From this spring, we are happy to announce that we have changed the format of the RFN Betting Advice. Instead of only covering a few games, from now on we’ll give you previews to all eight RFPL games each round, with an extensive look at one game, the Game of the Round.
In these previews, we’ll give you everything you need to know about the top flight, from injuries to form as well as all the chaotic aspects that surrounds the beautiful game in Russia.
We have previously proven that we can make serious money by betting on Russian football, so we’ll of course continue to provide you with betting advice for each game. The writer covering the game receives €10 to place on any bet, and we’ll be updating our accounts before each round, meaning there’s full transparency with our winnings and losses.
GAME OF THE ROUND: Monday 16.30 GMT Lokomotiv Moscow – FC Krasnodar
By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakarevitch)
This week, the RFPL saved the best game for last, with Lokomotiv Moscow taking on FC Krasnodar on Monday. This game has a huge significance not only to the teams who are in it, but also to any team looking to make a push for a Europa League spot for next season. Although Krasnodar are currently sitting in 4th place in the RFPL, there are just three points separating them from their opponents, who are in 10th spot. This means that Lokomotiv, who have had a rather underwhelming season, could not only catch up to Krasnodar, but also take over them on goal difference, if they can secure a win.
Both teams losing a goal threat
After Brazilian striker Ari signed for Lokomotiv on loan from Krasnodar for the rest of the season, he quickly made it clear that he will not play in this fixture, with some reports saying that if Lokomotiv fielded him, that they would have to pay the bulls $500k in compensation. Although Ari started his career at Lokomotiv with two debut goals, this is an option they certainly won’t take up, and it is likely that his Brazilian team-mate Maicon will start up front for the Railroaders, alongside Aleksey Miranchuk; who had a fantastic game in the last round against Krylia Sovetov.
On the other hand, Krasnodar have lost their star player and top scorer, Fyodor Smolov, through injury. The striker came off the pitch in the 82nd minute of their last match with a muscle injury, and is expected to be out for this match. In the first half of the season, when Smolov was injured, it was usually Ari who took his place in the team. Krasnodar are now left with Wanderson and Nikolay Komlichenko to choose from, and the most likely switch in their team is for Wanderson to move to the striker position, like he did against Celta Vigo Thursday evening, and Colombian winger Ricardo Laborde to come in on the right wing.
Lokomotiv’s new signing Jefferson Farfan is currently training on an individual programme after returning from an injury, however is unlikely to play in this fixture. Dmitry Tarasov has been training with the squad, but he has been injured since August, and is unlikely to play.
Krasnodar’s Yuri Gazinskiy had an injury scare in their previous game, against league leaders Spartak. Thankfully for the bulls, though, he was back for the game against Celta Vigo and is available for Monday. Creative midfielder Pavel Mamaev made his return to competitive football in the same match, however based on fitness, he may not start. The biggest blow for Krasnodar is the one already mentioned, Fyodor Smolov. He is unavailable for the fixture due to a muscle injury.
Lokomotiv Moscow (3-5-2): Guilherme- Pejcinovic, Corluka, Kverkvelia- Yanbaev, Barinov Fernandes, I. Denisov, V. Denisov- Miranchuk, Maicon
FK Krasnodar (4-3-3): Kritsyuk- Kaleshin, Naldo, Granqvist, Ramirez- Gazinskiy, Podberezkin, Shishkin- Laborde, Wanderson, Claesson
Krasnodar still have a fantastic chance to continue their European run. Because of this fixture falling in between those important European games, Krasnodar may drop points at the Lokomotiv Stadium. Lokomotiv will be licking their lips at the chance to move up the table and challenge for the European places. Based on this, I think the railroaders will win this game, but not to nil.
€ 10 on Lokomotiv Moscow to win and BTTS @5.50 at Bet365
Friday 16.00 GMT Arsenal Tula – Ural Yekaterinburg
By Martin Lowe (@Plasticpitch)
This weekend’s opening match pits two relegation rivals against one another who come into this on the back of contrasting results. Returning after a promising winter break in the transfer market, Arsenal were thoroughly pummelled away at fellow relegation threatened Orenburg last weekend. Much can be made of the names brought in to shore up their defensive stocks however debutants Gabulov, Sunzu and Kombarov all couldn’t keep out a flourishing Orenburg attack who ran out comfortable 3-0 victors.
