Everything you Need To Know About: Zenit St Petersburg

After a relatively fallow few years in the transfer market, Zenit are back in business just in time to christen their spectacular new home at the Krestovsky Arena. Five Argentinians and five Rostov players have joined over the summer under new boss Roberto Mancini as a total of 27 players passed through the revolving doors in St Petersburg, and after an unbeaten domestic record so far there are very few who will bet against them winning silverware next summer. They may have made heavy work of … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Zenit Saint Petersburg – FC Utrecht

First Playoff Round, Second Leg: Can Mancini's Stars Overturn the Deficit? Zenit will go into the Second Leg of their Europa League tie with Utrecht trailing, after a disappointing performance last week in Holland. Zakaria Labyad's second half header was well deserved for the home side, who troubled Zenit throughout. If Zenit does lose the tie, it will be a disaster for the Saint Petersburg side, after spending €81.3 on transfers thus far this window, including the signing of Emiliano Rigoni, … [Read more...]

New Stadia’s Impact on Attendances in the RFPL

Low attendances in the RFPL have been the subject of much debate and despair. People have put forth many different reasons for the poor league attendance, which has hovered around 11,000 per match for the last few years. In comparison, the Bundesliga averages 41,000 per match, and the English Premier League averages 35,000 per match. Some say that the quality of the league is too low, while others, including then-Sbornaya coach Leonid Slutsky, claim that Russia is simply not a footballing … [Read more...]

Giuliano: Zenit St Petersburg’s Ephemeral Star

Giuliano Victor de Paula’s presence came to grace St Petersburg briefly; after only one full season with Zenit, he has now been sold to Fenerbahçe in Turkey. Despite a highly successful year in Russia which saw the Brazilian’s market value increase almost twofold, he appears to have left for the same modest €7m he arrived for. Mircea Lucescu’s star player found himself not especially needed under Roberto Mancini, and the fact, not least the manner of his departure, undoubtedly leaves some fans … [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...]

RFPL 2017/2018 – Who Has the Best Kit?

SKA-Khabarovsk Premier Liga newcomers, like some other teams, decided not to bother and use last year's kits. They probably figured that nobody saw it last season anyway, as the coverage of the FNL is almost criminally low. The kit itself is nothing special, but there is nothing to criticize either. I personally like their massive badge, which looks appropriate on this empty T-shirt. FC Tosno The club from the Leningrad Oblast, founded in 2013, still hasn't built its own identity. … [Read more...]

Viktor Fayzulin’s Trip Through Injury Hell

80 minutes into the game against Amkar Perm on September 20, 2015, Viktor Fayzulin had to leave the pitch with an injury. The now 31-year-old midfielder was clearly in pain and was replaced by Artur Yusupov. The injury was a hard blow for Fayzulin, who had only just recovered from a long-term injury, but assistant coach Sergey Semak was optimistic after the game, stating that Fayzulin “was fine”. Shortly after, Leonid Slutsky even called him up for a game with the national team, proving that … [Read more...]

Goodbye Dzyuba? How Driussi’s Arrival at Zenit Could Mean the End for the Big Man

An unexpected sting in the tail, tension, end to end entertainment and a late goal to secure victory; it is fair to say that Roberto Mancini’s home debut as Zenit Saint Petersburg manager on matchday two of the Russian Football Premier League did not disappoint. Despite falling behind just before half time to Kurban Berdyev’s Rubin Kazan - thanks in no small part to a poor piece of defending by Zenit’s Portuguese defender Luis Neto - the team from Piter turned it around with an injury time … [Read more...]

Lucescu – Failure or Scapegoat?

After a third-place finish last season, which meant Zenit St. Petersburg missed out on Champions League football for the second season in a row, they sacked Romanian head coach Mircea Lucescu after just one season at the club. The baggage left behind by his predecessor André Villas-Boas was no gift. If from a distance, say in Lucescu’s previous home Donetsk for example, it looked attractive and manageable, then only when you get closer could you begin to see the clear signs of aging and where … [Read more...]

The Retirement of St. Petersburg’s Prodigal Son, Aleksandr Kerzhakov

Nothing warms the hearts of football fans like seeing a local lad ‘come good’ for his boyhood club. Steven Gerrard in the Liverpool red. Fransesco Totti turning out in Roma’s claret and gold. In an increasingly disloyal game these flashes of tribal faith resonate. They offer glimmers of hope in a sport too often darkened by cynicism. Beyond the obvious visual appeal of homegrown talent flying the hometown flag is something deeper and more valuable. But to journey to the heart of this phenomenon … [Read more...]