, and it had resulted in 11 goals scored. And it looks a bit like this:
We took that formation into a top of the table battle with Wabani and Awono continued his amazing start to the season by bagging a brace to seal a 2-0 win. That took us 9 points clear at the top of the league and takes Awono to 15 goals in 18 matches in all competitions. I think that probably ensures we are title favourites and not relegation candidates, Jesse Marsch.
We went and drew at SC Marrador but confirmed our title intentions by defeating Aswijan Malikiy 1-0 with another goal by Awono – and Francisco José missing an absolute hatful of chances. But a more unlikely hero stepped up at Berche 08 as right-back Goncalo Serra scored his first and second goals of the season in a 3-2 success. The goals then continued to flow as a Gustavo Collado hat-trick inspired us to a 5-0 thumping of FC Lakhra.
And that left us sitting pretty at the top of the league as the calendar ticked over into 2026, still unbeaten and looking very good for a third straight Aswijan title. So far, it looks like the double playmakering approach is working very nicely!
Champions League group
We again drew Chelsea in our Champions League group, alongside AZ Alkmaar and Celtic. The group began well with a Francisco José brace inspiring a 2-1 home win over favourites Chelsea and a 3-0 away win over AZ. We then somehow lost in Celtic, but that fuelled an angry beast that saw us race into a 6-0 home lead over Celtic… and won 6-0. Awono scored 4 and Stengs got 4 assists.
And we booked our place in the knockout rounds with a ridiculous 4-3 win at Chelsea. We scored after 2 minutes, they equalised and scored just before and after half-time but we made an inspired comeback with 3 goals in the last 22 minutes.
Join us next time as we push ahead with our defence of Liga Regale and discover how we get on in the Champions League.
I hope you’re enjoying reading about our adventures in the fictional nation of Aswijan. If you have any questions or want more info on specific players in the squad, just let me know in the comments or get in touch on Twitter.