Ural on the other hand sprung back after the break with a 1-0 win over previously high flying Amkar. Ural themselves have also had a productive off season, most notably through the signing of Eric Bicfalvi from Tom Tomsk. The Romanian, who scored the winner last weekend, has already recorded three goals in two matches since moving to Ekaterinburg over the winter.
€10 on Ural to win 1-0 @ 6.50 at Bet365
Saturday 08.30 GMT FC Ufa – Krylia Sovetov Samara
By David Sansun (@RFN_David)
Ufa will be on a real high following their suprising away win at Terek Grozny last week. They do, however, have the best away record in the league, so perhaps it wasn’t quite so much of a surprise… Their form against the bigger teams has also been very good, lifting them up to heady heights of 6th place, but they have on occasion tripped up against the smaller teams.
Krylia currently sit in the bottom four, and played in Ufa last week, after their game vs Lokomotiv had to be moved, but after a reasonable first half, they succumbed to heavy 3-0 defeat, as Lokomotiv stepped up a level, with Krylia unable to match it.
Ufa may also be boosted by the return of Kehinde Fatai to the starting XI, as he made the bench last week after an injury lay off, while Krylia are still yet to find a proper way of dealing with the loss of Yoann Mollo.
€10 on 0 half time goals at 2.20 at Bet365
Saturday 11.00 GMT CSKA Moscow – Tom Tomsk
By Martin Lowe (@Plasticpitch)
Entering into a post-Leonid Slutsky era, expectations remain steady at CSKA, ever more so given their 0-0 draw with Zenit last weekend. That being said, Slutsky’s exit which had much more to do with the side’s ineptitudes in Europe rather than their successes domestically, negates any smooth bedding in period for Viktor Goncharenko. The coach’s first notable change was predicted, with returning centre back Viktor Vasin (previously on loan with Goncharenko at Ufa) slotting straight in to a back three, breaking up the ageing partnership of Vasili Berezutski and Sergei Ignashevich. While this has generated much of the comment since the weekend, little is expected to worry CSKA defensively in what will be Goncharenko’s home opener against rock bottom Tom Tomsk.
Tom are fast becoming a walkover opponent. On top of their miserable league form that had only seen them accrue 9 points before Christmas, the squad has been swiftly chopped to pieces, making their slim chances of survival prior to the break, an ever increasing impossibility. With CSKA keen to unleash the returning Aaron Olanare and Vitinho in a much more attacking display, expect goals to be at a premium against a despondent Tom back line that conceded six in Rostov last time out.
€10 on Aaron Olanare to score first @4.33 at Bet365
Saturday 13.30 GMT Rubin Kazan – Orenburg
By David Sansun (@RFN_David)
Both of these sides won last weekend and with important tasks ahead of them. Rubin eventually won away at Anzhi despite a hugely poor performance, and thanks to something of a moment of magic from Maksim Kanunnikov. Without Spanish playmaker Ruben Rochina, Rubin look weaker going forward, and without Moritz Bauer, who has picked up a small injury, they are slightly more limited in defence.
Orenburg won a with an impressive 3-0 scoreline at home to Arsenal Tula last weekend, with only minimal additions in the winter transfer window. In the reverse fixture in the first half of the season, Rubin snuck an equaliser in injury time to rescue a 1-1 draw, but Rubin have a sturdy record at home, and so they look the favourites on paper.
€10 on Jonathas to score anytime 2.60 at Bet365
Sunday 08.30 GMT Amkar Perm – Zenit St. Petersburg
By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakarevitch)
Having gone unbeaten at home for the first half of the RFPL season, Amkar will be look to extend this run on Sunday against title contenders Zenit. This, however, will be easier said than done, as two of their key defensive players, Aleksandr Selikhov and Georgi Dzhikia departed the club during the winter transfer window.
