RFPL Round 19: Results & Team of the Week

The most recent edition of our Team of the Week seems a little two-sided, literally. Seven of the players involved come from CSKA or Anzhi after their respective impressive 6-0 and 4-0 results at home to Tosno and SKA. Such was the dominant performance of CSKA’s supremely talented midfield, all three were going to make up the RFN TOTW midfield trio, but Aleksandr Golovin was omitted due to his penalty miss (despite that brilliant goal).

Elsewhere, Zenit returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Ural, a vital victory considering Champions League rivals CSKA and Spartak are breathing down their necks, both within two points of the Blue-White-Sky Blues.

Spartak defeated Arsenal Tula in horrendous conditions in Tula with Quincy Promes, Ze Luis, Fernando and Dima Kombarov all missing, the former likely rested for the Liverpool game midweek. Meanwhile, city-rivals Dinamo likewise returned to winning ways after a 2-0 victory over Rostov as the race for survival has been blown wide-open – just five points separate Rostov in tenth and Anzhi in fifteenth.

Krasnodar completed a wonderful second-half comeback at home to Akhmat Grozny, who were 2-0 up at the Krasnodar Stadium thanks to an excellent first-half performance. This game is essentially a microcosm of Akhmat’s inconsistent season, most likely a direct result of their young squad.

Ufa – Amkar seemed like a typical Ufa – Amkar game after 60 minutes, with very little attacking intent as neither side wished to keep the ball. However, it exploded into life in the final half-hour thanks largely to Sly Igboun’s powerful brace.

Lokomotiv, despite only scoring one goal against a struggling Rubin side, once again managed to grind out a result through their now efficient machine. Their play right now smacks of Spartak last season and CSKA two years ago, which bodes well for their title hopes.

As such, the railwaymen will remain top of the RFPL going into the winter break for the first time in twelve (!) years.

Here are the results and  TOTW for Week 19.

 

Results

Arsenal Tula 0 – 1 Spartak Moscow

CSKA Moscow 6 – 0 FC Tosno

Dinamo Moscow 2 – 0 FC Rostov

Zenit St. Petersburg 2 – 1 Ural Ekaterinburg

Lokomotiv Moscow 1 – 0 Rubin Kazan

FC Ufa 3 – 0 Amkar Perm

FC Krasnodar 3 – 2 Akhmat Grozny

Anzhi Makhachkala 4 – 0 SKA Khabarovsk

 

Statistics

Facts

  • Vladimir Poluyakhtov (Anzhi) has completed the most tackles in the league this season, with 64, highlighting his superior defensive ability in a struggling side.
  • David Yurchenko (Tosno) has made the most accurate long balls in the Premier League this season, with 219.
  • Evgeni Markov (Tosno) has contributed to 47% of Tosno’s goals this season, the highest in the league.
  • Mikhail Merkulov (Ural) has made the most inaccurate passes in his own half in the Premier League this season, with 88.
  • Leandro Paredes (Zenit) has delivered the most corners in the Premier League this season, with 79.
  • Despite losing 4-0, Aleksandr Dovbnya (SKA) has made the most saves from long shots in the Premier League this season, with 43.
  • Akhmat Grozny are the most aggressive team so far this season, receiving 45 yellow cards and 2 reds.
  • There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Dinamo Moscow‘s last 7 home games.
  • There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 11 of Rubin Kazan‘s last 12 games.

 

Goalkeeper – (1) Georgi Loria, Anzhi Makhachkala

Loria was often the forgotten man in this game as Anzhi dominated the game with 66% of possession, but when SKA did get forward and threaten the Georgian in goal, he made sure that Anzhi remained in the driving seat. The highlight was a stunning save at 2-0 to deny Vitaly Fedotov from 18 yards, which had it gone it could have changed the game completely.

Defender – (1) Vladimir Poluyakhtov, Anzhi Makhachkala

Poluyakhtov has completed the most tackles in the league this season, with 64. He has been a rock in defence for an otherwise susceptible team at the back. Although this is high partly due to their struggles, he has arguably been one of Anzhi’s players of the season this year. He continued this form against SKA, managing to score in the process.

