In the central match of the 5th round of the RPL, Spartak lost to Zenit in their field – 1: 3.
The champion was more reliable at the back and more specific at the front. And it’s not just that the current holder scored three goals from the field, while the opponent scored only from the penalty spot. If the guests hit 75% of their shots from outside the penalty area (9 out of 12), then the hosts only – 50% (7 out of 14). Why did Sergei Semak’s team manage to play on the right and succeed, and Spartak Guillermo Abascal had problems with this?
Semak figured out how to make up for Malcolm’s departure
At the moment, Zenit is on a three-win streak, which happened to the Russian champions this season for the first time. Previously, Semak’s team beat Fakel (2:0) in the championship and won against Krylya Sovetov (1:0) in the cup tournament. But before that there were failures – a defeat of Dynamo (2: 3) in their field and a draw with Rostov (1: 1). The transformation occurred largely by decision of the coaching staff.
When Semak and his team needed a quick response to the failures, a schema change was successfully applied. Things went uphill immediately after the transition to 3-5-2 (5-3-2) – in all the indicated victorious games in a row, the Russian champion used such a formation.
Zenit’s starting eleven in the match against Spartak
The new Zenith game model has three significant advantages at once: the first concerns defense, the second deals with attacks, and the third deals with personnel.
When it comes to defending at the expense of the three centrals, the compactness at their gates has increased. Opponents now hit with more resistance. This is especially important in light of Malcolm’s departure – Zenit can’t rely on great performance up front right now, they need to get their own due to reliability at the back.
At the same time, the three center-backs untie the hands of the full-backs in the attacking phases. And this is also very important after the sale of Malcolm – the loss of a quality artist in the absence of a personnel alternative can only be compensated by competent quantitative pressure on other people’s doors.
Douglas Santos and Mario Fernandez
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
Here and now on the sidelines, Douglas Santos and Mario Fernández provide clarity. Interestingly, in the match against Spartak, Ivan Sergeev hit the crossbar from a Santos pass, and Wendel scored his first goal after Fernandez was active in the penalty area.
And another important point: the new scheme allows you to compensate for the form of Wendel and Fernandez. They both missed preseason, so they each need a lot of upgraded insurance (due to the number of defenders). Ahead, both are inventive, not even in optimal conditions, especially Wendel -he led the game with Spartak and scored a double-.
Three victories in a row with six goals scored and only one conceded is the best proof that the coach’s discovery is working here and now. And if the successes in matches with Fakel and Krylia could be justified by the insufficiently comparable level of the opponent, then after Spartak this will no longer work.
The operational change of the scheme once again made Zenit formidable. It is interesting that right now the current champion of Russia is the best in terms of shots allowed on goal: 8.8 per game; in conceded goals – the third result in the league (5).
Details about the central party of the tour:
Zenit showed Spartak who is the real champion
Abascal has not yet solved Spartak’s main problem
Spartak lacks the balance that Zenit has in recent games. The rojiblancos have been weakening their defense for some time. Neither the club nor the coach can change the situation. Right now, the Spartacists rank 14th in the RPL in terms of hits allowed (14.8 per game), and also 12th in goals conceded (10).
The club has yet to find a defensive midfielder. According to Metaratings.ru, Abascal indicated to the management the need to acquire said player in May, but so far he has not received it. The coach could try to mask the problem by switching to a three (five) defender, but he stubbornly does not do it, believing in an attacking philosophy.
Perhaps, in another league, Abaskal would have been rewarded for stubbornness, but this is difficult to imagine in the RPL: it is difficult to succeed only by attacking in a tournament where not only teams fighting for survival can and do not hesitate to they saturate the defense, but also tops like Zenit.
In the end it turns out like this: while Spartak hits against saturated barriers, the rivals, having shown resistance, catch free zones and punish them. The Russian champions scored very easily on the outside, especially Wendel.
Wendel’s first goal kick. The correct Vyacheslav Karavaev
Photo: Screenshot of the match broadcast
Assisted pass from Claudinho to Wendel inside a wide free zone
Photo: Screenshot of the transmission.
Not wanting to change anything globally, Abascal periodically comes to the conclusion that it would be necessary to piece together the details. That’s how it was in the game with Zenit. Specifically, Jesús Medina, more prone to reliability in defense, and not Theo Bongonda, came out on the right from the first minutes. Douglas Santos, who plays on the left for Zenit, could have played it safe. But did he really help? No! And in attack, the rojiblancos lost, and Sergeev hit the crossbar on a pass from Santos.
And Abascal has also wanted to outwit Zenit with an arrangement. Guillermo confirmed it after the game: “The choice of the scheme was due to the need for precision in the passes.” The formation of the rojiblanco coach can be called both 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-1-2, where there is a diamond in the middle. He decides for yourself which one is better. We will help you by describing the intricate variety of player movements:
Alexander Sobolev – in the tip; Mikhail Ignatov – under him with a lot of room to move; Jesus Medina – on the right, mainly on the touchline; Quincy Promes – left flank and mid flank, center, winger, wide range of motion, free role: Victor Moses – center field with forward inclusions; Christopher Martins – defensive midfielder.
Spartak starting lineup
At the end of the match, the Spaniard already released everyone who could create something ahead. But Spartak did not manage to escape.
Spartak team at the end of the match
Zenit is stronger now. Spartak can feel comfortable with attack power
As a result of the tour, the St. Petersburg team beat the Muscovites. Semak’s team is fourth (10 points), Abaskal’s team is sixth (9).
If “Spartak” is any consolation, then it is impossible not to admit that his attack is now more powerful. In general, he is one of the best in the league – 12 goals, the first result on a par with CSKA; 16 shots on goal in a game is the best indicator. Zenit is more modest in this regard: 10 goals – the fifth result; 10.8 hits – the second result from the end, only Pari NN is worse (8.4)!
But is it possible to settle for strong attacking potential when it doesn’t lead to the result that everything starts with in football? everyone’s business. If something doesn’t sit well with Spartak, you can always go for a change. Otherwise, you can continue.
Although Abaskal is not up to the defense:
“He killed the Spartak game. Is Abascal right to claim Karasev after Zenit?