RFPL Week 8: Betting Advice & Previews

An empty Stadium St. Petersburg. Photo: James Nickels/RFN

Last week, in Round 7, we achieved our best ever results in the RFN Betting Advice, earning an incredible +€149.75 in profits, with the overall RFN Total rising from +€366.79 to +€516.54. We hit 5/8 results, in a welcome return to form after a couple of disappointing weeks. Two of our writers moved into the plus for the first time since last season. Our best performer of the week was Artëm Makarevitch, who achieved a personal profit of +€76 after advising to bet €10 on a draw in the game between Dinamo Moscow and FC Ufa @6.00 at Bet365. Incredibly, an 87th minute equalizer from the home side’s Aleksandr Zotov was the difference. His other winning tip was to also advise betting €10 on a draw in the game between FC Rostov and FC Krasnodar @1.60 at Bet365. 

Here are this week’s Betting Advice and Previews:

Match of the Round, Sunday 18:00 BST: Zenit St. Petersburg – FC Rostov

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

Lions Roar On

Zenit avoided huge embarrassment and fiscal disaster by qualifying for the Europa League group stages last night, and I’d expect them to go far into the competition with their favourable draw; Real Sociedad, Rosenborg and Vardar. Aleksandr Kokorin continued his remarkable run of form with two further

Aleksandr Kokorin continued his remarkable run of form with two further goals and has now registered an incredible eleven goals or assists (nine goals, two assists) in just eleven games. He is not just fulfilling his potential discovered at Dinamo Moscow but is playing well beyond that level, scoring a whole host of different types of goals and showing a keen poachers instinct. It is not just his scoring form that has impressed, however, as Kokorin is Zenit’s attacking fulcrum, with Daler Kuzyaev, Seba Driussi and Oleg Shatov all effectively linking up with the Belgorod-born forward.

Leandro Paredes has ran the show for Zenit in midfield so far this season, with his only subpar performance in Zenit’s 1-0 loss away to Utrecht, when he was moved out of his natural position as a defensive midfielder, and was asked to fill in Kuzyaev’s role as fellow Argentinian Matías Kranevitter anchored the midfield. Paredes also interesingly has provided an important link to Kokorin up top, with the pair regularly connecting well throughout the impressive start to the season.

Rostov’s Watertight Defence

Rostov are one of the form team’s in the league, and irrevocably the biggest surprise. Just who expected Leonid Kuchuk to lead a club mired in debt who lost twelve first team players for almost no return in the summer to third in the RPL after seven games. The team are a disparate bunch of newly-discovered, talented foreigners (Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Matija Boben), RPL veterans (Alexandru Gațcan, Timofei Kalachev, Vladimir Dyadyun) and youngsters rejected by the Russian elite (Aleksandr Zuev, Sergei Parshivlyuk, Pavel Mogilevets).

Timofei Kalachev has received a lot of plaudits this season for his fantastic transformation from solid wing-back to attacking midfield marvel, registering five goals and assists in seven games, all at the tender age of 37(!). However, I’d prefer to focus on new Icelandic rock-at-the-back Sverrir Ingi Ingason. Signed from Granada, he has more than adequately replaced the outgoing César Navas as Rostov’s leader at the back this season, as they look even more solid defensively than their great chase to second in the table in 2015/16. In fact, with Ingason on the pitch this season, Rostov are unbeaten, conceding just the one goal in six games in the process. He missed their loss to Akhmat Grozny and was on the bench for Ural’s goal in the opening game. He will surely only become stronger as the season progresses, and is definitely one to keep an eye on this weekend.

Aleksandr Zuev also deserves an honourable mention for both his admirable defensive work this season, as well as his keen ability to link up with Kalachev and Dyadyun in attack, while the latter two take the plaudits in their typically Rostov performances this season.

Team News

I’d expect many of Zenit’s former Rostov players to appear, as they have merely two days off between the Rostov match, and their Europa League victory over Zenit. Aleksandr Anyukov is out injured, and Yuri Zhirkov is doubtful after missing the Europa League game in midweek.

For Rostov, Aleksandr Bukharov and Evgeni Makeev may miss out again, and Vladimir Dyadyun faces a late fitness test after coming off injured against Krasnodar. Captain Alexandru Gațcan is also a doubt.

