RFPL Round 4 & 5 Review

As the fifth round of RFPL fixtures draws to a close - Akhmat Grozny entertain Krasnodar this evening - Russian Football News has looked at some of the key talking points. Five-Star Zenit set the Standard It may be premature to race to conclusions in the Russian Premier League but Zenit St Petersburg and boss Roberto Mancini appear to be a good match. Last weekend they made the statement of the season so far by thrashing champions Spartak Moscow 5-1. And while the 100% record was ended … [Read more...]

Teams that thrashed incumbent Soviet/Russian champions

After Zenit St. Petersburg soundly beat Spartak Moscow 5-1 last weekend, I did some research to look for other teams who managed to beat the reigning Soviet or Russian champions with three goals or more. Turns out, it was Zenit's third such win after 1958 (Dinamo Moscow) and 1971 (CSKA Moscow) and the 36th "champion-thrashing" overall. Spartak Moscow are now clean first on the overall list, having suffered through eight crushing defeats; they overtook Dinamo Moscow, who have seven such defeats, … [Read more...]

A Mountain in Moscow – Ararat and the Armenian Dream

Football in Armenia is in a precarious position. With financial problems accounting for the demise of several clubs in the top flight, the domestic Premier League has found itself reduced to just six clubs, and those qualifying for UEFA competition regularly find themselves dumped out of Europe at the first qualifying hurdle. Internationally, the nation which so narrowly missed out on Euro 2012 has since failed spectacularly, with political in-fighting leading to the blacklisting of star players … [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...]

The Return of Lokomotiv’s Prodigal Son, Arshak Koryan

When a Russian player joins a European club, it always makes headlines. At the moment, there's only a handful of Russians playing in West European leagues, and none of them is successful in the biggest ones, although injury-plagued Denis Cheryshev has had his moments, which causes a lot of pain in the football proud nation that wants to see its players succeed like in the past. That is also why it is considered a failure from both media and fans when a Russian player moves abroad only to … [Read more...]

RFPL Round Three Review

  Three is the magic number in the Russian Football Premier League. After the third round, the triumvirate of Lokomotiv, and Akhmat are the only sides to have won all three games. At the flip side of the table, SKA, Tosno and Amkar have endured much slower starts to the season, with not a point to show between them. Champions Spartak kicked off the season with back-to-back draws and struck gold at the third time of asking with a 2-0 win over Krasnodar. Lokomotiv at full steam … [Read more...]

Grozny’s Relationship With Brazil Growing Ever Stronger

Second, only to Spartak Moscow, Akhmat Grozny (formerly Terek Grozny) have had the most Brazilian players in the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL), totalling 15 including their three new signings this summer. In their Premier League history starting in 2005, with a two year gap until 2008, Akhmat have signed 61 players from foreign countries (excluding former Soviet nations Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Ukraine), and so with 15 of these being Brazilian, that means … [Read more...]

Krasnodar’s Youth Academy Bearing Its First Fruits

Just nine years ago, FC Krasnodar was formed. Founded and owned by billionaire businessman Sergey Galitsky, the intentions were not to go gung-ho with their money like the then free-spending Anzhi Makhachkala but to build from the bottom. This included the installation of a youth academy, which would recruit boys of all ages, with the intention that one day, half of the first team would be graduates of the school, and so the Krasnodar Academy was born. The Krasnodar Academy is situated next … [Read more...]

Sebastian Driussi – Zenit’s New Lion

It’s the middle of May, and it is time for the Superclásico, the Argentinean derby between Boca Juniors and River Plate. One of the biggest games in the world. Going into the game, which is played at Boca's historic home ground La Bombonero, the home team leads the league with River trailing behind. River head coach Marcelo Gallardo has pointed his focus on the Copa Libertadores, and the results in the league have suffered as a result. Nevertheless, they began climbing up the table, and reached … [Read more...]

Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League, Part One: Systemic Problems

The Russian Football National League (FNL) has been in place since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, unchanged from 1994 and remains one of the toughest logistical and fiscal challenges in world football. The Soviet Top Division and First Division were combined into the Russian Top Division in 1992, with the new Second Tier regionalised into a Centre, East and West. However, this model was scrapped in 1994 in favour of a 20-team single-region division we see today. The Russian Top Division … [Read more...]