Inconvenient rival for Krasnodar and high performance
On Saturday, the Russian Championship will be held immediately two games with the prefix "top". In the first of them, Spartak and Dynamo will converge within the framework of the capital derby, and in the second, Zenit will receive Krasnodar. The current champion started the season successfully and is currently the only team in the RPL that has not yet lost points.
The victory over one of the main competitors can secure Petersburgers at the top and give them an extra charge of confidence. Failure, on the contrary, will have a positive effect on the intrigue in the championship and will give Rubin and Rostov an opportunity to beat the leader.
At the same time, it was in a match with Krasnodar that Zenit practically secured gold for itself last season. A month before the end of the championship, the Southerners remained, in fact, the only team that was still trying to fight with Sergei Semak's wards for the title. And on April 20, opponents met in the South of Russia.
As a result, fans have witnessed, perhaps, one of the most intriguing matches in the history of the RPL. The teams presented to all those present a magnificent spectacle, in which there was a place for beautiful goals, stunning saves, and even a massive brawl. At the 91st minute, the hosts managed to level the score thanks to the distant shot of Mauricio Pereira, who had already left the club, but on the 95th Artem Dzyuba after pushing in a corner threw Alexander Martynovich and sent the winning goal into the net. After this success, it became almost obvious that Petersburgers would not miss the gold.
Now Krasnodar will try to take revenge on the opponent for the defeat. At the same time, the last two matches with Zenit turned out to be unsuccessful for the Southerners - they lost twice. But the last victory over the blue-white-blue wards Murad Musaev won it in St. Petersburg in 2018 still at the Petrovsky stadium thanks to a goal leased from Zenit Oleg Shatov.
However, most often the matches with Petrograd are not too successful for “Krasnodar”. In 16 meetings, the Southerners scored only three victories over the team from the banks of the Neva and only one - at home. But the confrontation of the two teams almost always turn out to be effective. Only three times opponents dispersed without goals scored, and only three times in their rivalry was a draw.
Waiting for Malcolm and Cabella
Surely productive and get the upcoming match teams. In this regard, it is curious what tactics Murad Musaev will choose for the game. Last season, Krasnodar almost always played with one striker on the tip, but in the match of the last tour with Sochi, the coaching staff unexpectedly relied on the duet of Ari and Ivan Ignatieff.
As a result, the latter issued a double. After such a successful meeting it would be illogical to put a young striker on the bench. At the same time, Musayev has an experienced Swede Markus Berg who has passed from Al Ain.
On the other hand, in a match with a fast attacking “Zenith”, Musaev may prefer the second attacker to the third player in the support zone, so that the Petrograd could have more difficulty running to the gates of Matvey Safonov. In this regard, Christopher Olsson can return to the team.
The alignment of "Zenith" practically does not cause. Surely, Semak, will bet on the 4-4-2 scheme with Artem Dzuba and Serdar Azmun ahead.
We must not forget about newcomers teams. If Malkom, who transferred to Zenit on Friday from the very first minutes, is unlikely to appear, then Krasnodar's rookie Remi Cabella may well get out. In this case, the Frenchman is able to play both on the position under the attacker, and on both edges of the attack. In this regard, some of the main players of the team may have to start the game on the bench.
As for the injured, two teams will not help both teams. At Krasnodar, Viktor Klasson and Yuri Gazinsky, retired for a long time, and at Zenit, are Oleg Shatov and Igor Smolnikov. The place of the latter on the right edge of the defense will almost certainly be taken up again by Denis Terentyev, who performed well at the beginning of the season.
Also in the last match with Orenburg, Dziuba was replaced due to damage, but the forward injury was not serious, and he was preparing for the game with Krasnodar in the general group.
Happy judge for Zenit
Confrontation "Zenith" and "Krasnodar" in itself is of great interest, but even more bright it can make the system VAR. In the last round, she caused a lot of talk after the CSKA Moscow derby - Lokomotiv, and now debuts in St. Petersburg.
Serves the same game Alex Eskov. It is curious that at the start of the season he managed to work on the match of one and the other teams. “Zenit” with his judging beat “Tambov”, and “Krasnodar” - “Ufa”.
At the same time, the referee from Moscow served the Petersburgers most often in his career - 31 times. In 22 of them, blue-white-blue won. At the same time, the referee has never removed Zenit players from the field and has not awarded a single penalty shot to the Petersburgers, while they themselves have struck seven.
Not without scandals. So, in April 2017, Zenit, when judging Eskova, beat Ural in the first match at Gazprom Arena, and Aleksey immediately removed three Yekaterinburg players. Matches "Krasnodar" this judge also served quite often - 25 times. They southerners six times removed from the field, struck the same seven penalties and got their own goal only one.