Season Preview: CSKA Moscow

Losing the championship to your rival just ten kilometers down the road wouldn’t normally count as a “win” for a club as proud as CSKA Moscow, but looking at the entire season as a whole, finishing 2nd and gaining a UEFA Champions League berth is about as positive as any CSKA fan could hope for. Trailing Spartak Moscow by a comfortable distance at the winter break meant that a realistic goal was not to challenge for the title, but to leapfrog Zenit St. Petersburg in order to finish second. … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Tosno

FC Tosno has been promoted to the Premier League for the first time in their short history. Founded in 2013 by Leonid Khomenko - current technical director at the club - and FortGroup, a commercial real-estate group based out of St. Petersburg, just an hour’s drive north-west of Tosno. This close locality to Russia's second city will be key for Tosno next season, as the club will be based at Zenit-2’s Petrovsky Stadium for their maiden RFPL campaign. Head coach Dmytro Parfyonov has overseen … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Ufa

Last season, FC Ufa achieved the highest league finish in the club’s history, as they surprised everyone to finish 7th place. A club with modest resources and a small squad, excellent management from two top young coaches, Viktor Goncharenko and Sergey Semak was key to their achievement. Operating with a 5-3-2 or 5-4-1, they were often a thorn in the side of the larger teams, using their excellent defensive co-oridination and lightning quick counter attacks, spearheaded by Kehinde Fatai, to … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Arsenal Tula

  The 2016-17 campaign was an utter disaster for FC Arsenal Tula and it was only saved by Igor Schevchenko’s goal in the second playoff relegation match against FC Yenisey at the end of May. Parting ways with experienced head coach Sergei Pavlov early on and for no understandable reasons proved to be an enormous mistake by the club’s board since his replacement, Sergei Kiryakov, didn’t bring anything new to the team, despite being given plenty of new players during the winter … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Rostov

What a difference 12 months makes. Last summer, Rostov were flying higher than they’d ever done before having qualified for their first Champions League campaign and only missed out on the title by a single goal, with arguably Russian football’s best tactician masterminding success from the sidelines. Fast forward to 2017, and their entire project is crumbling to pieces; 13 players (at the time of writing) have left the club, Kurban Berdyev has returned to his former home in the Rubin Kazan, and … [Read more...]

Season Preview: FC Ural

Ural will look back on 2016-17 as the season that could have been; reaching the Russian Cup Final for the first time was a momentous achievement for a side more accustomed to battling relegation than fighting for continental football, and the financial advantages a Europa League run would have brought could have offered extra security. As it is, they prepare to move into the redeveloped Centralniy Stadium later this year with a reasonably settled squad under the man who effectively resurrected … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Anzhi Makhachkala

In the winter transfer window last season, Anzhi Makhachkala signed 25 players and swapped experienced Czech manager Pavel Vrba for SKA Khabarovsk boss Aleksandr Grigoryan. Most people expected Anzhi to be relegated after this, but surprisingly the squad and manager gelled quite quickly and put together some decent performances, including a relegation six pointer win against Orenburg, and resilient 0-0 draws against FC Krasnodar and Lokomotiv Moscow, which ultimately saw them avoid the … [Read more...]

Season Preview: Dinamo Moscow

Following their relegation to the Football National League in 2016, Dinamo Moscow had one main task for the season ahead. This was to bounce straight back up to Russia’s top flight. Not only did they manage this, but they did it in style, winning the league with 12 more points than second placed Tosno, and only losing three times in the league all season. Determined to start climbing back to the top of Russian football, Dinamo have already made four signings this summer. Having tied down … [Read more...]