Reforming the Trans-Siberian Football League

The Football National League is the biggest football league in the world according to geographic area, covering over 4,500 miles as-the-crow-flies and even crosses eight time zones. Due to the size of the league and other problems synonymous with Russian football such as fiscal instability, political corruption and systemic mismanagement, many clubs - as previously explored - do not face a race to thrive, but a battle to survive. READ PART ONE: Problems with the Trans-Siberian Football … [Read more...]

Aleksandr Hleb and the Second Chance in Samara

Former Belarus international Aleksandr Hleb made the news recently as he was announced as a new signing at Krylia Sovetov Samara. Now 35-years-old, this is his second spell at the club, having joined them in 2012 following his release from a disastrous spell at Barcelona. With an illustrious European career behind him, with stints at Stuttgart, Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Birmingham, Hleb is most fondly remembered for a three year spell with Premier League giants Arsenal. Joining in 2005 from … [Read more...]

RFPL Winter Transfer Window – Team by Team Summary Part 1

The Russian transfer window closed at the end of February, and as we have finally gathered the full overview over a long and hectic winter, it is time to evaluate how the 16 Russian Football Premier League clubs did in the transfer market. In the span of three articles, which will be published in the following days, we'll evaluate all the clubs and grade their dealings. Amkar Perm Amkar started the window in the worst possible fashion, losing Russian prospects Aleksandr Selikhov and Georgy … [Read more...]

Interview with Bart Caubergh: Physical Training and Extreme External Factors in Russia

Ever since the 2011/2012 season, when the Russian Football Premier League abandoned the calendar year to instead follow the European season, it has been debated whether or not this was the right move. The switch meant that Russian clubs now play well into December, while also kicking off after the winter break at the beginning of March, when most of the country is still covered in snow. While this always equals a bunch of cancelled games and a poor quality of games, it also gives a long range … [Read more...]

Mid-Season Review: Krylia Sovetov

Introduction There can be no doubt that Krylia Sovetov's only aim this season is mere survival in the Premier League. The campaign got off to a bad start and it seemed that, thanks to lack of investment from the board, no improvement had been made from last season and in fact, things had gone backwards with the loss of key players in the summer. Despite the fact that Franky Vercauteren was given no backing from the hierachy, he was solely blamed for the club's woeful start and was … [Read more...]

Vadim Skripchenko’s Controversial Ural Split Leaves a Siberian Snowstorm

Ural v Terek is fast becoming a cursed fixture for Ekaterinburg’s Premier League outfit. Last year it precipitated the acrimonious departure of Viktor Goncharenko amid highly suspicious betting patterns and an apparent clash of philosophies between the coach and the combustible club President Grigoriy Ivanov, with the Belarussian manager going AWOL in his homeland before the split was confirmed. A year on, and after Sunday's humiliating 4-1 capitulation questions have again been asked about the … [Read more...]

Betting Advice for RFPL Week 13

Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint): Bet One: €5 Lokomotiv - Anzhi: Anzhi to win with +1 handicap @1.68 at bet365 Lokomotiv are a side bereft of imagination going forward and offer very little serious threat other than to weak sides with problems of their own. Granted, their defensive record is impressive at home with just four goals conceded, but Petar Skuletic, Igor Portnyagin and Ezekiel Henty are hardly the most fearsome strikeforce in the Premier League, and they aren’t even guaranteed a … [Read more...]

Franky Vercauteren Pays Price For Boardroom Errors

News of Krylia Sovetov manager Frank "Franky" Vercauteren leaving the club came as no surprise given his publicly-known frustration with life at the club as they struggle at the bottom of the Premier League. However, the Belgian found himself on the end of a sacking rather than being allowed to leave on his own terms. Although Krylia are in a spot of bother right now, it is important to remember where they were when Vercauteren took over. Before the Belgian arrived in Samara, Krylia had … [Read more...]

The Evolution of the 5 Man Defence in Russian Football

One of the most common opinions about the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) – rightly or wrongly – is that the style of football and tactical approach applied to the games is somewhat straggling behind the rest of Europe. Common observations from pundits and football fans alike include that the RFPL is one dimensional, the football in Russia is slow, the football is old fashioned and the players are thugs. Many of these opinions will be drawn from the showing of Russian clubs in European … [Read more...]

RFPL Week 7: Betting Advice

Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint):  Bet One: €5 Ural – Anzhi: Bernard Berisha to score any time @8.5 at Bet365 The Albanian winger is one of the most devastating wide players in the Premier League and has been a mainstay of Anzhi’s side while other foreign imports have fallen by the wayside. I was present last season for this fixture, and, just saying, but I predicted he would score then and was right. It’s uncertain exactly who will be picked as the central striker by Pavel Vrba, who has … [Read more...]