Europa League Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Celtic

Zenit St. Petersburg were in a similar situation exactly one year ago, when they lost the first leg of the Europa League round of 32 away to Anderlecht after a terrible performance. Different manager, different players, but the same problem this season: the winter break. Zenit left Glasgow one goal down in the tie after a performance that needs plenty of improvement for the blue-white-sky blues to progress further in the Europa League competition this season. For Zenit, a club who brands … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Celtic – Zenit St. Petersburg

Celtic FC v FC Zenit St. Petersburg – Thursday, 15 February, 20:05 GMT – Celtic Park, Glasgow. After their long winter break, Zenit St. Petersburg return to the action as they take on Celtic in the Europa League. Whilst not the easiest draw for Zenit, Celtic represent a very winnable game for the blue-white-sky blues. Zenit's Europa League campaign has so far been mainly positive. Of course there have been the odd few hiccups such as a tight two legged aggregate victory in the Europa League … [Read more...]

Round Table: Evaluating Roberto Mancini’s Start at Zenit

Roberto Mancini has almost finished his first half season in charge of Zenit St. Petersburg. The Blue-White-Sky Blues started the season brilliantly, but have struggled in recent weeks and fallen far behind league leaders Lokomotiv Moscow. Zenit have in fact performed slightly worse this season than last season, which saw Mircea Lucescu sacked. Therefore, it is time to evaluate Mancini's start and to do so we made a panel with three of RFN's Zenit experts. The panel consists of:  Neil … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Real Sociedad – Zenit St. Petersburg

Real Sociedad v Zenit St. Petersburg - Thursday, 7 December 20:05 GMT - Estadio de Anoeta, San Sebastián. Zenit St. Petersburg have already qualified for the Europa League knockout stages, joining both Spartak and CSKA in the next round. However, they now must travel to Spain in a direct shootout with Real Sociedad for first place. This is the most straight-forward of all games involving Russian sides in terms of permutations; Zenit simply must not lose in order to be seeded for the knockout … [Read more...]

RFN Podcast: Calendar Controversies, Zenit Crisis and Ural Surprise

Thomas Giles, Andrew Flint, and Toke Theilade provide their usual insight into Russian football, and discuss the latest issues, including the political debate over SKA Khabarovsk - Lokomotiv Moscow, Zenit St. Petersburg's crisis and FC Ural's good form. You can find the podcast on SoundCloud, or subscribe via iTunes by clicking here. You can also … [Read more...]

2007 – Zenit St. Petersburg’s Wonder Year

Ten years after Zenit St. Petersburg lifted the Russian championship trophy for the first time, it’s hard to remember the team they once were. With a stunning new stadium, a plethora of global talent and a stylish Italian coach at the helm, today they are the very image of a footballing power. For much of their history, this was not the case. Despite always enjoying a passionate fanbase and a breathtaking cityscape as a backdrop, they had been the provincial also-rans, the perennial … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Rosenborg BK – Zenit St. Petersburg

Until recently Roberto Mancini had been totting up the wins in a relatively care-free fashion. His team sat happily atop of the Russian Football Premier League and boasted a perfect 100% win record in the Europa League group stage. Now, something no longer appears to add up; Zenit have failed to win in their last four domestic outings, and the latest 3-0 defeat saw the victors Lokomotiv Moscow emphatically dislodge Zenit from first place. The first game against Rosenborg BK came in the middle … [Read more...]

Europa League Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Rosenborg BK

Zenit conceded their first defeat of the Russian Premier League season on Sunday, against Arsenal Tula at home. A shocking defeat for the so far superior St. Petersburg outfit, who despite the loss, still remain first in the league. In the Europa League, Zenit has started their campaign with two wins out of two, beating Vardar 5-0 in Skopje, and Real Sociedad 3-1 in St. Petersburg. Norway’s best club, Rosenborg, are undefeated in their latest five games, with their latest defeat coming away … [Read more...]

RIP Konstantin Sarsania, the Sports Director Behind Zenit’s Success

Saturday morning the Russian football world was met with both shocking and tragic news as Zenit St. Petersburg announced that sports director Konstantin Sarsania had passed away aged just 49. The news surprised everybody as Sarsania hadn’t previously been sick, and the news truly came out of nowhere. The reason, it turned out, was thrombosis, explaining why his health deteriorated so quickly. Sunday morning, Sarsania’s old friend Roman Oretsuk, a well-known Russian football agent, told the … [Read more...]

Aleksandr Kokorin’s Reformed Character

Is there a finer sight in football than the sudden, late blooming of a player believed to be lost forever? A bud thought never to open that reveals its brilliance just as winter approaches. What can be more heartening than the reminder that a player’s potential is never truly wasted until the final whistle of their final game? It is, after all, confirmation that no judgments can be passed or epitaphs penned until a career has concluded. That said, such reveals are scarce and most player’s … [Read more...]