RFPL Round 18: Betting Advice & Previews

Spartak’s replesedent new home, the 44,000 seater Otkrytie Arena. Source: Открытие Арена

Game of the Week – Monday 16:30 BST: Spartak Moscow – Zenit St. Petersburg

By Vincent Tanguy (@Spartak_M_VT)

When you start the season, it’s the game you underline on your calendar to not miss! Spartak and Zenit are the two most popular teams in Russia and a confrontation between the two biggest cities; Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Kind of Revenge

All the Red-Whites have in their mind the 5-1 defeat in St.Petersburg inAugust. Players haven’t publicly talked about it yet because of the Champions League and thegame against Maribor, but the lust for revenge has to be in all their heads. Confrontations in St. Petersburg most of the time finish with a high score (5-1 this season, 4-2 in November 2016, 5-2 in April 2016) for Zenit. On the other hand, it’s tighter in Moscow…

Spartak is not in the same situation than in August. Early on it seems the players found it difficult looking for motivation after a great season and a title that club was waiting for 16 years. Some players like Glushakov or Fernando were clearly not in peak condition. Now, there is fewer injuries in the group and victories have brought renewed confidence in Spartak’s game. But there is still this “last ten minutes” problem that punished the Red-Whites in Champions League and the RFPL. Against Zenit, it can’t be the same if they are to come away with a win.

Win here, a run of victories will follow

When Spartak came back in the top of the League, Zenit started breaking down. Except for the victory 5-0 against Tosno last week, the last victory was against Krasnodar in September 24th (2-0). And until this game, they haven’t scored in the meantime against CSKA (0-0) and Lokomotiv (3-0). A victory against Spartak at the Otkrytie Arena would be a good sign in the title race. Sitting three points behind Lokomotiv and still a lot of games to play, Mancini knows the importance of this game.

Although playing on Thursday against Vardar in Europa League, they’ll have time to be ready for Monday.

Team News

The Red-Whites still have a few injury victims with Jano Ananidze, Georgi Tigiev and Artem Timofeev all missing. But Massimo Carrera can count on the return of Roman Zobnin who played 45 minutes against Krasnodar and 45 minutes against Maribor in UCL. Positioned in right-back, he wil lsurely be more useful either in central midfield or the left-wing, but Carrera want to protect him for a while. The only question is whether Andrei Eschenko will make the game, an injury doubt who missed the Maribor tie.

Mancini has to make a difficult decision on the inclusion of concussion-victim Andrei Lunev. Will he be ready for the game against Spartak? Viktor Faizulin is still out with a long-term knee injury.

Predicted Lineups

Spartak (4-2-3-1): Selikhov – Eschenko, Tasci, Dzhikiya, Kombarov – Gushakov, Fernando – Promes, Popov, Luiz Adriano – Ze Luis

Zenit (4-3-3): Lunev- Smolnikov, Mevlja, Mammana, Criscito – Erokhin, Paredes, Kranevitter – Driussi, Dzyuba, Kokorin

Betting Advice: €10 on 1-1 FT score @6.50 at bet365

 

Friday 14:30 BST: Amkar Perm – Dinamo Moscow

By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakarevitch)

Although this may not be the most interesting way to kick off the 18th round of the RFPL, this game is one of huge importance for both teams. With over half of the games played this season, neither side look confident of staying up.

Having both picked up a point last week, Dinamo sit in 14th  place, while Amkar are just two points ahead of them in 12th. Neither team have won in their last four RFPL games, but Gadzhiev’s side will gain confidence from the fact that Dinamo have the second worst away record in the league behind SKA. Although Dinamo managed to beat Amkar 3-0 earlier in the season, they have not scored more than two after the injury to Kirill Panchenko.

This game is a hard one to call, but I think it will end as a draw.

Betting Advice: €10 on Brian Idowu first goalscorer & 1-1 FT score @136.00 at bet365

 

Saturday 13:30 BST: FC Tosno – Arsenal Tula

By Ben Clark (@dinoben_)

Both teams come into this game with a genuine chance to win all three points. However, the home side sit 13th in the league whilst their opponents are seven points clear of the relegation play-offs.

Tosno have a tendency to throw away leads when under the cosh. On the other hand, Arsenal’s morale will be on a high after their recent form which has seen them pick up ten points in their last four games.

However, seven of those points have come at home with their away form as shaky as ever.

I think Arsenal will be happy with a point – not the same can be said for Tosno but I don’t see them winning this game.

Betting Advice: €10 on a draw @3.10 at bet365

 

Saturday 16:00 BST: Akhmat Grozny – FC Ufa

By Vincent Tanguy (@Spartak_M_VT)

Two teams that can get a good dynamic with a victory. If Ufa wins, they’ll be edging towards the top part of the League with 27 points. If they lose, they’ll stay in the middle of the table. Same thing for Akhmat if they win. If they lose, they are close to the relegation places…

At home, Akhmat has difficulties to get points. And in front of a solid team like Ufa, Akhmat will have to be aware. Ufa scores almost every game so I prognostic a Ufa victory 1-0. Enough to be close to the top!

