Nikita Simonyan: How the son of an Armenian illegal immigrant became the ‘Grandfather of Russian Football’

245 matches, 160 goals, 0 yellow card and 0 red cards. These statistics are but a microcosm of Nikita Pavlovich Simonyan’s career for Spartak Moscow. Simonyan was as a player, manager, club ambassador and, above all else, still is a keen supporter of Spartak Moscow, and throughout this time has acted as a humble sportsman, functionary and gentleman. Upon celebrating his 90th birthday last season, the club hosted him as a honoured guest and invited him onto the pitch before the match with FC … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 14: Betting Advice and Previews

Match of the Round - Sunday, 14:30 BST: CSKA Moscow - Zenit St. Petersburg By Ilya Sokolov (@lokosokol) Two of the RFPL's elite sides meet this weekend, with Zenit arguably facing the biggest test of their new-found attacking flair this season. They have faced a so-so Krasnodar under Igor Shalimov and an underperforming Spartak side early in the season, but Viktor Goncharenko's settled and well-drilled side may become a stumbling block at home in front of a rocking crowd at the Grigory … [Read more...]

The Black Secret of Luzhniki – Between Memory and Oblivion

20th October 1982, Sixty-six Spartak Moscow fans would traverse up the stairway on Tribune C of the Central Lenin Stadium, the current Luzhniki, for a UEFA Cup game against Dutch side HFC Haarlem. This would be the last time they would ever make their journey, as, during injury time, they tragically died in a stampede, the majority of which were adolescents enjoying their first-ever game. 38 of the victims were aged eighteen or under, with the youngest, schoolboy Volodya Anikin, who had just … [Read more...]

Barcelona 1-2 Rubin Kazan – The Greatest Giant Killing in European History?

In 2008 and 2009, FC Barcelona were at the top of the footballing world. They won every trophy available to them: La Liga, the Copa Del Rey, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. The squad that the Catalan's had put together under the management of Pep Guardiola is widely regarded as one of the best teams of all time with Carles Puyol, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández at the peak of their careers, alongside stars such as Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Yaya Touré … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: FC Sheriff Tiraspol – Lokomotiv Moscow

Coming from the disappointing defeat against Ufa, Lokomotiv faces Sheriff this Thursday with a mixture of feelings. Despite leading Group F, the next two games against the Moldovan side are expected to be crucial to ensure qualification for the next round. The "Railwaymen" are in a decent form, having recorded three convincing wins in the last four games. Aside from Ufa, the atmosphere around Loko is great and very few people would have expected such a strong beginning of the season. However, to … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Rosenborg BK

Zenit conceded their first defeat of the Russian Premier League season on Sunday, against Arsenal Tula at home. A shocking defeat for the so far superior St. Petersburg outfit, who despite the loss, still remain first in the league. In the Europa League, Zenit has started their campaign with two wins out of two, beating Vardar 5-0 in Skopje, and Real Sociedad 3-1 in St. Petersburg. Norway’s best club, Rosenborg, are undefeated in their latest five games, with their latest defeat coming away … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 13: Results & Team of the Week

Welcome to our inaugural RFN Team of the Week feature, in conjunction with our Betting Advice and Previews, we will review the weekend's action and each week our writers' will work together to decide the Premier League Team of the Week, decided upon the merit of their individual performances, with one player each week chosen as our Player of the Week. The number inside parentheses before the player name features how many times the selected player has featured in the RFN TOTW. Week 13 threw up … [Read more...]

Champions League Preview: CSKA Moscow – FC Basel

The Champions League hype train is coming to Moscow after Sevilla visited Spartak on Otkritiye Arena, Tomorrow night, CSKA faces FC Basel at the VEB-Arena. The match itself would be the first meeting between the two sides, although CSKA might have a good record against Swiss clubs. The most recent meeting with a Swiss club was just two months ago against BSC Young Boys in the UCL Play-off Round, with Alan Dzagoev, Georgi Shchennikov and an own goal granting the Army men a convincing 3-0 victory … [Read more...]

Champions League Preview: Spartak Moscow – Sevilla

Spartak Moscow host Eduardo Berizzo's Sevilla side at the Otkrytiye Arena on Tuesday night. It is a key fixture for the home side, who are without a victory so far in the group stages. Spartak has won just two of their previous seventeen home games in the Champions League (D5, L10) and only kept one clean sheet in their last eighteen on home soil. However, have key players returning and are facing a makeshift Sevilla defence amidst an injury crisis. If Spartak takes their chances, may be able … [Read more...]

Pavel Pogrebnyak – A Constant Reminder of Dinamo’s Chaos

The hype was substantial when Pavel Pogrebnyak returned to the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) prior to the 2015/2016 season after six years abroad in Germany and England. The former UEFA Cup winner and Zenit St. Petersburg top scorer signed a three-year contract with big spending Dinamo Moscow, which made him one of the best-paid players in the country. However, Pogrebnyak's stint at Dinamo  has far from lived up to the expectations, and his contract has caused Dinamo  a headache ever … [Read more...]