Predicted Lineups

Zenit (4-3-3): Lunev – Criscito, Mammana, Ivanovic, Terentyev – Erokhin, Paredes, Noboa – Poloz, Kokorin, Driussi

Rostov (5-4-1): Pesyakov – Parshivlyuk, Boben, Mevlja, Ingason, Ustinov – Kalachev, Mogilevets, Gațcan, Zuev – Dyadyun

Betting Advice: €10 on Zenit Winning Margin of 1 Goal @3.25 at Bet365

Friday 18:00 BST: Anzhi Makhachkala – FC Ufa

By Ben Clark (@dinoben_)

Since the last time I offered you my bets, Ufa have been on a slump and have gradually been brought back down to earth. Anzhi, on the other hand, have achieved something miraculous – they have gone from worse to catastrophic. After sacking Aleksandr Grigoryan, they lost 6-0 to Rubin Kazan last week in Vadim Skripchenko’s first game in charge. All for fresh starts and that.

Even though they’re the away side, I’m encouraging you to put your money on Ufa this weekend. There is near to no confidence in the Anzhi camp right now and Ufa will realise there is an opportunity to take all three points from this game and to stop sinking towards the bottom of the league.

Betting Advice: €10 on Ufa to Win @3.00 at Bet365

Saturday 13:00 BST: Arsenal Tula – Amkar Perm

By Vincent Tanguy (@Spartak_M_VT)

The bottom two face off this weekend. Ealy relegation battles can either setup a good dynamic or reinforce a lack of confidence. The positive dynamic is clearly on Arsenal’s side thus far after victory against Akhmat Grozny last week. Miodrag Božović’s men showed great mentality in this game. Against the last RPL team yet to win a game, who have scored only one goal in seven games, Arsenal Tula with Đorđević up front should win and increase the crisis in Perm.

Gadzhi Gadzhiev simply cannot find the formula to score goals. In fact, he still hasn’t replaced Prudnikov, Gol or Dzhikyia in defence, and they’ve struggled. It is hard to show the same football with such a weakened squad. Against Zenit, theit characteristically steely defensive line was back in action, but the attack remains a major problem. Without any goals, I don’t see Amkar finding a solution to their crisis quickly

Betting Advice: €10 on Arsenal Tula to Win @2.37 at Bet365

Saturday 15:30 BST: Rubin Kazan – FC Tosno

By Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint)

The departure of Jonathas amid talk of needing to balance the books at Rubin Kazan has slightly tempered the energy around the Tatarstan club, but there is still a huge amount to be positive about. Gökdeniz Karadeniz is rolling back the years despite his tender 37 years with a goal and four assists in his six games, while only Zenit have outscored their 14 strikes so far. Given that the two sides directly above them had midweek European commitments, there is a real possibility of Rubin heading into the international break in the European qualification places.

Tosno are beginning to show why so many of our RFN panel were positive about their chances of survival after promotion in the summer. They are not tearing up the Premier League just yet, but after one defeat in the last four – including two goals in their last two away games, both of which were won – they have elevated themselves from newly-promoted fodder to potential mid-table material. Only three sides have conceded fewer goals than Tosno, but they are yet to win at ‘home’.

Betting Advice: €10 on BTTS @2.20 at bet365

Saturday 18:00 BST: Lokomotiv Moscow – FC Ural

By Andrew Flint (@AndrewMijFlint)

Lokomotiv continue to defy pre-season predictions by holding on to second place just three points behind the omnipotent Zenit St Petersburg, so will be confident as they take on a side that has won just once all season. However, if you look beyond the league table position, there are signs of fragility there; Ari’s injury leaves only new loanee Eder as a full-time striking option in the squad, and their goal difference is only +4 after five wins from seven games. Although they did show commendable character to score four second-half goals in their dramatic derby win over Spartak last weekend, it was against ten men, and the two previous wins, both by the narrowest of margins, were attritional at best against struggling sides. Last time out at home a well-drilled Tosno side saw them off 2-0.

Ural are nothing if not a well-drilled side themselves this season. Their unbeaten record is down to prudent signings by Aleksander Tarkhanov, and an astute selection policy – regular left-back Aleksander Dantsev, for example, has not been thrown straight back into the team while Mikhail Merkulov has performed excellently. Zenit and CSKA have come to Ekaterinburg and left without wins, and although Ural only have one win of their own so far, it did come away in the capital. With a tight defence that has only conceded more than once in a match on one occasion this season, Lokomotiv will have to work hard to get much out of this game.

