RFPL Week 19: Betting Advice & Previews

Game of the Week – Sunday 16:00 BST: Anzhi Makhachkala – SKA Khabarovsk

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Game of the Week here focusses upon the relegation zone, with a key basement battle between Anzhi Makhachkala and SKA Khabarovsk in Dagestan. Three points are key for either side, especially the home team, whereas a SKA victory may just doom both in the long run.

Anzhi Makh-catching up?

I’m not sorry for that awful joke. But Anzhi has reemerged from certain relegation fodder in recent weeks, picking up vital points against Amkar, Arsenal Tula and Akhmat Grozny. Vadim Skripchenko has taken over and stopped chopping and changing as much as his predecessor, Aleksandr Grigoryan and his set-up is resulting in them scoring a lot of goals relative to their position. The 3-2 victory over Arsenal Tula is essentially their season in microcosm; score a lot, concede just as many.

However, Anzhi are still right in the relegation mare and need to tighten up their poor defence. Skripchenko has been slowly increasing the experience in the starting eleven, with Anzhi’s weighted age rising more than any other in the league from weeks 10-15. Skripchenko will need that experience to win such a huge game.

Big trouble in little Khabarovsk

SKA have almost been doomed to fail from the very beginning this season; with their huge travel logistics paramount in limiting their success. Despite only picking up two wins all season, however, they have been far from the whipping boys, playing some good football and only narrowly losing.

However, they have now not won in six, losing four games on the bounce. Three of which were at home. It seems their home advantage may have finally gone, with sides acclimatised as to how to make the trip. With 12 conceded in these four, SKA are shipping goals, but do score often too, managing to score five in these games. I think they’ll be relegated in last place, but not without their heads held high. Miroslav Markovic, Vladislav Nikiforov and Konstantin Savichev are all performing well recently too, with the former two featuring on our TOTW in October and November.

Team News

Magomed Musalov, Jaba Lipartia and Batraz Khadartsev are recovering from long-term injuries and will not feature for Anzhi, while Konstantin Bazelyuk and Aleksei Solosin are also both out. I’d expect a few changes after two losses on the bounce in winnable games.

For SKA, Aleksandr Cherevko picked up a knock in last round’s match against Lokomotiv and is a doubt for the game along with Aleksei Druzin. Anton Zemlyanukhin is a long-term injury victim and hasn’t featured this season. Ukrainian midfielder Denis Dedechko is suspended after receiving his fourth yellow card of the season last time out.

Predicted Lineups

Anzhi (4-2-3-1): Loria – Tetrashvilli, Samardzic, Bryzgalov, Poluyakhtov – Afonin, Bakaev – Khubulov, Katsaev, Markelov – Prudnikov.

SKA (4-4-2): Dovbnya – Yediev, Grishko, Dimidko, Navalovski – Savichev, Kalinskiy, Karasev, Nikiforov – Markovic, Fedotov

Betting Advice: Neither side can really defend, but both have been able to score of late. At 4.50 odds, Anzhi to win at home, but both teams to score seems an attractive bet. 

€10 on Anzhi to win and BTTS @4.50 at bet365


Friday 16:30 BST: Arsenal Tula – Spartak Moscow

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Arsenal were one of the form teams in the league just a short couple of weeks ago, however, following a draw at Rubin then a surprise loss at home to Tosno, they have dropped off a little. Their solid defence and a strong home record will be tested this weekend by the form attack in the league, with Spartak having scored ten goals in their last three.

Spartak will be without a few players; Brazilian midfielder Fernando is suspended after being sent off against FC Zenit. Dmitri Kombarov broke his rib last time out and will miss the visit to Tula. Serdar Tasci is recovering from a persistent muscle injury and is also a doubt here, while Quincy Promes has not travelled. They join Artem Timofeev, Jano Ananidze and Georgi Tigiev in missing out.

Arsenal, on the other hand, will only miss out on Danila Buranov, who will not feature here because of a long-term knee injury. Aside from this, they have a clean bill of health.

I’d expect the away side to nick it in a tight affair, due to their surmounting injury troubles and Arsenal’s own strong record.

Betting Advice: €10 on a Spartak win @1.95 at bet365


Friday 16:30 BST: CSKA Moscow – FC Tosno

By Martin Lowe (@plasticpitch)

This weekend’s early game sees the Russian Football Premier League’s perennial hope in European football CSKA Moscow lining up an on paper comfortable win against relegation-threatened FC Tosno.

All looks to be simple, yet with The Army Men travelling to England to face Manchester United in their midweek crunch Champions League tie, and a headline billing Moscow derby with Spartak next weekend, you’d be forgiven if CSKA fans are taking their eye off the ball ahead of Friday’s low key opener. It does, however, present the fans their first opportunity to watch their side play at the VEB Arena in the league for over a month, a venue where they haven’t conceded an RFPL goal since August.

Friday’s visitors Tosno have played their part in establishing themselves as the plucky newcomers of the league, with last weekend’s emphatic 3-2 victory over Arsenal Tula just about keeping their head above water. Facing one of Russia’s sternest defences away from home, the return to form of 23-year-old Evgeni Markov is something to cling onto, after he drew level with his FNL tally from last term with a hat-trick at the Petrovsky last Saturday.