Defender – (1) Viktor Vasin, CSKA Moscow

Viktor Vasin is sometimes just as frustrating as he is effective. There is no doubt he is an efficient and effective defender at times. He scored against Tosno and led the defence from even looking like conceding, marshalling the powerful Tosno duo of Markov and Zabolotnyi. He’s also a competent passer of the ball, completing 51 passes at the weekend at a completion rate of an excellent 92%.

Defender – (4) Solomon Kverkvelia, Lokomotiv Moscow

Kverkvelia came back to haunt his former team once again this weekend, as Lokomotiv Moscow held tight to scrape a late win against Rubin Kazan. In the reverse fixture, Kverkvelia scored a 93rd-minute equaliser to rescue a point, but on Saturday it was his defensive performance which prevented Rubin from scoring. The big Georgian threw himself in front of every shot, and blocked every cross and mopped up all the danger, making a weekend-high eleven clearances. This is his third week in a row on the TOTW, appearing on four of the last five.

Defender – (1) Igor Armaș, Anzhi Makhachkala

The Moldovan international centre-back was played in an unfamiliar left-back role on Sunday in a relegation six-pointer against SKA Khabarovsk, but the veteran put in a cracking shift, getting forward to support his team as they burst into a 3-0 lead before halftime, before rounding off the win with the fourth goal in the 2nd half, a powerful strike which deflected in.

Midfielder – (1) Alan Dzagoev, CSKA Moscow

It is a crying shame for both CSKA and the national team to see Dzagoev out so often with injury, however, when he is back and on top form like this, he’s a real pleasure to watch. Dzagoev pulled off 40 passes at 80% accuracy including six key passes and two assists, becoming the creator in chief for his teammates.

Midfielder – (2) Bibras Natkho, CSKA Moscow – Player of the Week

While Dzagoev was the creator, Natkho became the base upon everything CSKA carried out in replacement of his midfield comrade Pontus Wernbloom who continues to thrive as a striker. How to solve a problem like the CSKA midfield? Well put one up front and play them all. Against Tosno, Natkho pulled off an incredible 85 successful passes at 86% accuracy including four key passes, two crosses and seven long balls. He won three duels, was fouled once and only committed one foul himself while completing three interceptions and three tackles in the meantime. Even beyond this, he scored a great goal and pulled off an assist. It’s arguably one of the most complete midfield performances I have ever seen in Russia, and thoroughly deserves our player of the week award. Honestly, watch the match back and just marvel at his play.

Midfielder – (1) Leandro Paredes, Zenit St. Petersburg

Aleksandr Golovin can count himself unlucky not to join his two CSKA comrades, but this is thanks to the continued brilliance of Leandro Paredes at Zenit. While Kuzyaev has been their star signing and Kokorin top goalscorer, their best player this season has been the enigmatic Paredes. Despite murmurings of Mancini not being able to get the best out of him, he runs each game from a deep-lying role with aplomb. He was typically dynamic against Ural at the weekend, completing 46 passes at over 94% completion, and was involved in every move at both ends of the pitch, really stepping up after Daley Kuzyaev filled-in at right-back.

Forward – (1) Ivan Markelov, Anzhi Makhachkala

Anzhi were somewhat predicted to have a good game against SKA, who always struggle away from home, and Markelov was at the centre of it, picking up a goal and two assists. Within 50 seconds, he’d played Juan Lescano through to score against his old club and 6 minutes crossed for Vladimir Polyuakhtov to fire home, before tapping home after Arsen Khubulov’s shot was parried.

Forward – (2) Sylvester ‘Sly’ Igboun, FC Ufa

Sly Igboun has played a more withdrawn role recently under Sergei Semak, moving out to the left while Vyacheslav Krotov leads the line. Against Amkar, in the second half, it was key. He was able to return to the role he plays alongside fellow Nigerian Kehinde Fatai in having the free ability to use his pace to get in behind the opposition defence and arrive late into the box. He scored twice against Amkar and played very well in general.

Forward – (2) Viktor Claesson, FC Krasnodar

The Swede is a very typical winger; he stays out of the game for long periods before then jumping into life at key intervals in the game. He only completed 24 passes against Akhmat, yet six of these were key passes, three created “big chances” including two assists.

Author: David Sansun

Arsenal and Rubin Kazan fan. Possibly too optimistic for Russian football which means I’m left disappointed a lot.

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