RFPL Round 15: Results and Team of the Week

Last week was arguably one of the most boring rounds of Premier League action since the inception of the division in 1992. However, Round 15 returned with a bang as our newly appointed leaders at the top, Lokomotiv Moscow, destroyed title rivals Zenit St. Petersburg 3-0 at the Krestovsky, thanks to numerous sublime performances. This is the first time the Railwaymen have occupied first place in the table since 2004 and a record four Loko players feature in Round 15’s TOTW.

After not having a single appearance team-wide just last week, Krasnodar features three times this week, thanks to a sublime 4-1 defeat of SKA Khabarovsk. Fyodor Smolov finally put his scoring boots back on after his longest goal drought for over two years is now finally over.

Arsenal Tula returned to their giant-killing and impressively inconsistent ways after a 1-0 victory at home to CSKA Moscow, despite losing 3-2 to rock-bottom Anzhi Makhachkala last weekend and also feature heavily.

Meanwhile, in the first battle of last season’s FNL top two, four-year-old minnows Tosno, who make their first appearance on TOTW, defeated the monolithic sports society that is Dinamo in what was destined to be a boring, low-scoring affair.

Only one team has now not registered any player on the RFN TOTW is the uninspiring Akhmat Grozny, despite numerous of their players performing impressively this season, including Artyom Shvets, who has just been called-up to the national team for the first time. Head coach Oleg Kononov was sacked after a drab draw in the autonomous republics derby with Anzhi in Grozny.  This week’s list really has been the Return of the Elite, as opposed to the previous two’s Relegation’s New Hope and Mid-Table Strikes Back with eight of the eleven players featured in teams which began the season in Europe. Two individuals repeat feature in the TOTW for the first-time this season, and you can probably guess exactly who they are right now, but no spoilers. Here’s the 411.

 

Results

Arsenal Tula 1 – 0 CSKA Moscow

FC Rostov 2 – 2 Spartak Moscow

Amkar Perm 1 – 1 FC Ural

Dinamo Moscow 0 – 1 FC Tosno

Zenit St. Petersburg 0 – 3 Lokomotiv Moscow

Krasnodar 4 – 1 SKA Khabarovsk

FC Ufa 2 – 1 Rubin Kazan

Akhmat Grozny 1 – 1 Anzhi Makhachkala

 

Statistics

Facts

  • Lokomotiv Moscow last week reached first place for the first time in the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
  • …and who was the Loko manager that day? The one and only Yuri Pavlovich Semin.
  • Rostov has allowed their opponents the most attempts from set piece situations in the Premier League this season, with 15.
  • Amkar Perm and Akhmat Grozny have scored more goals from set pieces (four and eight) than from open play (three and five) this season.
  • Rostov have pulled off a massive 88 long balls per game so far this season, the highest in the league. The lowest is expectedly Krasnodar at just 63 p/g.
  • At the midway stage of the season, there are fourteen players who have played all 1350 minutes of football this season. Seven of these are outfield players; Andreas Granqvist, Solomon Kvirkvelia, Nemanja Pejčinović, Igor Denisov, Yevgeny Chernov, Denys Kulakov and Domenico Criscito.
  • Of the fourteen, four are Loko players; goalkeeper Guilherme, defenders Kvirkvelia and Pejčinović and finally captain Igor Denisov. This is owing to the benefits of a settled defensive unit.

xG

  • Krasnodar recorded the highest xG of the season at 3.71 in their victory over SKA.
  • Fyodor Smolov was responsible for much of this, finally returning to form with a xG of 2.18, as well as a xA of 0.61.
  • The lowest has also been beaten, at 0.23 by Anzhi away to Akhmat.
  • Dmitry Sotskiy’s 0.56 xG was a direct result of his goal inside the six-yard-box was the second highest for the Bashkortostan-based side all season. They don’t really create many chances…

 

Team of the Week

Goalkeeper – (1) David Yurchenko, FC Tosno

Yurchenko was instrumental in Tosno’s impressive 1-0 victory away against Dinamo Moscow. He saved a penalty kick and almost single-handedly secured Tosno’s victory.

Defender – (1) Vladislav Ignatyev, Lokomotiv Moscow

The former Krasnodar full-back performed admirably in Loko’s 3-0 destruction of Zenit. He nullified the dangerous trio of Criscito, Kuzyaev and Rigoni on the Zenit left flank, a deadly combination so far this season.

Defender – (1) Solomon Kvirkvelia, Lokomotiv Moscow

Solomon Kvirkvelia has almost made the Lokomotiv supporters forget about the injured captain, Vedran Ćorluka. The Georgian international was the shining star as Lokomotiv shut Zenit down in St. Petersburg.

Defender – (1) Stoppila Sunzu, Arsenal Tula

Arsenal Tula couldn’t have defeated big brother CSKA without the Zambian. Stoppila stopped CSKA time after time, and by the end of the game, he had won three aerials and two tackles.

Defender – (1) Cristian Ramírez, FC Krasnodar

There weren’t any outstanding left-back performances this weekend, but Ramírez was the best across the league. The Ecuadorian delivered a solid performance for Krasnodar, and he participated nicely in the offensive part of the game.

Midfielder – (2) Manuel Fernandes, Lokomotiv Moscow

The Portuguese midfielder once again played a key role in Lokomotiv’s victory. From his spot on the midfield, he dictated the game, and his brilliant vision set up several chances.

Midfielder – (1) Fernando, Spartak Moscow

Fernando has struggled this season, but Saturday he finally looked like his old self. He recorded a total of five tackles from his place in central midfield, and he furthermore equalized Rostov’s lead with his goal in the first half.

Midfielder – (2) Aleksey Miranchuk, Lokomotiv Moscow

Aleksey Miranchuk was always a great talent, but now he is finally decisive in the big games. He was absolutely fantastic against Zenit, where he contributed with both a goal and an assist. He is ready for a bigger challenge.

Forward – (1) Jefferson Farfán, Lokomotiv Moscow – Player of the Week

There were some sceptics when Farfán moved to Russia, but he has proved them all wrong. Farfán was once again fantastic against Zenit, where he scored two goals and assisted the third.

Forward – (1) Fyodor Smolov, FC Krasnodar

It can be argued that Smolov’s inclusion in this team is on a cheap background as Krasnodar only faced SKA. However, the Russian international was electric up front with two goals and an assist. He finally looked like his old self.

Forward – (1) Viktor Claesson, FC Krasnodar

After some tough weeks, Claesson truly reached his top level in the victory against Krasnodar. The Swede was involved in practically everything, and he was instrumental in Krasnodar ending their streak of defeats.

Author: James Nickels

Born and raised in South Shields, the direct mid-point between Sunderland and Newcastle in North-East England during an era of sustained success and European football for the Magpies, while the Black Cats floundered in the lower divisions, so naturally I decided to support Sunderland. I’ve developed an interest in Russian football over the last decade or so, but it piqued while studying for my Masters’ Degree in Russian and Soviet History, and I’ve been hooked by Spartak Moscow ever since. Considers Eduard Streltsov the best of his generation, and a fond proponent of his repatriation.

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