Five years without a win. CSKA will once again try to break the black streak in matches with Zenit
AFTER THE SHOCK CUP
The two strongest RPL teams of the 21st century are approaching a face-to-face meeting confused by spring results. CSKA unexpectedly appeared exclusively as a home team. At home, the army team defeated Krasnodar and Krylya Sovetov, and away with the same teams and in Sochi, in total, they barely achieved a draw. The quality of the game of Vladimir Fedotov’s wards is similar to the results: a brilliant game in attack is followed by a faded one and vice versa.
If the rossoblù were satisfied with a draw in Samara in the middle of the week, then the Russian champions sensationally flew out of the National Cup in front of the crowd that packed the Gazprom Arena (the fan’s passport was not required). The match “Zenith” failed for many reasons, but it is worth noting the strange personnel policy of Sergei Semak.
Photo source: Anna Meyer / FC Zenit
Last weekend, he put all the strongest players to no avail in the match with the outsider of the Khimki championship, although a hypothetical loss of points would not be critical here, and in the Cup with Dynamo, when there was no room for error , for some reason it has to resort to an unforced rotation. And this despite the fact that he was already deprived of the suspended Rodrigao, Wilmar Barrios and Malcolm.
As a result, residents of St. Petersburg missed the opportunity ahead of schedule for the third time in their history to issue a “golden double”.
ZENIT WITHOUT BARRIERS
However, Barrios, a backbone soccer player, will also not be in Moscow. Against Khimki he was injured and will temporarily miss up to four weeks. For Fedotov, this is a huge opportunity. You just have to figure out how to best use it. The support zone of the blue-white-blue will no longer be so impassable, because Vendel and Daler Kuzyaev (they shared the role of the Colombian in the cup match) are far from being so good at positional defense and direct selection.
But the match with Dynamo showed that Claudinho already had good form. In terms of movement, he still has room to add, but the pleasure of creating from him rushes. The Brazilian thinks quickly, sees non-standard options and calmly performs even technically complex elements. Considering that Malcolm will also play in Moscow, who is in chic condition, Igor Akinfeev expects a difficult 90 minutes.
Photo source: Evgeny Asmolov / FC Zenit
For the army team, the main positive news is that Igor Diveev, who hadn’t played since September due to a broken shin, has finally returned. In Samara he got the first half hour, and against Zenit he will certainly be the starter. He is too important a figure for the defense of the Muscovites. It is probably worth waiting at the base for Anton Zabolotny, who twice in a row (an unprecedented thing!) Comes out to the start of CSKA. In the RPL against Krylia, he scored a great goal and helped Fyodor Chalov score, and assisted Jesus Medina in the away match for the cup.
CSKA: Akinfeev – Rosha, Diveev, Moizes – Gaich, Zdelar, Mendez, Oblyakov – Medina, Chalov – Zabolotny.
“Zenith”: Kerzhakov – Karavaev, Rodrigao, Renan, Douglas Santos – Kuzyaev, Wendel, Claudinho – Malcolm, Cassierra, Bridge.
THE AWAKENING OF CHALOV
CSKA fans will probably turn on their TVs on Sunday without much enthusiasm. However, years of failures take their toll. Zenit have won their last six matches against the army team with a 14-4 goal difference. Moreover, in June 2020, an even defeat of the hosts with a score of 4:0 took place in Moscow. Half of the goals in that match were scored by Malcom, who will replace him this time.
Well, the last victory of the rossoblù dates back to November 2018, when the team was on the rise after the summer reset and even crashed Real Madrid twice in the Champions League, and Fedor Chalov scored in every game.
Photo source: PFC CSKA
About Chalov. The striker is experiencing a resurgence this season. In that 2018/19 season, his best so far, he scored 15 goals (in 30 games), and this year he has already scored 11 (19 games). That is, he also goes on a higher performance program. In the last two matches against KS, Chalov also scored an accurate shot and is clearly determined to extend the streak in a meeting with Zenit. Do you think it will be successful?