International Preview: Russia – South Korea

After the mess that was September’s hybrid friendly with Dinamo Moscow, this week sees Russia up their World Cup preparations with two home clashes with fellow guaranteed participants South Korea and Iran. Martin Lowe is joined by Tim Lee from Korean football website Tavern of the Taeguk Warriors to run down Saturday’s clash in Moscow.   Russia By Martin Lowe (@PlasticPitch) Now into the final year of preparation ahead of the World Cup, Russia looks to be upping the nature of their … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Real Sociedad

Thursday sees Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St. Petersburg host La Liga outfit Real Sociedad in their second match of the Europa League group stage, with both sides coming into this on the back of heavy victories in match day one. While Zenit are experiencing some strong domestic form of late (unbeaten this season, on the back of 6 successive clean sheets) Sociedad have lost their last three La Liga matches since their opening Europa League victory. Roberto Mancini was quick however … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 4: Betting Advice & Previews

Match of the Round, Sunday 18:00 BST: Zenit St. Petersburg - Spartak Moscow By Martin Lowe (@PlasticPitch) This weekend’s belter pits the two pre-season favourites for the Russian Premier League title, with plenty of subplots to ponder in the run up. Reigning champions Spartak Moscow head to the Krestovsky to face Zenit St. Petersburg, a considerable gap behind the Northern powerhouse, with a certain trepidation, that defeat could see them fall 7 points behind the summit, after only 4 … [Read more...]

How will CSKA evolve in Europe post-Slutsky?

When CSKA Moscow lineup to play AEK Athens in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie, it will be a familiar sight, yet the manner of performance to come will hopefully be very different. European audiences have grown accustomed to the Army Men taking part at the highest level of club competition, featuring in 6 of the last 8 editions, however the key difference this time will be in the dugout; a first European season to assess the merits of Viktor Goncharenko, after 7 … [Read more...]

Preview: Russia v Ivory Coast

Ahead of this week's friendly with Ivory Coast in Krasnodar, we've teamed up with Salim Said from African football website Sandals for Goalposts to give us the lowdown on Les Elephants, while we consider Sbornaya's prospects, three games from this summer's Confederations Cup. Russia On the back of a humbling away defeat to Qatar and a mediocre, dare I say lucky victory over Romania back in November, Russia embark on March’s brace of internationals against Ivory Coast and Belgium in … [Read more...]

The importance of the Europa League and Russia’s standing in European Football

It goes against reason to argue that Russia deserves another Champions League spot given we’re coming off the back of one of their most dismal tournament performances to date, with both Premier League representatives exiting in the group stage prior to the winter break. However, despite their shortcomings in UEFA’s premier competition, the Russian Football Premier League is primed to overtake the Portuguese Primiera Liga in becoming Europe’s 6th best league and clinch another direct ticket to … [Read more...]

The threat from China on the RFPL

It’s January, and the start of a new transfer window is here. This usually creates a little buzz of excitement, in anticipation of the talent that potentially could be drafted in, however in Russia as is the case across the whole of Europe at the moment, the mood is that much more cautionary over players being tempted out, to China. The impact of the Chinese Super League’s rapid spending continues into yet another transfer window. Last year’s marquee signing of Hulk to Shanghai SIPG for £45m … [Read more...]

Preview: Qatar v Russia

This week sees friendly action between the next two World Cup hosts of Russia and Qatar in Doha. We’ve teamed up with Asian football website Sandals for Goalposts to run the rule over the squads and likely outcomes ahead of Thursday's encounter. Qatar The Gulf nation will be using this home encounter with Russia as preparation for their last ditch attempt to crawl back into World Cup qualification reckoning, with a make or break tie in China ahead of them on Tuesday. Their form of late … [Read more...]

Russia v Costa Rica: Squad Evaluation

Russia’s upcoming friendly with Costa Rica in Krasnodar represents the second opportunity for new coach Stanislav Cherchesov to assemble his national team squad camp since he took over the hot seat from Leonid Slutsky after Russia’s Euros exit this summer. After hardly the most enthralling performances against Turkey and Ghana to kick start his reign at the beginning of the month, Cherchesov has made a couple of tweaks to his initial squad selection while continuing to disregard the widely … [Read more...]

Preview: Ajax v Rostov (UCL Playoff)

Last season's sensational silver-winners from FC Rostov are just two games away from the Champions League group stage. However, first of all they have to beat Dutch powerhouse Ajax. We have teamed up with Will Burns from Total Dutch Football to give you the best possible insight before the first of two crucial matches. Ajax: After a disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Roda JC on Saturday evening, Peter Bosz's Ajax hosts Russian Premier League side FC Rostov in what could be the most … [Read more...]