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How Zenit can replace Malcolm without transfers. It’s possible?

Date: September 22, 2023 Time: 20:56:04

How Zenit can replace Malcolm without transfers. It’s possible?

Anatoly Romanov Jul 29, 2023 08:00 UTC Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

There are several players for a position. You can change tactics.

Malcolm flew to Saudi Arabia, Zenit received 60 million euros and… a hole in the squad. Al-Hilal’s offer was apparently so sudden that the St. Petersburg club was not prepared to replace its brightest star. At least until the Russian champions have bought someone to replace the right winger. There is interest in David Neres, but the Brazilian from Benfica, according to the Portuguese media, still doesn’t really want to go to the RPL. Perhaps David Neres will change his mind during the negotiations, but for now, the loss of Malcolm must be made up at the expense of “internal reserves.”

Who do the Russian champions want to replace Malcolm with:

“Zenith” has officially confirmed Malcolm’s departure! And who will the club replace him with?

It is clear that from the point of view of the individual ability of the players, there is no equivalent replacement for Malcolm at the right wing position. But head coach Sergei Semak has good options, and there are even several. In addition, as part of the main scheme of the team last season 4-3-3, and in case of a change in tactics.

In the meeting of the first round of the RPL with Pari NN (2: 0) in Nizhny Novgorod, Semak placed Zelimkhan Bakaev on the right flank of the attack. Left-handed, playing on the right, he could duplicate Malcolm to some extent. Bakaev had a good game, he was even recognized as the best player, despite the fact that center forward Mateo Cassierra scored a double.

Zelimkhan carried out an effective action: he gave an assist to the Colombian in the episode with Zenit’s first goal. True, in the replay it is clear that it was a happy rebound after a not very successful handling of the ball by the winger, and not a simulated combination with teammates adjusting to each other.

One way or another, Bakaev liked it. Zelimkhan became the best in Zenit in terms of number of martial arts won (12, with 70% accuracy), fouls committed on himself (3) and even tackles (5). After the interception, he put Pari NN defender Viktor Alexandrov on a red card. Zelimkhan also made four hits – this was the second result in the team after Claudinho. He made 20 accurate passes on someone else’s third, including two under attack. From his pass, Cassierra hit the crossbar. Bakaev himself, however, did not hit Pari NN’s goal, it did not work out well here.

In the Russian Cup match with Akhmat (2: 0), Semak made a small rotation, and Gustavo Mantuan came out on the right flank of the Zenit attack. This is a slightly different player. Unlike the lefty Bakaev, who is comfortable moving to the center to dribble under the blow and combine combinations, the Brazilian right-hander prefers to give width on the flank and moving crosses. Playing in this style, Mantua, even with the score 0:0, created scoring chances for Claudinho and Dmitry Chistyakov. And then he scored himself, running in Zenit’s counterattack to the center of the area and resolving the episode with two touches. By the way, the left foot.

It seems that now both Mantuan and Bakaev are in an emotional moment, because they feel that there is an opportunity to win a place in the base. In competition with each other, they are initially on a level playing field, which was not the case with Malcolm. Who to choose in favor of is a dilemma for Semak. Last season, the first for the Brazilian and former Spartak player at Zenit, was a little better for Mantuan. Gustavo scored 6+4 in 29 matches of all tournaments (hit on the base – 9), while Zelimkhan – 3+2 in 26 matches (on the base – 6). On the other hand, the Brazilian showed himself more clearly after the changes. Mantua, like Ivan Sergeev, is just the perfect “joker”. Bakaev, with his play with Pari NN, earned a place in the starting lineup at least for the RPL 2nd round match with Rostov.

In the 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 schemes, another candidate for the right flank of midfield is Alexei Sutormin. However, at Zenit he showed himself best as a right-back, and in that role he also got into the Russian team. And recently, against the background of rumors about the departure of the team from St. Petersburg, Sutormin seems to have fallen out of the circle of trust of the coach. In Nizhny Novgorod he only had 15 minutes, in the Russian Cup he stayed on the bench.

Semak may change the scheme and switch to the top three on defense as defenders are now in abundance at Zenit. In this case, both Sutormin and the rookie Mario Fernández can be used in the right-back position. The naturalized Brazilian, in his debut with the Blue and Whites with Akhmat, played as a right midfielder. He was not carrying kilograms of extra weight on himself. But in general, there are still doubts about whether the ex-soldier is ready in his physical condition and with almost 33 years to cover the entire flank. Hence the speculation about the possible transformation of Fernández into the right center back in the top three, where no coach had seen him before.

For the sixth consecutive victory in the RPL, Zenit would have had enough of the existing player selection. Unless it doesn’t hurt to add a more effective attacker to the line of attack. But out of habit, we are waiting for the transfer of a star from the St. Petersburg club to replace Malcolm.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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