RFPL Week 7: Betting Advice & Previews

Rinat Dasaev’s gloves at the Spartak Museum. Photo: Vincent Tanguy/RFN

Match of the Round, Saturday 15:30 BST: Spartak Moscow – Lokomotiv Moscow

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Another week and another Moscow Derby as our Match of the Round. Spartak host Lokomotiv at the Otkrytiye Arena as they look to bounce back from successive derby defeats against Zenit and CSKA. Loko, on the other hand until last week had a very promising start to the season, until they were defeated 1-0 at home to newly promoted Tosno.

Carrera Under Pressure?

Some sections of the Russian media has discussed the future of Italian manager Massimo Carrera, who has come under much pressure due to his Spartak team vastly underperforming. Although the Italian has now been in charge of Spartak for a year, he’s has had run-ins with Leonid Fedun in the past regarding the transfer of Aleksandr Selikhov. As such, many believe that although ludicrous, the LukOil magnate may be willing to fire the trigger and sack the Italian if Spartak’s poor form continues. Only Quincy Promes and Georgi Dzhikiya have performed to the same levels of last season, although Luiz Adriano and Fernando started well, in recent weeks their performance levels have dropped amidst various forms of indiscipline. Russian stars Dima Kombarov and Denis Glushakov have been unable to uphold the same levels as last season, and both have been dropped at some point for the younger Georgi Tigiev and Artyom Timofeev so far. So many starts of last season dropping levels so drastically lead to questions over his management, although I believe Fedun sacking Carrera would be the worst decision he has made since he took over as  Spartak owner.

Loko Resurgent

Despite last weekends disappointing loss to Tosno, Lokomotiv has been resurgent this season under Yuri Semin, led by the excellent performances of Solomon Kverkvelia, Jefferson Farfán, Aleksei Miranchuk and co. Last week they suffered without having a recognised striker on the field, as Ari has now missed numerous games and the aforementioned Farfan joined him in the physio’s room. Before that, Loko looked imperious during the start to the season, and after the Super Cup before the last weekend, few would have expected such a drastic change in form for either team.

Team News

Spartak will definitely be without midfielders Roman Zobnin and Artyom Timofeev, who are both out with serious ACL injuries. Zé Luis also picked up an injury last week in the loss against CSKA and will miss this weekend’s game. Luiz Adriano will return after carrying out his two-game suspension against CSKA and Arsenal Tula.

As for Loko, long-term injury absentees Ari and Vedran Corluka will both miss out for Loko, Amir Natkho and Farfán are both highly doubtful for the match.


Spartak (4-2-3-1): Selikhov – Tigiev, Dzhikiya, Tasci, Petković – Glushakov, Fernando – Promes, Pašalić, Samedov – Luiz Adriano

Loko (4-2-3-1): Guilherme – Rybus, Kverkvelia, Pejčinović, Ignatyev – Denisov, Tarasov – Koryan, Fernandes, An Miranchuk – Al Miranchuk

Betting Advice: €10 on Plus 2.5 goals and BTTS @4.75 at Bet365

Friday 17:30 BST: FC Tosno – SKA Khabarovsk

By Lukas Müller (@LukasMullerDK)

Tosno and SKA have started their first ever RFPL campaign as you would have expected. Tosno lie twelfth, whilst the most eastern outfit this season, SKA, lie fourteenth. Both teams come into this fixture in relatively good form. Tosno have won two of their last three matches, which included an impressive 2-0 away win to Lokomotiv. SKA are unbeaten in their last two games, having beaten Anzhi at home, and drawn against Rubin Kazan. The home advantage will be massive in this one, with SKA having travelled the longest distance they will travel all season, to get to the Petrovsky Stadium. Tosno should edge it.

Betting Advice: €10 on Tosno to Win Without Conceding @2.25 at Bet365

Saturday 13:00 BST: FC Ural – CSKA Moscow

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

FC Ural has started off the season relatively well, and along with Roberto Mancini’s Zenit side are still unbeaten in the league. Aleksandr Tarkhanov has overseen a solid start for the Ekaterinburg based team, who has managed to keep hold of most of their big names (Bicfalvi, Emenyanov, Ilyin, et al). CSKA Moscow has had a mixed start to the season, while impressive in Europe with two clean sheets in a row (Igor Akinfeev’s first ever in the competition). However, Viktor Goncharenko’s side has experienced a mixed bag start to the season losing at home to Rubin and against bitter rivals Lokomotiv Moscow but has also defeated Spartak and newly promoted minnows. Goncharenko has also come under fire for not replacing any of his ageing defence, while also allowing key youth backup Nikita Chernov to go out on loan to this weekend’s opposition.

Edgar Manucharyan and Vladimir Khozin will both definitely miss out for the home side through injury, while Nikolai Dimitrov is doubtful. Youth prospect Aleksandr Makarov will miss out for CSKA, who otherwise have a clean bill of health.

