Giuliano: Zenit St Petersburg’s Ephemeral Star

Giuliano Victor de Paula’s presence came to grace St Petersburg briefly; after only one full season with Zenit, he has now been sold to Fenerbahçe in Turkey. Despite a highly successful year in Russia which saw the Brazilian’s market value increase almost twofold, he appears to have left for the same modest €7m he arrived for. Mircea Lucescu’s star player found himself not especially needed under Roberto Mancini, and the fact, not least the manner of his departure, undoubtedly leaves some fans … [Read more...]

Lucescu – Failure or Scapegoat?

After a third-place finish last season, which meant Zenit St. Petersburg missed out on Champions League football for the second season in a row, they sacked Romanian head coach Mircea Lucescu after just one season at the club. The baggage left behind by his predecessor André Villas-Boas was no gift. If from a distance, say in Lucescu’s previous home Donetsk for example, it looked attractive and manageable, then only when you get closer could you begin to see the clear signs of aging and where … [Read more...]

Zenit St. Petersburg’s Winter Dealings

After a solid first half to their season, Zenit St. Petersburg find themselves in second place of the Russian Football Premier League and through to the Round of 32 in the Europa League, after placing first in a group that featured Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Dundalk and AZ Alkmaar. In the months leading up to the January transfer window, it was widely speculated that one of Zenit’s most marketable players, Axel Witsel, could leave the club for as little as €6 million in January to Italian giants … [Read more...]

Reactions From Match Day 6 of European Football

This week’s European action saw Russian clubs play competitively for the last time before the winter break. In the Champions League, Rostov, ahead of PSV thanks to their historic win over Bayern, needed to avoid defeat in the Netherlands to reach the Europa League and they did just that. Leonid Slutsky bowed out as manager of CSKA with a 3-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur, who progress to the Europa League at the expense of the Moscow side. In the Europa League, Krasnodar, already certain of their … [Read more...]

Reactions From Krasnodar’s Dramatic Victory Against Zenit

FC Krasnodar conceded late but hit back with two injury time goals to defeat Zenit St. Petersburg 2-1 in a remarkable end to the game. Artyom Dzyuba looked set to have snatched a win for the men from St Petersburg by firing home after a goalkeeping error in the 86th minute. The hosts refused to give up and equalised in the first minute of stoppage time when Marat Izmailov pounced on Dominic Criscito’s ponderous defending. In a moment befitting of winning any game, Tornike Okriashvili … [Read more...]

5 Things We Learned About Russian Football in July

1: The chaos continues at Zenit Arena Since construction began in 2007, one problem after another has hit Zenit Arena, and now the stadium, that is supposed to host the 2017 Confederations Cup final, has again caught negative attention. The stadium is supposed to be finished by December 2016 at the latest, but as Thomas Giles recently explained the finishing date is in danger of being postponed, and the stadium might not be ready in time for the 2018 World Cup. In the middle of July, $39 … [Read more...]

Hulk, Lombaerts and Witsel – How Lucescu Could Reshape Zenit

After only finishing third last season, it was expected that Zenit St. Petersburg’s newly appointed head coach Mircea Lucescu would make some changes this season. However, with no Champions League football in sight (unless FC Rostov are banned from European football because of Financial Fair Play irregulations) Zenit could be forced to sell players before starting to rejuvenate a squad where several key players are pushing 30, and where the youngest regular starter last season was 25-year-old … [Read more...]