Betting Advice: €10 on Draw FT Result @ 3.80 at bet365

Sunday 9:00 BST: SKA Khabarovsk – Spartak Moscow

By Vincent Tanguy (@Spartak_M_VT)

For every club in RPL this season, the Khabarovsk is the big adventure of the year, and is far from ideal for a Spartak side who eed to get their housei n order following last week’s 4-3 derby loss at home to Lokomotiv. But in Khabarovsk or anywhere in Russia, it’s time for Spartak to get some points in this Championship. The gap with leaders is consequential and has to be resolved as soon as possible, or Leonid Fedun may pull the plug on Massimo Carrera’s tenure.

Moreover, the Red-Whites know their opponents in Champions League (Liverpool FC, FC Sevilla and Maribor), and have to manage with all competitions they participate in. Carrera decided to make the journey straight before the game. Last year, Spartak played the 1/16 finals of Russian Cup in Khabarovsk and decided to arrive before to face the jet lag. They lost 1-0. Carrera remembers this result well and has acted accordingly.

On the other side, SKA needs to get merely go for a point. Already two games they just get a tied game against Tosno (0-0) and Rubin (1-1). But Spartak should see out the victory.

Betting Advice: €10 Correct Score Spartak 1-0 @5.50 at Bet365

Sunday 15:30 BST: CSKA Moscow – Akhmat Grozny

By James Nickels (@JamesNickels)

CSKA go into this weekends game on a massive high after qualifying for the Champions League Group Stages for the fifth time in a row. They now face the mouth-watering and relatively welcoming Group A along with Benfica, Manchester United and Basel, but for now, their focus must rest domestically. Akhmat, on the other hand, are at a rather low ebb right now following a losing streak of four games, conceding twelve goals in the process.

Goncharenko will likely rotate his pack after playing midweek in Europe, setting out his strongest possible lineup. However, with four full days off he may not need to do so. CSKA have no fresh injury worries leading into the match, and in fact have all first team players fit and ready.

Ablaye Mbenque, Bekim Balaj and Ismael are all still out injured for Akhmat, after missing training midweek.

I’d wager this will be a routine win for CSKA, considering each team’s respective run of form right now. However, Akhmat are still a dangerous outfit and a surprise could yet be in store.

Betting Advice:

Sunday 18:00 BST: FC Krasnodar – Dinamo Moscow

By Ben Clark (@dinoben_)

Krasnodar are starting the campaign in the same vein they have in, well, most of their history. A start strong enough to keep them in contention at the top, but dropping enough points which sees them float just outside the top two. They’ll hae to bounce back after the midweek dissapointment of being dumped out of the Europa League at the playoff stage by Crvena Zvezda.

Dinamo have been hit and miss since rejoining the RPL this season. A slow start has been better after two wins and a draw in their last three (albeit, those two wins were against the bottom two clubs – silver linings, however).

With The Bulls’ European hangover and Dinamo being unpredictable, I’m going for a 2-1 home win in this game. I think it will be a tight affair but Krasnodar’s quality will see them beat the away side on the day.

Betting Advice: €10 on Correct Score 2-1 Krasnodar @8.50 at Bet365


RFN Total: +€516.54

Vincent Tanguy: +€159.65 (hit rate: 13/31, 42%)

David Sansun: +€120.45 (hit rate: 19/50, 38%)

Thomas Giles: +€91.5 (hit rate 21/39, 54%)

Ben Clark: +€81 (hit rate: 12/34, 35%)

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

Andrew Flint: +€78.9 (hit rate: 18/56, 32%)

Artëm Markarevitch: +€56.9 (hit rate: 7/16, 44%)

James Nickels: +€56.8 (hit rate: 10/18, 56%)

Will Baumgardner +€26.8 (hit rate: 2/2, 100%)

Lukas Müller: +€27.75 (hit rate: 5/15, 33%)

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

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

Martin Lowe: -€61 (hit rate: 4/14, 29%)

Toke Theilade: -€70.11 (hit rate: 9/28, 32%)

lya Sokolov: -€93.9 (hit rate: 13/44, 29%)

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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