Zenit Claims Title; The Year of St. PetersburgBy: Roman | November 20th, 2010
The blue-and-whites win this years season league title just as many have predicted. The team has one more match to spare, having just played an away match in Kazan concluding the score to be a stalemate (2-2). So…who is this year’s Zenit hero? Could it be Kerzhakov, Bukharov, Danny, or Bruno Alves? No, in my mind it is the former boss of AS Roma, Luciano Spalletti, Italy’s tactical mastermind. His 4-2-3-1 formation defines the game of football in the Russian league with only two losses. Early buys such as Kerzhakov and Bukharov set the offensive mindset, while Bruno Alves and partner Anyukov kept the defense just as important. I doubt hardly anybody us surprised at Zenit’s title win this year, considering the massive amounts of money being given to them by the Russian gas giant, Gazprom.
CSKA Moscow with a great run this year jumped up to second place to complete the season, while Rubin of Kazan takes control of third. Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv finish fourth and fifth while Dynamo finishes a disappointing 7th place with such buys such as Voronin and Kevin Kuranyi. FC Rostov with a weak and powerless squad manages to prove themselves good enough to clinch on to an 8th place but little else is surprising.
Sibir’ Novosibirsk could gain only 4 wins and 7 draws to spot them the last place to have them regulated down below. FK Amkar-Perm and Alania Vladikavkaz both contain 29 points and Anzhi Makhachkala from Dagestan along with Krylya Sovetov both nabbed 30 points this year; either one of these teams we are now reading about could be relegated by the end of next week’s final games. Considering all of those teams will be fighting for survival, it will be almost as interesting as the first matchday.
So, what was there of interest in the Russian Premier League this season? We have plenty of free kickers such as Alexander Aliyev of Lokomotiv, Molosh, who’s talent is going to be wasted in the lower leagues playing for his Siberian side, and CSKA’s famous Honda. I’ve noticed that this time around (not that it was ever different in any season of the Russian Premier League) that most of the teams have an inconsistent squad. For example, Dynamo Moscow has a great offense and a midfield but the defense is just mediocre. The same can be said with Lokomotiv. They have a diamond of an offense (comparable to Zenit or CSKA), but again, the defense is just not good enough. Few teams in the Russian Premier League have a consistency of a squad such as Zenit, CSKA, Rubin or even FC Rostov (who’s squad just doesn’t even have a great offense, midfield, or defense but just is completely average). Just something to keep in mind. One really important thing to all that play FIFA, it’s about damn time they added the Russian League on the PS3/XBOX 360/PC versions.
Molosh from Sibir
Aliyev’s goal from afar
Keisuke scoring one
The game of the season (so far at least) was the match played in Khimki. CSKA Moscow played against Spartak from Moscow as well. CSKA played early on with a 10-man squad and were losing 1-0. Honda gave life to CSKA after he headbutted the Jabulani ball into the Spartak goalpost. Seydou Doumbia became the real hero in the match putting it into the net to lead the score.
Final note; Since it’s getting really close to the end of the season, 2010 was a horrible year for Russian football and by that I’m not talking about the Russian league. Russia sports-wise had dropped so low. We managed to not qualify for the World Cup in South Africa even though we out-talented Slovenia, lowered in the FIFA rankings, and the damn hockey team in the Olympics managed to lose 3-7 to the Canadians (which is a record!). Not only did the team lose to Canada, but Russian coach Bykov made the players promise to win the 2010 hockey championships which again featured all of the players such as Malkin, Datsyuk, Kovalchuk and many more only to gain second place and get beaten by the Czechs! The only thing we had going for us was beach football, and the women’s volleyball team won gold this year. That’s it! Let’s all hope that 2011 will be somewhat of a revival.