Goodbye Dzyuba? How Driussi’s Arrival at Zenit Could Mean the End for the Big Man

An unexpected sting in the tail, tension, end to end entertainment and a late goal to secure victory; it is fair to say that Roberto Mancini’s home debut as Zenit Saint Petersburg manager on matchday two of the Russian Football Premier League did not disappoint. Despite falling behind just before half time to Kurban Berdyev’s Rubin Kazan - thanks in no small part to a poor piece of defending by Zenit’s Portuguese defender Luis Neto - the team from Piter turned it around with an injury time … [Read more...]

Editorial: Dzyuba’s Captaincy Shows Departure from Zenit Traditions

”I’m disappointed as hell,” a mate of mine who is a lifelong Zenit St. Petersburg supporter texted me after the club had appointed Artyom Dzyuba captain. “Those people who run the club now,” he continued, “they pay no respect to fans and to fans’ opinion. Dzyuba as captain is the lowest point we could reach.” The fact that a Muscovite and former Spartak Moscow star had taken over the most honorable job in his football club was clearly more than my friend could take. Dzyuba joined Spartak when … [Read more...]

RFN Top 50 2016: 10-4

10: Denis Glushakov, Midfielder, Spartak (+31) Back in August nobody could possibly have predicted that Spartak would sit pretty at the top of the table going into the winter break, and even fewer could have foreseen Denis Glushakov’s meteoric rise up the RFN Top 50, but the midfield general has been a relatively unsung hero in Massimo Carrera’s machine. Without question the individual highlight was his sensational rocket that crashed in off his new teammate Aleksandr Selikhov’s crossbar in … [Read more...]

RFN Top 50 – 3-1

3. Artyom Dzyuba, striker, Zenit Scoring 16 times in his first 24 games for Zenit, six of these coming in the Champions League, Artyom Dzyuba has done everything he could to win over Zenit’s fans after he joined the club from archrivals Spartak Moscow before this season. Since his debut for Spartak in 2006, Dzyuba has been considered a great talent, but the fans had to wait ten years before the striker finally established himself as one of the best strikers in the country. 2015 has … [Read more...]

How far can Russia go at Euro 2016?

Although the Russian national team have a few more days to wait until they discover who their Euro 2016 group opponents will be, there is growing optimism that Leonid Slutskiy’s men can perform much better than they did in Brazil two years ago. The 2014 World Cup was a tournament to forget for Russia as they crashed out at the group stage without recording a single victory. Draws against South Korea and Algeria generated the most disappointment from fans and pundits who expected Fabio Capello … [Read more...]

Five Things We Learned From The Winter Break

1. Dzyuba Remains an Enigma to (Most) Coaches in Russia   After the diabolical showing in Brazil last summer, the real Russian sport of dishing out recriminations began. The common theme, not entirely unjustified, seemed to be that the players just didn't show enough desire, especially given the relatively unchallenging group. Fabio Capello has an excellent record as an international manager in qualifiers, but just doesn't seem able to inspire the cohesion necessary to take … [Read more...]

James Appell: “Russian and English football have the same problem”

If you follow Russian football, you probably know who James Appell is, given there aren't too many foreign journalists covering and interested in Russian football. There have been interviews with him in the Russian press (he's well known in Russia). Reading it, I always thought it would be great to talk to him myself, and, probably, have an interview. The years passed, and, in the end, I found the opportunity. I heard he was coming to visit the Volga - Spartak match in Nizhny Novgorod, and … [Read more...]