Latest matches and standings
Paolo Vanoli gets tons of criticism after each round, but if you look at the statistics of the last ten matches (along with the Russian Cup), it turns out not so bad: five wins, two draws, three defeats. The club can even take the seventh place in the RPL if it earns six points in the remaining matches and the neighbors in the table make the “desired” result. It is quite worthy, given the dismantled and difficult season.
Zenit, a few rounds before the end of the championship, secured its fourth championship in a row, but the team did not stop there. Despite the lack of motivation, Sergei Semak continues to set the team up to win every match.
Spartak may come to revenge fully armed, and the participation of only one key player is in question. Roman Zobnin was injured in the last match, which can be replaced in the starting lineup by the well-behaved Prutsev. In the attack, this time, Alexander Sobolev will appear, whose size and ability to put pressure on the opponent will be needed more than the speed of Shamar Nicholson.
Estimated squad of Spartak (3-4-3): Selikhov – Zhigo, Jikia, Kofrie – Moses, Pereira, Prutsev, Khlusevich – Promes, Bakaev, Sobolev.
Mikhail Kerzhakov does not show a convincing game in recent matches, and Daniil Odoevsky would have had all the chances to appear from the first minutes, but, given the principled nature of the meeting, Sergei Semak would rather prefer to see a more experienced goalkeeper at the gate. The position of the center forward, which Ivan Sergeyev has recently staked out for himself, is also questionable, but in this match it is possible that ex-Spartak player Artem Dzyuba will come out from the first minutes.
Indicative line-up of Zenit (4-3-3): Kerzhakov – Kuzyaev, Chistyakov, Santos, Krugovoi – Claudinho, Wendel, Barrios – Malcolm, Alberto, Dziuba.
Statistics and facts
• Zenit are unbeaten in 17 RPL games in a row;
• In the last ten face-to-face matches, Spartak was only once able to take three points into its piggy bank. It happened already in 2017, since then Zenit has not lost;
• Zenit scored 22 goals in ten head-to-head matches, Spartak – nine;
• Zenit lost only once away during the current season;
• “Spartak” misses in 11 matches in a row at home from “Zenith”;
• The meeting will be officiated by the chief referee Pavel Kukuyan, in seven of the last ten matches of which seven penalties were awarded, four more times there were removals.
What to expect from the match?
It will be difficult for Spartak to get rid of the 1:7 of 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.
Teams do not have any tournament motivation, but tension, emotions and desire will definitely beat over the edge. And the lack of pressure in terms of results can bring in copious amounts of goals. This match is a must watch.