The away team, Zenit, have started this year quite poorly; having been knocked out of the Europa League and left only with the league to focus on, the players and manager will know that their only chance at the title is if they win games like this.
After an underwhelming performance against CSKA, Zenit will be looking to bounce back with a win. This will by no means be an easy task for them, however. I think this is the week that their fortunes will turn.
€10 on Zenit to win @1.85 at Bet365
Sunday 13.30 GMT Spartak Moscow – Anzhi Makhachkala
By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)
The Red-Whites made their competitive return after the winter break with a 2-2 draw away at Krasnodar last weekend, thanks to an early free-kick from Fernando and Luiz Adriano’s first Spartak goal.
This week they face a much-changed Anzhi Makhachkala at the Otkrytiye Arena after the new owner, Osman Kadiev decided to completely revamp his squad and backroom staff. This new Anzhi, led by Aleksandr Grigoryan, almost battled to a respectable draw at home to Rubin Kazan, but Saeid Ezatolahi’s late sending off was followed by a Maksim Kannunikov goal to salvage a win for Rubin.
Spartak will see their top scorer return after Quincy Promes served out his one-match suspension after receiving two yellow cards against Rubin Kazan in Gameweek 17, and the Dutchman will certainly start on Sunday. Denis Glushakov and Lorenzo Melgarejo are both doubtful after picking up respective knocks in the Krasnodar game. Anzhi, on the other hand, will be without Ezatolahi for the aforementioned red card while new signing, Felicio Brown Forbes is a doubt for the game with a muscle injury.
€10 on Quiny Promes First Goalscorer @3.75 at Bet365
Sunday 16.00 GMT FC Rostov – Terek Grozny
By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)
Rostov host Terek on the back of a 6-0 victory at home to Tom Tomsk, as Tom’s Trud Stadium, could not host the game due to the weather in Siberia. Terek, on the other hand, will be deflated after a disappointing 1-0 loss at home to FC Ufa. This was only Terek’s third home loss of the season, including against league leaders Spartak Moscow.
Soslan Dzhanaev is a doubt for Rostov, and centre-back Vladimir Granat is definitely out, after receiving a suspected fractured collarbone during the Europa League home draw against Manchester United. Denis Terentyev will likely deputise, with Fyodor Kudryashov taking Granat’s place in the back three, just as he did midweek. Berdyev may play a weakened team ahead of next week’s crucial away leg, but he has never been one to tinker in the past and did not start star player Sardar Azmoun on Thursday night.
Terek will need to win matches like this against their direct rivals early in the Spring, their last four games of the season are all away from home, including trips to title-chasing Spartak and Zenit. They can recall upon the duties of Oleg Ivanov, who missed the Ufa game due to an exacerbation of chronic tonsillitis. Gabriel Torje missed training on Wednesday with some discomfort in his back but should be fit to play on Sunday.
I’d expect Rostov to rest a few first team players, and even if a full strength eleven play, their focus will likely be upon Old Trafford merely four days later.
€10 on Terek Grozny to win @3.30 at Bet365
RFN Total: +€473.49
Vincent Tanguy: +€200.15 (hit rate: 9/20 – 45.45%)
David Sansun: +€123.25 (hit rate: 11/36 – 30.56 %)
Ben Clark: +€121 (hit rate: 12/30 – 40%)
Thomas Giles: +€113 (hit rate 20/35 – 57.14 %)
Jack Beresford: +€42 (hit rate 2/6 – 33.33 %)
Andrew Flint: €14.1 (hit rate: 11/41 – 26.82 %)
Toke Theilade: +€1.89 (hit rate: 6/14 – 42.86 %)
Stefano Conforti: +€0.5 (hit rate: 3/9 – 33.33 %)
Danny Armstrong: -€8 (hit rate: 2/6 – 33.33 %)
Ilya Sokolov: -€136,9 (hit rate: 6/32 – 18.75 %)
Author: Artem Makarevitch
Born in Russia, raised in Ireland. Studying Sports and Exercise Management in University College Dublin. Part-time youth football coach, full-time Russian football fan. Zenit St. Petersburg supporter.