RFPL Round 17: Results and Team of the Week

In what is arguably the most unpredictable and exciting RFPL season in years, results took somewhat of a turn towards normality in Round 17. Last week, only two of the top five recorded victories (Krasnodar and Spartak), here, four did. Loko, Zenit, CSKA and Spartak all won, with only Krasnodar missing out because they played in-form Spartak. As a result, six of the players picked featured for these sides.

Spartak destroyed Krasnodar in Krasnodar this week, and Sergei Galitsky must surely be close to pulling the trigger on Igor Shallimov’s tenure as the Bulls’ head coach. Within a week that opposite number Massimo Carrera delivered an excellent Forbes talk on leadership, he must be praised for steering such a meteoric return to form.

Cross-city rivals CSKA Moscow dispatched SKA in -17 conditions in the Far East, surely the last thing you need after a 7-hour flight. Next week it’ll be Loko’s turn, as the RFPL has turned into the Trans-Siberian Football League.

The northern derby was a cagey affair in the first half but exploded into life in the second. Aleksandr Kokorin scored a brilliant solo effort but was outshined by a somewhat younger and surprise comrade a little further back.

One player features for the third time this week after another match-winning performance, but I won’t tell you who that is just yet.

Ufa features heavily after a surprise but efficient victory over Ural, while despite shipping four goals, one SKA defender had the game of his life at the beautiful Lenin Stadium (Kh).

Here are the results and Week 17’s TOTW.



SKA Khabarovsk 2 – 4 CSKA Moscow

Dinamo Moscow 1 – 1 Akhmat Grozny

FC Krasnodar 1 – 4 Spartak Moscow

Arsenal Tula 0 – 0 Rubin Kazan

FC Ufa 2 – 0 Ural Ekaterinburg

Anzhi Makhachkala 0 – 1 Lokomotiv Moscow

FC Rostov 0 – 0 Amkar Perm

Zenit St. Petersburg 5 – 0 FC Tosno




  • Rubin Kazan has lost the most aerial duels per game in the Premier League this season, with 18.94.
  • Quincy Promes has been directly involved in 48% of Spartak’s goals this season, a league-wide high.
  • This weekend’s game was the first time Krasnodar have conceded four goals in one game since their first in the RFPL, way back in 2011/12.
  • Spartak Moscow’s ten games unbeaten run in the league is a post-Soviet Russian record.
  • If only the first halves of games in the league counted, Spartak would sit top with only one loss (Zenit away), and Arsenal Tula would sit a surprise third.
  • Speaking of Arsenal, with four wins in their last six this is their best form streak of all-time in the RFPL.


  • Despite going five games without a loss, Zenit’s 5-0 demolition of Tosno in the Northern derby at the weekend allows them to sit top of the league-wide xG at 25.79.
  • Expectantly, Amkar is bottom at just 11.95.
  • Akhmat Grozny has the highest xP (expected points) at home this season with 17.86, just edging out Loko and Spartak.
  • CSKA Moscow ran SKA ragged in terms of xG, recording a huge 3.95. This is largely thanks to Pontus Wernbloom’s two tap-in goals.

Goalkeeper – (1) Artur Nigmatullin, Amkar Perm

After a difficult start, Amkar Perm has returned to normality; a solid defence and ineffective attack. Nigmatullin has been excellent thus far this season. At the weekend he really stepped up against Rostov, pulling off three saves, one high claim and an excellent penalty save, outwitting the usually reliable Sverrir Ingason.

Defender – (1) Aleksei Kozlov, Dinamo Moscow

Almost an ever-present at right-back, Kozlov is a key component of a staunch Dinamo defensive unit this season. They have conceded more than twice on just one occasion; a 3-0 loss to league leaders Loko. The 30-year-old pulled off an impressive 24 defensive actions over the 90 minutes against Akhmat, including nine tackles and kept the dangerous Bernard Berisha firmly out of the game.

Defender – (1) Branislav Ivanović, Zenit St. Petersburg

This is the Ivanović we all know and love from his long career, as he was effective at both ends of the pitch. Playing alongside Emmanuel Mammana in the middle, he bossed Anton Zabolotny all game and even scored an excellent header from a Leandro Paredes corner.

Defender – (2) Solomon Kverkvelia, Lokomotiv Moscow

Arguably the most impressive, consistent and best defender this season. Kverkvelia was once again a rock-at-the-back for Loko last weekend. Aside from impressive defensive statistics (8 clearances, 4 tackles, 3 interceptions), he leads the Loko defence with aplomb. The lanky Georgian controls the Loko defensive unit in tow with Captain Igor Denisov as if he had been there for years, belying his summer move and short loan at the end of last season.

Defender – (1) Giorgi Navalovski, SKA Khabarovsk

SKA were the better team for most of the first half and were solid for a lot of the 2nd against CSKA, & Navalovski‘s work charging up from left back to support attacks were a big part of what saw them look to set up a surprise result, only to fall foul to two late goals.

Midfielder – (1) Vero Salatić, FC Ufa

Salatić is the base Ufa build around. Ever attack starts with the deep-lying playmaker alongside destroyer Ivan Paurević. The Swiss midfielder completed 36 passes with over 82% accuracy, although not seemingly very high, it is at Ufa. He completed 17% of all of the sides successful passes (218) over the course of 90 minutes, such is his influence. He completed one key pass and five long balls from an attempted ten, an impressive completion rate. Salatić is a master in the “Makélélé role”.

Midfielder – (1) Daler Kuzyaev, Zenit St. Petersburg

What a gem of a signing Daler Kuzyaev has been, unearthed by the late Konstantin Sarsania. Kuzyaev impressed at times for Akhmat last season, but very few predicted the impact he would have on both Zenit and the national team this term. Here, he registered a goal and assist.

Midfielder – (1) Dmitri Stotsky, FC Ufa

Stotsky scored in the 2-0 victory over Ural, however, his overall play is so much more important than just this goal. Lining up as part of a two behind central striker Sly Igboun, Stotsky presses and harasses opponents all-game. He is vital to Ufa’s playing-style and won 11 duals, drew two fouls, made two clearances, two tackles and five interceptions. Incredible for an attacking player.

Forward – (2) Quincy Promes, Spartak Moscow

No more superlatives need be cast towards Quincy Promes than there already has been. He is talismanic for Spartak and was once again able to treat his fans to a customary mask off celebration notching another goal and assist. That’s now 21 in 21 games in all competitions.

Forward – (1) Luiz Adriano, Spartak Moscow – Player of the Week

Luiz Adriano is awarded our player of the week award after a stupendous performance leading the Spartak line at the weekend. He ran Andreas Granqvist ragged at the Krasnodar Stadium, grabbing two goals and an assist in the process. He has formed a near-telepathic bond with Promes in recent weeks. Defensively, he also made two clearances and pulled off one tackle and one interception and won 70% of his aerial duels. The Brazilian truly is a  complete forward right on the top of his game, and a pleasure to watch.

Forward – (3) Manuel Fernandes, Lokomotiv Moscow

Manu Fernandes is the first player to reach three appearances on the RFN TOTW, and for good reason. He has been the most enigmatic performer thus far this season, and his almost psychic chemistry with the Miranchuk twins is a pleasure to watch. The Portuguese controlled proceedings against Anzhi at the weekend, completing 54 passes (80% accuracy), two key passes, two crosses and four through balls, seven take-ons and drew three fouls. A true trequartista at the top of his game.

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.


  1. Ndiga Mbena says:

    Fine display of the players performances. Just keep it up !!

Leave a Reply