Last matches and standings
Paolo Vanoli gets tons of criticism after every round, but if you look at the stats for the last ten matches (along with the Russian Cup), it’s not that bad: five wins, two draws, three losses. The club can even clinch seventh place in the RPL if it picks up six points from the remaining matches and the table’s neighbors achieve the “desired” result. It is quite worthy, given the dismantled and difficult season.
Zenit, a few days from the end of the championship, won its fourth consecutive championship, but the team did not stop there. Despite the lack of motivation, Sergei Semak continues to prepare the team to win every match.
Spartak may come for revenge fully armed, and the involvement of a single key player is in question. In the last game Roman Zobnin was injured, and he can be replaced in the starting eleven by the well-mannered Prutsev. In attack this time, Alexander Sobolev will appear, whose size and ability to pressure the opposition will be needed more than the speed of Shamar Nicholson.
Approximate composition of “Spartak” (3-4-3): Selikhov – Zhigot, Jikia, Kofrie – Mozes, Pereira, Prutsev, Khlusevich – Promes, Bakaev, Sobolev.
Mikhail Kerzhakov hasn’t shown convincing play in recent games, and Daniil Odoevsky would have had every chance to appear from the opening minutes, but given the early nature of the match, Sergei Semak would prefer to see a more experienced goalkeeper on goal. Center forward’s position, which Ivan Sergeyev has recently reconsidered, is also questionable, but in this match it is possible that the ex-Spartak player Artem Dzyuba will start from the first minutes.
Approximate formation of Zenit (4-3-3): Kerzhakov – Kuzyaev, Chistyakov, Santos, Circular – Claudinho, Wendel, Barrios – Malcolm, Alberto, Dzyuba.
Statistics and facts
• Zenit are undefeated in 17 straight RPL games;
• In the last ten head-to-head games, Spartak managed to take three points into their piggy bank only once. It already happened in 2017, since then Zenit has not lost;
• Zenit scored 22 goals in ten head-to-head games, Spartak scored nine;
• Zenit have only lost one away game this season;
• Spartak conceded in 11 successive home games against Zenit;
• The match will be refereed by referee Pavel Kukuyan, who has had seven penalties in seven of his last ten games and has been sent off on a further four occasions.
What to expect from the match?
It will be difficult for Spartak to get rid of 1:7 from the first round, but any, even a minimal victory, will at least heal the wounds of the fans a little and give hope for a championship fight next season.
The teams have no tournament motivation, but the tension, emotions and desire will definitely be pushed to the limit. And the lack of pressure in terms of results can bring a lot of goals. This match is a must see.
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