RFPL Week 9: Betting Advice and Previews

Otkrytiye Arena. Photo: Vincent Tanguy/RFN

While Week 7 was the best in the history of RFN Betting with a profit of €149.75, Week 8 was the worst. Not a single tip landed, and the team lost a ton of money. Of course, the total profit remains sky high, just below €450, over the past three seasons, but we’ll not repeat last week’s fiasco. This weekend, we have two of the highest earners in Thomas Giles and David Sansun on the task, and the goal is to win back some of the money we lost last week. 

Match of the Round, Saturday 17:00 BST: Spartak Moscow – Rubin Kazan

By David Sansun (@RFN_David)

Struggling Spartak

Spartak’s start to the season as defending champions could really not have gone much worse than it already has, with just 9 points from a possible 24 and sitting ninth out of 16 in the league. Having now come through the international break and finally added something to their squad in Brazilian attacker Pedro Rocha, they’ll be hoping to essentially start their season from scratch this weekend.

The issue however, is not so much in the attack, which has put in a decent amount of goals thanks to the good form of Quincy Promes and Luiz Adriano, but in defence, which with 13 conceded is the second worst in the league after Anzhi, though their demolitions at the hands of Zenit and Lokomotiv won’t help with those numbers.

These embarrassing defeats to city and league rivals will not help morale among the players, staff and fans, and another defeat this weekend could see real pressure put on manager Massimo Carrera, with murmurs already that the board could be considering his position, though it would be harsh to not let him have a run in the Champions League since it was his work to get them there.

Berdyev is Back

Rubin Kazan under Kurban Berdyev is a match made in heaven. They had 11 years of brilliant work together in the early 21st century, and the start of this season is quite comfortably the best they’ve had in the last four years, sitting pretty on 14 points and in the top five in the league. His return really has rejuvenated a side which struggled a lot last season, despite still having obvious quality there.

The loss of Brazilian frontman Jonathas to Hannover is a big blow, having already scored four goals this season before his departure, but with Sardar Azmoun waiting in the wings, Gökdeniz Karadeniz still putting in magical performances, and differences put aside with Maxim Kanunnikov, Rubin still have a strikeforce capable of winning games.

The veteran Turk and Kazan legend Karadeniz, now in his tenth year with the club, barely featured last season under Javi Gracia, making just nine league appearances and playing 412 minutes without scoring or assisting. This season already has seen Gökdeniz play 453 minutes, scoring once and assisting five in his last three appearances alone. Having their favourite player back on the pitch should go some way to attracting fans back to the Kazan Arena, which experienced the lowest % of attendance in the league last season.

Having also added 37 year old Cesar Navas on deadline day, returning after two years away, and his second spell at the club after seven years playing under Berdyev previously, Rubin add familiarity and reliability to their five-man defence, and make them look even stronger going into the second part of this Autumn part of the season.

Team News

Long term absentees Roman Zobnin and Artem Timofeev remain out for Spartak, while Serdar Tasci, Ivelin Popov and Zé Luis are doubts going into this. It’s probably too soon to see a Pedro Rocha starting debut, however. Spartak also slipped into a three-man defence last time out, so it will be interesting to see if that continues after the international break, while their goalkeeper situation is up in the air.

Rubin have slight knocks to Ruslan Kambolov and Magomed Ozdoev, but otherwise are at full strength. It just depends on how they will set up away from home against a big side, probably similar to the game against CSKA Moscow a few weeks ago.

Predicted Lineups

Spartak (3-5-2): Rebrov; Dzhikiya, Bocchetti, Kutepov; Kombarov, Fernando, Pašalić, Glusahkov, Eschenko; Luiz Adriano, Promes

Rubin (5-3-2): Ryzhikov; Naibullin, Granat, Navas, Sigurdsson, Bauer; Ozdoev, M’Vila, Gökdeniz; Azmoun, Kanunnikov

Betting advice: €10 on Rubin to win @5.00 at bet365

Friday 15:30 BST: Amkar Perm – CSKA Moscow

By Thomas Giles (@Thomas_Giles_UK)

Usually seen as one of the more solid sides in the Russian top flight, Amkar are having a dreadful season and currently sit bottom of the table with just five points taken from a possible 24. They did pick up their only victory of the season before the international break but you feel that the time off could have interrupted their rhythm.

