Spartak 1-3 Athletic Club: A Lesson in Concentration

Spartak Moscow - Athletic Bilbao 1-3 (0-3 HT) Goals: Luiz Adriano, 60 - Aduriz, 22, 39. Kutepov, 45 (own goal) Spartak Moscow: Rebrov, Eschenko, Tasci, Kutepov, Kombarov, Fernando, Zobnin, Glushakov (Hanni, 75), Melgarejo (Ze Luis, 58), Promes, Luiz Adriano Athletic Bilbao: Iago Herrerín, De Marcos, Álvarez, Etxeita, Iñigo Lekue, Iturraspe, Rico, Susaeta (San José), Raúl García, Williams (Merino), Aduriz The Match I must admit that in the first fifteen minutes, I didn't expect … [Read more...]

An Interview with Kurban Berdyev, Part One: “I rate Maurizio Sarri higher than Guardiola”

Last month, one of Russian Football News' partners, Kazan-based Sport Business Online (Sport BO), published a two-part interview with Rubin Kazan manager Kurban Berdyev, which took place in early January. Berdyev, who is arguably one of the RFPL's greatest ever managers, is notoriously introverted and has never given an interview of this length and detail before. In total, the Turkmen spoke with Sport BO's Vladislav Zimagulov and Airat Shamilov for almost seven hours.  An interview of this … [Read more...]

Nikita Simonyan Biography: Football – Is It Just a Game? (Part Two)

Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan (1926-  ) is the current vice president of the Russian Football Union, and one of the most noteworthy figures in Russian and Soviet football. Between 1949 and 1959 he became the highest scoring player ever for Spartak Moscow, with whom he won four Soviet championships, and he was also one of the stars on the Soviet national team that won the 1956 Olympics and finished fourth at the 1958 World Cup.  He later went into coaching and he won three Soviet championships … [Read more...]

Nikita Simonyan Biography: Football – Is It Just a Game? (Part One)

Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan (1926-  ) is the current vice president of the Russian Football Union, and one of the most noteworthy figures in Russian and Soviet football. Between 1949 and 1959 he became the highest scoring player ever for Spartak Moscow, with whom he won four Soviet championships, and he was also one of the stars on the Soviet national team that won the 1956 Olympics and finished fourth at the 1958 World Cup.  He later went into coaching and he won three Soviet championships … [Read more...]

Nikita Simonyan Biography: Football – Is It Just a Game? (Introduction)

Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan (1926-  ) is the current vice president of the Russian Football Union, and one of the most noteworthy figures in Russian and Soviet football. Between 1949 and 1959 he became the highest scoring player ever for Spartak Moscow, with whom he won four Soviet championships, and he was also one of the stars on the Soviet national team that won the 1956 Olympics and finished fourth at the 1958 World Cup.  He later went into coaching and he won three Soviet championships … [Read more...]

The tumultuous history of the Soviet League

The Soviet football championship is probably unique in the variety of formulas used in the league. After recent comments by Leonid Fedun, who recently discussed league reform in-depth and offered a two-stage league formula similar to Belgium, I decided to go into the depths of history and show the various quirks of the Soviet football officials. There actually were tournaments called "Soviet championships" before 1936, but they were contested by town and city teams rather than clubs (clubs … [Read more...]

Russian Clubs’ European Permutations

It's been a great European season for the Russian clubs so far. Four out of the five participants, with the exception being FC Krasnodar, reached the group stage, where they have performed quite well, and three of them have already secured Europa League knockout spots. Moreover, both Spartak Moscow and CSKA Moscow still have chances to advance to the Champions League knockout stage, though to guarantee that, they both need big wins in England. Here's a brief rundown on all the European … [Read more...]

RFPL Mid-Season Team Profiles

Following on from our more traditional Mid-Season Reviews of all RFPL clubs after 15 games, here we take a deep statistical look at how each side has performed in these Team Profiles. Read the Review of each side first by following the link below. READ MORE: RFPL Mid-Season Review – Part One   Team Profiles Lokomotiv Moscow: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde +10=2-3, 32 points, goals 32-11 First halves: +2=11-2, 17 points, goals 5-5 Second halves: +10=3-2, 33 points, goals 18-6 After 75 … [Read more...]

RFPL Round 15: Weighted Age Analytics

Fifteen rounds have passed in the Russian Football Premier League, and thus it's time to look at weighted ages again. Here's a reminder of what's the difference between squad weighted age and squad average age. Weighted age is a dynamic parameter that takes into account the actual usage of a player during the season: total minutes he played and the average age in the matches he played; this parameter changes with every match depending on the squad selection. The precise algorithm for … [Read more...]

Spartak Moscow – FC Ufa Match Report: Wrestlemania RFPL

The Sunday game between Spartak and Ufa was quite similar to an old-school professional wrestling match. Two teams have excellently played two classical roles. (And - no, I do not imply that the result, like in pro-wrestling, was predetermined too). Ufa was a heel. "Heel", in wrestling parlance, describes a character whose main job is to attract heat (anger) from the fans. Semak's lads were excellent in that role: scored a quick and somewhat illogical goal (Andrey Eschenko later even said … [Read more...]