In the 29th round of the Russian Championship, Spartak Moscow will host Zenit St. Petersburg in the derby of the “two capitals”, Dynamo will try to regain second place in the match against Lokomotiv, and CSKA will play away with Krasnodar
Schedule of the 29th round of the championship of Russia
Sochi – Nizhny Novgorod (May 13, 18:55)
Ufa – Arsenal (May 14, 13:55)
Rostov – Khimki (May 14, 16:25)
Lokomotiv – Dynamo (May 14, 16:25)
“Akhmat” – “Wings of the Soviets” (May 14, 18:55)
Ural – Rubin (May 15, 13:55)
Spartak – Zenit (May 15, 16:25)
Krasnodar – CSKA (May 15, 18:55)
Derby “two capitals”
The main match of the 29th round of the Russian Football Championship will be the derby of the “two capitals” between Moscow “Spartak” and St. Petersburg “Zenith”. In recent years, the rivalry between the two clubs often extends beyond the football field. The wife of the owner of Spartak, Zarema Salikhova, and the general director of Zenit, Alexander Medvedev, periodically exchange barbs. For example, Medvedev did not want to congratulate Spartak on the centenary due to the fact that the representatives of the “red-whites” cannot “agree on the date of the club’s founding” themselves. In response, Salikhova stated that Zenit “exists exclusively for matches with Spartak.”
Before the start of the match, Salikhova had already criticized the appointment of Sergei Ivanov as the chief referee of the match.
“Ivanov was assigned to VAR for the match with Zenit. Naturally, the faded blues want to play it safe and are afraid of history repeating itself, when it will not be possible to celebrate the championship in front of the entire management of Gazprom. That’s why they keep judges like Ivanov,” leads her words “Championship”.
The current match will no longer have a tournament value for the two teams. Zenit two rounds ago achieved an early championship, and Spartak is in 9th place and this season will no longer be able to rise above seventh place.
Zenit is approaching the match against Spartak in great shape. The team extended the series to five victories in the championship matches. In the last match against Khimki, Sergey Semak’s team had the advantage throughout the meeting, although they managed to score only one goal. According to expected goals scored xG Zenit scored 2.27, and Khimki only 0.67.
For the first time in a long time, a graduate of the St. Petersburg Academy Daniil Odoevsky played against the Moscow Region team at the gates of Zenit. When choosing a squad, Semak will have a difficult choice: either to entrust a place in the squad to Mikhail Kerzhakov (he went out throughout the season in the main team, but in certain episodes he played extremely uncertainly and made mistakes, for example, in a match with Lokomotiv in the first minutes) or Odoevsky (didn’t have proper game practice, and in the last match against Khimki he almost didn’t get involved in the work).
In the last match, Zenit defeated Spartak at the Gazprom Arena with a score of 7:1. The ex-coach of the “red-whites” Rui Vitoria played with a high defensive line and paid for it already in the first half, conceding three goals. “Spartak” Vanoli in some matches – for example, against “Ural” or CSKA – also rose quite high. However, in these matches, the high line of defense led to the total pressing of the opponent, and not the missed balls into their own net.
There is another tactical intrigue. Will Spartak come out to play with two forwards (Shamar Nicholson and Alexander Sobolev) or choose a 3-4-3 formation and repeat the pattern of the game against Dynamo or the cup match against CSKA. Two midfielders of the “red-whites” Quincy Promes and Zelimkhan Bakaev are in good shape now. In the last match against Yenisei, Promes and Bakaev scored goals and created several dangerous chances during the game.
Both teams have good performers in the final third of the field, so you can expect that they will not leave their fans without goals scored.
Dynamo will fight for silver in Cherkizovo
Another Moscow derby will take place in this round, Lokomotiv will host Dynamo Moscow in Cherkizovo. Both teams are currently experiencing difficulties. During the entire spring part, Lokomotiv failed to build a game in pressure and so far achieves a positive result in matches only due to the skill of individual players. For example, the attacker Isidore. In the last match against Rubin Kazan, the team often made mistakes in the center of the field, which several times led to dangerous counterattacks from the guests. This fact confirms the high percentage of expected goals scored by the team of Leonid Slutsky. The only goal scored in that meeting was Anton Miranchuk’s realized penalty in the 85th minute.
In the standings, the team will no longer be able to rise above fourth place.
Before the start of the spring part, Dynamo came close to Zenit and almost until mid-April had a chance to fight for the championship. However, the defeat in the derby with CSKA, then the failures with the “Wings” and “Ural” threw Sandro Schwartz’s team away from the leader. Now the “white-and-blue” are fighting only for the second place with the “Sochi” of Vladimir Fedotov. In the final round of the championship, the teams will meet in a face-to-face confrontation. In this match, silver medals will be played.
Before the start of the match, Dynamo is the favorite due to a more well-played squad and the presence of quality performers. In addition, during the week, the White-Blues beat Alania and for the first time reached the final of the Russian Cup, where they will play against Spartak Moscow.
Vasily Berezutsky against the former team
The team of Alexei Berezutsky in recent meetings looks as faded as possible. If in March, before the pause for the training camp of the national team, CSKA showed a creative game with a high pressure line, now the “soldiers” demonstrate a complete lack of coherence in attack. In the last five matches, the team scored only two goals and managed to win only in the derby against Dynamo. In addition, several important players will not be able to come to Krasnodar at once: Jean-Philippe Gbamen, Ilzat Akhmetov, Alan Dzagoev, Yusuf Yazydzhi and Bruno Fuchs. However, there is also positive news. After the injury, the main goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev recovered.
Krasnodar is going through a phase of turbulence throughout the spring part of the championship. According to journalist Sergei Yegorov, in March, the owner of the club Sergei Galitsky considered the possibility of removing the team from the championship, but the head of the league, Ashot Khachaturyants, persuaded the businessman not to make such a decision. As the match against Lokomotiv showed, the team continues to experience difficulties after the departure of the legionnaires. Among the hopes of the team is the young midfielder Eduard Spertsyan, who is the most valuable player in terms of statistical metrics (in 27 games, the player scored seven goals, gave two assists and gained 6.84 xG).
Vasily Berezutsky will play against his former team for the first time as an assistant head coach. Last year he worked at Krasnodar as an assistant to Viktor Goncharenko.
Despite the fact that bookmakers give preference to CSKA, Krasnodar definitely does not look weaker before the starting whistle. Therefore, both the home team and the guests have chances for three points.