The final third has been a problem for Gadzhi Gadzhiev’s side for a number of seasons and it has not changed this time around with just two goals scored so far. Their defence has been reasonable and they have only conceded more than 1.5 goals on one occasion this season. However, their poor attack means that they stand almost no chance of picking up a result if they go behind.

Perm is usually a stronghold for Amkar but they have lost two of their three matches at Stadion Zvezda so far and failed to score.

CSKA lost their last competitive match before the international break as they went down 1-0 at home to Akhmat Grozny. This result followed a good run of four wins from their previous five matches. Unfortunately for them though, they are still down in sixth and seven points off Zenit in top spot.

The Army Men have based their playing style on having a solid backline in recent seasons but that seems to have changed this time around with nine goals conceded in eight league matches. However, prior to that match against Akhmat, they had kept three consecutive clean sheets. In terms of the forward line, CSKA’s lack of transfer activity in that department has left many frustrated. Having said that, 17 goals in 12 competitive games is not a bad return.

Viktor Goncharenko’s men have been fantastic on their travels this term with four wins and one draw in their five competitive matches so far whilst they have also kept three clean sheets in that time.

Betting advice: €10 on CSKA Moscow to win @1.61 at bet365

Saturday 12:00 BST: FC Tosno – Anzhi Makhachkala

By Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade)

The early game Saturday is a fixture between two sides from the bottom of the league. Tosno, as well as Anzhi, are struggling, and it should be a fiercely fought game, as neither of the teams can afford to lose.

Tosno have only gathered seven points in the first eight games, and they are yet to win at home this season. Moving to St. Petersburg and the Petrovsky Stadium has been tough on the newly promoted side.

On the last day of the transfer window, Tosno managed to close the signing of Serbian winger Nikolaj Trujic, and perhaps that can be the boost the Leningrad Oblast outfit needs to get their first home victory of the season.

As for Anzhi, they pulled off an impressive victory away against Ufa before the national team break. The victory broke a six game losing streak and shot some confidence back into the squad.

Betting advice: €10 on draw @3.10 at bet365

Saturday 14:30 BST: FC Rostov – Arsenal Tula

By David Sansun (@RFN_David)

Rostov have started the season very well considering their huge losses in the transfer market. This was further compounded as Zenit swooped to sign their defender Miha Mevlja on deadline day, a standout last season. With no time to sign a replacement having failed with two late loan moves, Rostov will turn to another Slovenian, Matija Boben, once of Bolton Wanderers, who signed for the club early in the summer.

Arsenal’s recent form is poor, but their chance creation and general performances have been impressive, but failed at the crucial moment, failing to score often. The impending return of Federico Rasic from injury could hopefully go some way to improving their chances this season, but it’s hard to see anything but a Rostov win here.

Betting advice: €10 on Rostov to win @1.57 at bet365

Sunday 12:00 BST: Dinamo Moscow – Zenit St. Petersburg

By Thomas Giles (@Thomas_Giles_UK)

This match sees a meeting of two sides with vastly different aims this season with Zenit looking to win the title whilst Dinamo are simply looking to stay in the division.

Prior to the farce that was their friendly against Russia in the international break, Dinamo had been on a little run with a win away at Anzhi before drawing at home to Ufa. However, they then fell to a 2-0 defeat against Krasnodar in their final match before the break.

The defence has been the main problem for the White-Blues this season and they have kept just one clean sheet so far. They have improved a bit in the final third but you still feel they lack that bit of magic to score against the better sides in the division.

Yuriy Kalitvintsev’s side have been decent at home so far this campaign with just one defeat in their four outings, however, they have also won just one of those matches.