Betting Advice: €10 on Ufa 1-0 @8.50 at bet365

 

Sunday 08:30 BST: Ural Ekaterinburg – FC Krasnodar

By Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint)

Ural have let their Europa League place temporarily slip through their fingers following last week’s deserved defeat away to Ufa, but they return this weekend to their fortress of the SKB Bank Arena. They boast the only remaining unbeaten home record in the Premier League, and have scored at least twice in each of their last four home games. Despite those positive signs, they have only won three of those nine home matches, and face a Krasnodar side with the most lethal striker on current form in former Ural legend Fedor Smolov.

The Bulls were beginning to laugh away the boo boys with two wins – including four goals from Smolov – on the trot until they welcomed Spartak Moscow last weekend. The humiliating 4-1 scoreline showed that there is still considerable work to do for Igor Shalimov in charge, and they have lost two of their last three away matches. Shalimov needs a point as much as Ural do.

Betting Advice: €10 on Draw FT @3.40 at bet365

 

Sunday 11:00 BST: Rubin Kazan – CSKA Moscow

By Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint)

It is hard to fathom quite why Rubin have fallen on such dreadfully barren times in front of goal, even allowing for Kurban Berdyev’s propensity for defensive discipline over attacking flair. The Tatarstan side have managed a woeful two goals scored in their last nine top-flight matches, winning just once in that time. Sardar Azmoun has bizarrely been left on the bench for most games, despite his experience and success internationally, while Rubin have failed to score at home since August.

CSKA Moscow will be greatly encouraged by their Champions League victory and have forced their way into the qualifying places for next year’s competition. While city rivals Lokomotiv have spent the last week or so moaning about having to play in freezing conditions in the far east, the Armymen were busy ‘thrashing’ SKA Khabarovsk 4-2.

Betting Advice: €10 on CSKA to win @2.40 at bet365

 

Sunday 13:30 BST: FC Rostov – Anzhi Makhachkala

By Ben Clark (@dinoben_)

Both teams come into this game with a genuine chance to win all three points. However, the home side sit 13th in the league whilst their opponents are seven points clear of the relegation play-offs.

Tosno have picked up most of their points at home this year, yet have a tendency to throw away leads when under the cosh. On the other hand, Arsenal’s morale will be on a high after their recent form which has seen them pick up 10 points in their last four games.

However, seven of those points have come at home with their away form as shaky as ever.

I think Arsenal will be happy with a point – not the same can be said for Tosno but I don’t see them winning this game.

Betting Advice: €10 on a draw @3.50 at bet365

 

Monday 09:00 BST: SKA Khabarovsk – Lokomotiv Moscow

By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakarevitch)

After trying and failing to get this game moved over 9000km from Khabarovsk to Sochi, Lokomotiv will now face the most dreaded away day in the RFPL. Not only does it take seven hours just to fly to Khabarovsk from Moscow, but the railroaders will also be expected to play in temperatures between -13 and -22 degrees, similar to the conditions that CSKA had played in just last week.

SKA have had some incredible matches at the Lenin stadium recently, averaging four goals per game in their last five home fixtures.

Lokomotiv go into this game with the aim of staying on top of the table. They are without first-choice goalkeeper Guilherme for this game, and despite having a record breaker in Nikita Medvedev to rely on, Yuri Semin has been playing Anton Konchenkov in goal.

On paper, this game has everything it takes to be a cracker, and I think it’s Lokomotiv’s approach that will be the most important factor on how the game goes.

Betting Advice: £10 on Both Teams To Score @2.37 at bet365

 

RFN Total: +€692.94

James Nickels: +€240.8 (hit rate: 18/31, 58%) 

Vincent Tanguy: +€99.65 (hit rate: 13/37, 35%)

Thomas Giles: +€87.6 (hit rate 22/43, 52%)

David Sansun: +€82.95 (hit rate: 20/56, 36%)

Jack Beresford: +€75.7 (hit rate 4/9, 44%) 

Will Baumgardner +€62.8 (hit rate: 4/4, 100%)

Ben Clark: +€62 (hit rate: 13/40, 33%)

Andrew Flint: +€38.9 (hit rate: 19/64, 30%)

Lukas Müller: +€31.45 (hit rate: 6/18, 33%)

Toke Theilade: +€27.89 (hit rate: 14/39, 36%)

Stefano Conforti: +€0.5  (hit rate: 3/9, 33%)

Artëm Markarevitch: -€3.1 (hit rate: 7/22, 32%)

Danny Armstrong: -€8 (hit rate: 2/6, 33%)

Ilya Sokolov: -€-26.4 (hit rate: 15/49, 30%)

Martin Lowe: -€44.7 (hit rate: 6/20, 30%)

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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