At home, Ural may be able to surprise CSKA who will be focussing heavily upon their Champions League qualifiers against BSC Young Boys, while Aleksandr Tarkhanov’s men will be fresh and ready for the game on a decent run of form. However, history is not on their side as CSKA has won all of the last six meetings between the two, scoring eighteen and conceding only six goals.

Betting Advice: €10 on Draw @3.50 @ Bet365

Saturday 18:00 BST: Rubin Kazan – Anzhi Makhachkala

By Ilya Sokolov (@lokosokol)

Rubin looks helpless in attack, but their defense is also not as reliable as one would expect from a coach such as Kurban Berdyev. The team from Kazan is waiting for Jonathas, who will return after disqualification. As for Anzji, they could obvously get more points, and Aleksandr Grigoryan did not deserve to be fired. The players (with the exception, of Bazelyuk) are likely to be unhappy with his departure.

Betting Advice: €10 on Correct Score 1-0 @5.00 at Bet365

Sunday 13:00 BST: Amkar Perm – Zenit Saint Petersburg

By Lukas Müller (@LukasMullerDK)

Without any doubt, this looks like a very one-sided affair. Zenit has scored fifteen goals and conceded three in their opening six games, whilst Amkar has scored only once and conceded seven. Zenit comes off the back of a very disappointing away defeat to Utrecht in the Europa League playoffs, and the midweek away fixture in Holland. The bad result may force Roberto Mancini to rotate quite a bit in his lineup, considering the weak opposition in Perm, and the important return leg against Utrecht on Thursday. Amkar is showing slight improvement, having not lost in two games, and drew away to a decent Krasnodar side in the latter. With that said, I expect a convincing Zenit win.

Betting Advice: €10 on Zenit to Win -1 Asian Handicap @2.125 at Bet365

Sunday 15:30 BST: Dinamo Moscow – FC Ufa

By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakarevitch)

After their 3-1 away win over Anzhi last week, Dinamo will be hoping to pick up points in consecutive games for the first time this season. Their star player, Kirill Panchenko, picked up 2 goals in that game, and is now joint with Quincy Promes for goals this season, with 4 in total.

This game will by no means be an easy game for Dinamo though, as they come up against an Ufa side that had, up until last week, conceded just 3 goals in 5 games. In their last match, Sergey Semak’s side were beaten 4-1 at home by Rostov. They will be itching to set the record straight with a win this weekend.

This game is not an easy one to predict. Despite Dinamo being the favourites, they have had a shaky start to this season. Ufa, on the other hand, has been more stable, and have drawn three out of their six games so far. I think this game will be another draw for them.

Betting Advice: €10 on a 1-1 draw @6.00 at Bet365

Sunday 18:00 BST: FC Rostov – FC Krasnodar

By Artëm Makarevitch (@AMakevitch)

Despite losing some of their most important players this summer, Rostov has been able to impress in the first 6 games this season, finding themselves joint second in the table. Leonid Kuchuk’s side are on a four-game winning streak at the moment, even managing to score 4 past an Ufa side that is usually defensively stable. Timofey Kalachev has been on fire in recent games in his role further up the pitch, scoring 3 goals (2 of which came from penalties) and providing 1 assist in his last 2 matches.

Krasnodar go into this game following a poor result at home to Amkar and having to know that they are the only club to concede to the side from Perm so far, this season. All is not bleak though, as they have promoted goalkeeper Matvey Safonov from the academy to the first team; their third player to make this step already this season.

After their recent run of form, Rostov are the bookies’ favourites for this one, but Krasnodar should not be overlooked. They have a good record against Rostov, and I expect them to come out of this game with at least a draw.

Betting Advice: €10 on Krasnodar to win or draw @1.60 at Bet365

Monday 18:00 BST: Akhmat Grozny – Arsenal Tula

By Ilya Sokolov (@lokosokol)

Akhmat are not playing as impressive as they did in the first few rounds, and this time they will have to play without Rizvan Utsiev. On the other hand, it would be harder to get a more stupid red card. Arsenal Tula is still a mysterious team that can play on an equal footing with Rubin and Lokomotiv, but lose to teams like Tosno. However, it is hard to believe that Bozovic can outmatch Kononov.

Betting Advice: €10 on Akhmat to win to nil @1.30 at Bet365


RFN Total: +€366.79

Vincent Tanguy: +€159.65 (hit rate: 13/31) 

David Sansun: +€120.45 (hit rate: 19/50)

Thomas Giles: +€91.5 (hit rate 21/39) 

Ben Clark: +€81 (hit rate: 12/34)

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

Andrew Flint: +€78.9 (hit rate: 18/56)

Will Baumgardner +€26.8 (hit rate: 2/2)

Lukas Müller: +€26.5 (hit rate: 4/13) 

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

Danny Armstrong: -€8 (hit rate: 2/6)

Artëm Markarevitch: -€19.1 (hit rate: 5/14)

James Nickels: -€25.7 (hit rate: 8/16) 

Martin Lowe: -€61 (hit rate: 4/14)

Toke Theilade: -€70.11 (hit rate: 9/28) 

Ilya Sokolov: -€73.9 (hit rate: 11/42)

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.

Leave a Reply