RFPL Round 16: Results and Team of the Week

Only two of the RFPL top six recorded victories today, as Spartak broke into the top five for the first time this season courtesy of an impressive 3-1 comeback victory over Ufa. Their inability to hold onto a lead has hampered them all season, having dropped fourteen points from winning positions this season. Last season, they didn’t lose any, and if they had repeated this would be sitting top of the table with 39 points, twelve wins and just the one loss from sixteen games, conceding a theoretical league-best lowest eight goals in the process. However, their defence is leaky and full-backs slow and ageing, and thus are deservedly only fifth due to their inability to hold on to a lead.

Krasnodar won again, largely thanks to the sheer brilliance of Fyodor Smolov, impressively defeating FC Tosno away from home. It is the first time the home side have conceded three all season. It seems the RFPL laughing stock turned international hitman is single-handedly keeping Igor Shalimov in a job.

Other notable results include Akhmat Grozny’s return to winning ways, with a member of their squad making the TOTW for the first time, while Arsenal’s impressive run continues with another fine away victory. That’s three in a row at Zenit, CSKA and SKA, all notoriously difficult fixtures. A specal mention goes out to Luka Djordevic, who when finally given a run of games is finally living up to his long-awaited promise.

Zenit recorded four scoreless games in a row for the first time in their post-1991 history, while CSKA and Ural both failed to win. Anzhi’s away victory was their first in ten on the road, coming at Amkar’s fortress the Zvezda Stadium merely reinforces the impressive nature of their win.

This week’s side really is a mixed bag, featuring players from numerous mid-tables sides, four occupying Europe and three in the relegation zones. This is merely emblematic of the unpredictable nature of the league.

 

Results

FC Ural 2 – 2 Dinamo Moscow

FC Tosno 1 – 3 FC Krasnodar

Akhmat Grozny 1 – 0 FC Rostov

SKA Khabarovsk 1 – 2 Arsenal Tula

Amkar Perm 1 – 2 Anzhi Makhachkala

Lokomotiv Moscow 2 – 2 CSKA Moscow

Rubin Kazan 0 – 0 Zenit St. Petersburg

Spartak Moscow 3 – 1 FC Ufa

 

Statistics

Facts

  • Quincy Promes has had the most assists from open play in the Premier League this season, with five.
  • Zenit St. Petersburg hasn’t scored in four consecutive games for the first time in their history post-1991.
  • At 2.18, the RFPL has the lowest average goals per game of all top-flight divisions in the whole of Europe.
  • Toni Šunjić recorded the highest number of defensive actions in one game in both the RFPL this season and the whole of Europe this weekend, with 25.
  • Goran Causic has had the most shots that hit the woodwork in the Premier League this season (three).
  • Amkar have completed the fewest passes per game in the Premier League this season, with 239.
  • Ivan Markelov was the first player this season to receive both two cautions and score two goals in the same game.

xG

  • Spartak Moscow are in the top three this season for all xG (23.56), xGA (12.09) and xPTS (28.92), outlining their inability to hold on to an often deserved lead.
  • Despite not scoring in for matches, Zenit still lead the way in terms of xG, with 23.57.
  • Despite being such a low scoring league, there are six players with a xG over 5.00; Aleksandr Kokorin (5.78), Quincy Promes (5.75), Luiz Adriano (5.75), Fyodor Smolov (5.58), Luka Djordevic (5.38) and Viktor Claesson (5.26).

 

Team of the Week

Goalkeeper – (2) Soslan Dzhanaev, Rubin Kazan

Rubin managed a solid 0-0 draw with Zenit over the weekend to end a spell of poor results. Although they controlled the game for spells, Rubin had Dzhanaev to thank for not losing after a number of key saves in the last 10 minutes, as well as an assured performance throughout.

Defender – (1) Konstantin Savichev, SKA Khabarovsk

The ex-Spartak youth started his career as a winger or wide midfielder but has found himself impressing at right wing-back in recent weeks, continuing this weekend as SKA lost at home for the first time since the opening day of the season. Savichev assisted SKA’s equaliser in the first half with a good cross and was an ever-present getting forward as SKA pushed to score again.

Defender – (1) Gregor Balazic, FC Ural

The Slovenian central defender was immense at both ends for Ural this weekend, chipping in with two key goals, as well as making several key tackles and interceptions. A late, last-ditch tackle on Yevgeny Lutsenko is particularly memorable, as he essentially earned Ural a point all on his own.

Defender – (1) Toni Šunjić, Dinamo Moscow

If ever a coach needs to show on ninety minutes to an aspiring, young central defender, it’d be Toni Šunjić’s on Friday. He was immense over the course of the ninety, pulling off 25 defensive actions including eight aerial duels, five tackles, three interceptions and eight clearances, keeping Vladimir Ilyin completely out the game. Hopefully, he’ll escape Šunjić’s back pocket before next week’s game against Ufa.

Defender – (1) Fyodor Kudryashov, Rubin Kazan

Kudryashov has found himself competing for a defensive position all season. Elmir Nabiullin offer’s competition at left back, while Rubin has five other centre-halves to play should Kudryashov miss out. This weekend he featured at left wing-back, and was solid up and down the pitch, putting in a number of good tackles while also setting up a good chance in the first half.

Midfielder – (1) Anton Shvets, Akhmat Grozny

Finally, an Akhmat midfielder makes it onto the RFN Team of the Week. Now we’ve got nothing against the club – aside from being owned like a meme – it was simply due to their poor performances. However, Anton Shvets has been their leading light of late, and this weekend covered every blade of grass against Rostov, and controlled proceedings, completing 54 passes at just under 80% accuracy.

Midfielder – (2) Fernando, Spartak Moscow – Player of the Week

The Fernando of old (last season) is back, featuring on TOTW for two weeks in a row. The Brazilian is finally dictating play and playing football like the chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, over five moves ahead of any opponent. He scored another trademark free-kick while also creating both goals, the latter of which was a wonderful 30-yard through ball to begin a decisive counter. He completed 80 passes at a completion rate of 85% while also pulling off two key passes, nine long balls, one interception and three tackles. A truly masterful defensive midfield performance.

Midfielder – (1) Anton Miranchuk, Lokomotiv Moscow

Anton Miranchuk is finally stepping out of his twin brothers’ rather large shadow both on the pitch and on the RFN TOTW, featuring for the first time. With a goal and an assist against a staunch CSKA defence, he more than deserves both the praise and his recent call-up to the Sbornaya squad.

Forward – (1) Quincy Promes, Spartak Moscow

It’s about time the best player in Russia appeared on this list. With a well-taken goal and key assist to Luiz Adriano, Promes is back on form after a barren spell, having not scored in his last four in the league before the game against Ufa. That is not a barren spell for any other player, such is the high standard the flying Dutchman has set for himself since signing from FC Twente.

Forward – (2) Fyodor Smolov, FC Krasnodar

Speaking of dry spells, Smolov’s earlier in the season of four games was the longest since signing for Krasnodar. Now, he has responded in typical Smolov style with another brace. That’s four goals and one assist in his last two games. Despite Krasnodar’s troubles, they have the most lethal poacher in Eastern Europe at their disposal.

Forward – (1) Oleg Danchenko, Anzhi Makhachkala

The Shakhtar Donetsk loanee has had a great season in a poor Anzhi side, finding himself at right back, defensive midfield and on occasion, right midfield, like in this weekend’s win against Amkar. Danchenko was a key player once again despite not directly contributing to any of Anzhi’s goals, working hard in attack and using his natural defensive mentality to help Anzhi secure a vital three points.

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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