Betting Advice: €10 on a CSKA win with a clean sheet @2.05 at bet365


Saturday 11:00 BST: Dinamo Moscow – FC Rostov

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

It’s another basement battle early on this weekend, as 16th meets 10th in a true six-pointer. Rostov have eased their relegation fears with a win over Anzhi last week, bringing a worrying run of just one win in 13 to an end. Dinamo themselves are also woefully out of form, picking up just one win in their last six; a 2-0 victory over rock-bottom SKA but still have a rock-solid defence.

Dinamo will be without Anton Sosnin, who is suspended after picking u his fourth yellow card last week against Amkar. Winger Anton Terekhov is a doubt after picking up an injury in the same game, while Kirill Panchenko remains to be out long-term. Rostov are only missing likewise long-term injury victim Artur Yusupov.

If any game was to be under 2.5 games, it’s this one. There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 17 of Rostov‘s last 21 away games and in Dinamo’s last six home games.

Betting Advice: €10 on under 2.5 goals @1.40 at bet365


Saturday 11:00 BST: Zenit St. Petersburg – Ural Ekaterinburg

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Zenit’s annual November crisis has taken shape, and rather devastatingly. Starting earlier than usual in late October, they have won just one in six games, losing three and scoring just six goals (five of which came against Tosno). It was rounded off by a dominant Spartak last weekend.

Ural have really settled down into mid-table after their Europen pushing heights, with two wins, draws and losses in their form guide, scoring seven and conceding seven. For a team who have already drawn nine times this season, that makes perfect sense. Good old boring but effective Ural. I’m sure any fan of the Uraltsy would take that over relegation-threatened Ural.

Andrei Lunev and Oleg Shatov are recovering from their respective injuries and are doubts for Saturday’s match. Aleksandr Anyukov is also mysteriously out with “fatigue and physical problems”, and it gos without saying that Viktor Faizulin is out. Ural are without Vladimir Khozin and Aleksandr Pavlenko and have been all season. Gregor Balazic is injured and a massive miss for Ural after picknig up an injury v Krasnodar.

Without Balazic, I’d expect Zenit to bounce back here. Zenit are Ural’s bogey team; Zenit have won their last four home matches against Ural in all competitions and have kept a clean sheet in their last 3 home matches against Ural in all competitions.

Betting Advice: €10 on Zenit win @1.25 at bet365


Saturday 13:30 BST: Lokomotiv Moscow – Rubin Kazan

By David Sansun (@RFN_David)

Lokomotiv Moscow went 6 points clear at the top of the league last week following a 92nd-minute winner away at SKA Khabarovsk, combined with Zenit losing the derby against Spartak Moscow. Going into this match, they should be viewing this as an easy victory, based on Rubin’s form. The recent goalscoring streak of Jefferson Farfan up front is a welcome boost to a team known for lacking a striker, and he’ll be looking to continue his run against Rubin.

Rubin’s troubles run deep, but end primarily start with goals. Since the sale of Jonathas in August, Rubin have mustered just 3 goals, and two wins, and are now precariously placed above the relegation playoff spots. They’re really just wanting to get to the winter break while operating damage limitations, and so they’ll be happy with anything other than losing in this one.

Betting Advice: €10 on Lokomotiv to win and Farfan to score first @7.00 at bet365 


Sunday 11:00 BST: FC Ufa – Amkar Perm

By David Sansun (@RFN_David)

Ufa are flying high in the top half of the table but hit a stumbling block with a defeat to their nearest rivals Akhmat last week. They’ve made interesting changes in recent weeks, with Nigerian attackers Sly Igboun and Kehinde Fatai making way for Dmitriy Sysuev and Slava Krotov, which worked wonders against Ural two weeks ago, but did not pay dividends against Akhmat.

Amkar have had a decent turn of form over the last month, having had the worst start of the season, and have only lost one of their last 5 matches, winning their most recent match against Dinamo Moscow at home. Their away form is particularly good, and they have not lost away from home since August, a streak of 8 games in all competitions. Combined with Ufa’s great home record (4 wins in the last 4), this is perhaps signalling a close-knit affair.

Betting Advice: €10 on a draw @2.75 at Bet365


Sunday 13:00 BST: FC Krasnodar – Akhmat Grozny

By Martin Lowe (@plasticpitch)

After polarising starts to the season, status quo seems to have been established with Krasnodar and Akhmat Grozny returning to lurk on the fringes of the European spots in the league table.

Krasnodar’s capitulation from potential title contender to typical European chasing form has been disappointing. Despite their current upturn, they’ve still lost 5 of their last 8 RPL matches. A crumb of comfort is the fixture list which eases up somewhat as we head into the winter break, and with Fedor Smolov retuning in reassuringly ominous form (the reigning RFN Player of the Year has scored 5 in 4 since his return from injury) The Bulls should head into 2018 in confident mood.

If Krasnodar are set to end the year on an up, the opposite could be said of Akhmat Grozny, who finish things off with ties against Krasnodar and Zenit before a worrying looking schedule greets them on their return in the New Year. Their form away from the Chechen capital has always been a matter of concern, with this weekend’s matchup against Krasnodar providing little hope that they can clinch three points on the road for the first time since August.

Betting Advice: €10 on Fedor Smolov to score first @3.60 at bet365


RFN Total: +€646.94

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

Vincent Tanguy: +€79.65 (hit rate: 13/39, 33%)

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%)

Andrew Flint: +€52.9 (hit rate: 20/66, 30%)

Ben Clark: +€42 (hit rate: 13/42, 31%)

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%)

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

Artëm Markarevitch: -€23.1 (hit rate: 7/24, 29%)

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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