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...]

Europa League Preview: Zenit St. Petersburg – Real Sociedad

Thursday sees Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St. Petersburg host La Liga outfit Real Sociedad in their second match of the Europa League group stage, with both sides coming into this on the back of heavy victories in match day one. While Zenit are experiencing some strong domestic form of late (unbeaten this season, on the back of 6 successive clean sheets) Sociedad have lost their last three La Liga matches since their opening Europa League victory. Roberto Mancini was quick however … [Read more...]

What Have We Learned From the First Third of the RFPL Season?

The first third of the Russian Football Premier League season has been predictably unpredictable. Spartak Moscow, the reigning champions of the league, sit in a disappointing 8th place. Massimo Carrera’s men have struggled to hold leads and pick up points against lesser sides, and this wastefulness has showed in their league standing. Meanwhile in Kazan, Kuban Berdyev has not yet been able to work his magic like he did in Rostov, with Rubin’s defense looking surprisingly porous at times. … [Read more...]

What To Expect From the Russian Clubs in the European Group Stages

With the Champions League and Europa League group stages about to begin, it is time to take a closer look at the Russian teams competing in Europe. Over the years, the Russian coefficient has risen steadily, and in August 2016, Russia overtook Portugal in the UEFA rankings for club competitions, making it the sixth strongest league in Europe, which means Russia will have three teams in the Champions League next season, instead of only two. This season Russia have four teams competing in the … [Read more...]

Everything you Need To Know About: Zenit St Petersburg

After a relatively fallow few years in the transfer market, Zenit are back in business just in time to christen their spectacular new home at the Krestovsky Arena. Five Argentinians and five Rostov players have joined over the summer under new boss Roberto Mancini as a total of 27 players passed through the revolving doors in St Petersburg, and after an unbeaten domestic record so far there are very few who will bet against them winning silverware next summer. They may have made heavy work of … [Read more...]

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...]

Sebastian Driussi – Zenit’s New Lion

It’s the middle of May, and it is time for the Superclásico, the Argentinean derby between Boca Juniors and River Plate. One of the biggest games in the world. Going into the game, which is played at Boca's historic home ground La Bombonero, the home team leads the league with River trailing behind. River head coach Marcelo Gallardo has pointed his focus on the Copa Libertadores, and the results in the league have suffered as a result. Nevertheless, they began climbing up the table, and reached … [Read more...]