Pitertsy increased the distance to the closest pursuer by six points in four games before the end of the tournament. Championship intrigue is considered dead by most, but don’t rush things. There are three reasons why Zenit can lose another championship.
COMPOSITION AND TACTICS
Zenit certainly has one of the best teams in the country, but there are flaws here too. One of Sergei Semak’s main headaches is the central defense zone. After the winter, two main players (Rakitsky and Lovren) left the team, so the head coach has to come up with new combinations. Now Chistyakov, Alip and sometimes Barrios and Santos, who are transferred from their original positions, have to shoulder the blame for the defense. With all due respect to the Kazakh centerdef, he still cannot do all the work that Yaroslav Rakitsky did.
And everything would be fine, but not Vyacheslav Malafeev from the best years is at the door, but Mikhail Kerzhakov. The goalkeeper rarely makes mistakes, but he cannot be called outstanding either. Krytsyuk signed up for the competition, but he is still unable to help the team due to injury.
But the problems don’t end there either. In the winter, Serdar Azmun left the club, and in his place Yuri Alberto was acquired for 25 million euros and Ivan Sergeev from Krylia, who did not quite fit into the team. For all of the above, Sergei Semak has to come up with new schemes and make tactical adjustments, and often they just don’t work. How not to overthink even more…
STATISTICS AND PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
According to statistics, Zenit is one of the most pressing RPL teams, as well as the best team in number of goals from the 76th minute. Such football requires a good physical condition of the players, and it is not certain that St. Petersburg can keep up his pace at the end of the season. For comparison, let’s take the top three teams in the table at the moment and look at the minutes in which they score most often.
Only the current champions show a clear bias towards the end of time. And if it works so far, then it is far from a fact that in the last games they can repeat their result.
Furthermore, from the statistics, it can be deduced that despite the Dynamo’s six-point difference, in terms of expected points in the spring part of the championship (xPTS), the Blue and Whites are only one point behind Zenit: 18.22 against 17.32. In other words, Petrograd players have a bit more luck and the level of play is almost the same.
Zenit only have four games left before the season ends, but none of them can be called a pass:
04/30/22 – Lokomotiv (home) “Railway” can still “fly” in the top three.
07.05.22 – Khimki (home) Sergei Yuran’s team is one of the best in recent times and can bravely beat any RPL team.
05/15/22 – Spartak (out). The red-and-whites are highly motivated to rehabilitate themselves at least a little bit for 1:7 in the fall.
05/21/22 – Nizhny Novgorod (away). Alexander Kerzhakov has already shown that his team can pick up points even from the teams at the top of the table, and his team will almost certainly fight for a place in the RPL next season until the last round.
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