Despite the fact they are top of the league, Zenit were struggling a bit before the international break. They just about squeezed past FC Twente in the Europa League before only managing a draw against Rostov. Perhaps the break will have given Roberto Mancini’s side the time to refocus. With just one point between themselves and Lokomotiv Moscow in second, Zenit cannot afford to slip up.

There can be no doubt that Zenit are the best-attacking force in Russia, however, the fact that Rostov managed to register a clean sheet against them last time out shows they can be stopped. In terms of the defence, there have been huge question marks hanging over them for a few years. However, it now seems that Mancini has fixed that problem with several signings made in the summer transfer window. The Blue, White and Navys have now kept three consecutive clean sheets in the league.

Zenit’s last match on their travels resulted in a win against bottom-of-the-table Amkar. Prior to that though, they drew against Ural and lost against Utrecht so things have not been so great away from home.

Betting advice: €10 on Zenit to score more than 1.5 goals @2.10 at bet365

Sunday 14:30 BST: Ufa – Krasnodar

By Toke Theilade (@TokeTheilade)

Ufa is always a difficult place to play. The home side has a strong team, and they are tough to beat. They do however struggle with picking up victories themselves too and are thus on a four game winless streak. Ufa seems to be completely without confidence these days, and they are struggling on both ends of the pitch. Last week, they lost to Anzhi, who had lost six games in a row before that game, and Semak will need to pick his team back up as soon as possible.

As for Krasnodar, they are difficult to understand. The distance between their best and worst games is huge, and they lack stability. They have picked up difficult victories against Akhmat and Rubin away, but they have also dropped points at home against Amkar and Ural, and were recently eliminated from the Europa League by Red Star Belgrade.

Betting advice: €10 on draw @3.20 at bet365

Sunday 17:30 BST: Akhmat Grozny – Lokomotiv Moscow

By Ilya Sokolov (@Lokosokol)

Akhmat started the season well and kept three clean sheets in a row, which is quite unusual for a team coached by Oleg Kononov. In the following four games, however, they conceded a staggering 12 goals, before recording a clean sheet against CSKA Moscow.

Against Lokomotiv on Sunday, they looked destined to concede again. Although Lokomotiv isn’t the highest scoring team in the league, they are playing some good football at the moment, and especially the offensive players in Manuel Fernandes and the Miranchuk twins look like they are enjoying themselves at the moment.

The top scorer in Lokomotiv’s team is Aleksey Miranchuk, and he has really turned up his volume this season after deciding to stay at the club. He has scored three goals already, the same as last season, and at odds 6, there’s great value in betting on him to score again.

Betting advice: €10 on Aleksey Miranchuk to score @6.00 at bet365

Monday 15:30 BST: FC Ural – SKA Khabarovsk

By Ilya Sokolov (@Lokosokol)

Before the season we predicted that SKA would have to earn their points at home and that they would struggle away. So far, this prediction has been true. After four away games, SKA are yet to score, and this is a typical situation for the Far Eastern side, who travel thousands of kilometres to all away games.

They usually try to park the bus to defend the single point, and then hope to win at home.

As for last season’s cup finalists FC Ural, they aren’t off to the start they were hoping for. Granted, they have only lost once, but they have also only won once. Eight games into the league, they have six draws, and they have now played six games in a row without winning.

Betting advice: €10 on Ural to win and keep a clean sheet @2.10 at bet365


RFN Total: +€446.54 

Vincent Tanguy: +€139.65 (hit rate: 13/33, 40%)

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

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

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

Ben Clark: +€61 (hit rate: 12/36, 33%)

Andrew Flint: +€58.9 (hit rate: 18/58, 31%)

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

James Nickels: +€46.8 (hit rate: 10/20, 50%) 

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%)

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

Toke Møller Theilade

Author: Toke Møller Theilade

Brøndby supporter, groundhopper and more importantly Editor-in-Chief at Russianfootballnews.com. As a hopeless romantic, I still believe Fyodor Smolov and Viktoria Lopyreva has a future together.

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