Zenit went into the winter break, the leader of the championship of Russia on football. To the resumption of the season in St Petersburg is to strengthen the front line, in particular to find a decent assistant Artem Dzyuba. “Spartak” following the purchase of a flank defender Ayrton Lucas needed to find a replacement captain Denis Glushakov, and “Krasnodar” and CSKA — to strengthen the bench and view of the profile of candidates in connection with the possible departure of Charles kaboré and Mario Fernandez. RT discusses which positions will try to strengthen the top clubs in the winter.

  • RIA Novosti
  • © Mikhail Kireev

“Zenit” (St. Petersburg)

What to expect. In the summer of Petersburgers headed by Sergey Semak, and the fans met first in many years the appointment of a Russian expert with optimism. In addition, the new coach has received from its predecessors quite sturdy composition. Let the summer team did not buy a single player roster, Zenit allowed to fight for the highest places. Of the contingent of veterans in the team have Igor Smolnikov, Alexander Anyukov, Oleg Shatov, Artem Dzyuba. From Mircea Lucescu Andrei Lunev, Branislav Ivanovic and a number who returned from loan players who were not wanted by Roberto Mancini. In turn, when the Italian “Zenith” has replenished of promising Argentines and a few good Russian players.

What I’ve seen. Zenit started the season very strongly and in the first eight rounds of RPL scored seven victories. However, in autumn, like a year ago, the team started to have problems. Besides greatly crippled Petrograd injury, Christian Noboa, who with the arrival of the Semak quickly became a key figure in the team. Signed as a replacement for the Ecuadorian Claudio Marchisio did not solve the problem, because, firstly, it has other functions, and secondly, not yet fully adapted to Russia. The worst for an Italian match was the November meeting with CSKA. In it the Vice-champion of Europe made a scoring error and was substituted at half-time. Since then Marchisio in the starting lineup for the matches of the RPL did not fall.


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However, in the fall and early winter, game is hard not only Claudio but also to the whole team. On this segment of “Zenit” in the championship, losing five and allowed to almost catch up with itself, “Krasnodar”, and also flew out of the Cup of Russia.

What needs to change. A serious problem for the wards of Semak was the lack of adequate replacement Dziuba. If in the first months after the world championship Artem literally flew across the field, then his actions start to affect the fatigue. But just in time is back in operation after a serious injury Alexander Kokorin. The striker managed to score for Zenit a few important goals, and then ended up in jail. When Kokorin returns to the field and how much time he will need to get in shape, it is not known why the blue-white-blue winter probably will be looking for a new striker. Beloved by fans of Anton Zabolotnyi from the accounts reset is impossible, but he is a player of one Dziuba plan and is also not a high performance.

Surely we can expect and strengthen the midfield, especially if Leandro Paredes in the winter will leave the team. And Noboa recovers from injuries roughly only to February, and perhaps later.

“Krasnodar” (Krasnodar)

What to expect. The new season fans of “Krasnodar” was awaited with anxiety. First, the team had to start under the guidance of the young coach Murad Musayev, and secondly, the southerners were left without two key players. First was not to renew the contract with the “Krasnodar” Central defender and captain Andreas Granqvist, and after the first rounds in RPL, Lokomotiv moved has long wanted to play at a higher level of Fedor Smolov. Moreover, in October the bulls for obvious reasons, and there are still without Pavel Mamayev, who at the start of the season was one of the key players of the team.

What I’ve seen. Surprisingly, all of these losses did not “Krasnodar” weaker. Under the leadership of Musayev, the team has continued to demonstrate spectacular attacking football. Besides, the former coach of the youth of the southerners began more actively to engage talented students of the club. A real wild card of the team was 18-year-old Magomed Shapi-Suleymanov, who scored six goals in all competitions after the replacement. Scored four times in RPL 19-year-old Ivan Ignatiev.

Experienced players of “Krasnodar” led him returned from rental Ari, which in the summer has said that he wants to leave the team. The result is a forward in the first half of the season, it was so bright it was summoned to the Russian national team and debuted for it in 32 years.

In the center of the field continued to play the game of “Krasnodar” Viktor Klasson. In 16 matches of RPL Swede scored nine points for the performance (six goals, three assists).

What needs to change. At first glance, “Krasnodar” team no pronounced weaknesses. However, southerners could use some skilled players to at least have options in the final game of the season. Besides wards Musaeva after the winter break will break at once on three fronts (RPL, Russian Cup and the Europa League), and the rotation command can’t hurt, and the young players of “Krasnodar” can still be unstable.

Plus, the media has reported that team winter could leave Charles kaboré. His departure will be “Krasnodar” really serious problem. In this case, breeders club urgently need to find a substitute for qualified nose.

  • Midfielder “Krasnodar” Charles Kaboré

CSKA (Moscow)

What to expect. CSKA are certainly the main discovery of the season. In the summer, the team lost a number of leaders and their places were taken by mostly young and unknown players. So, veterans Sergei Ignashevich and brothers Berezutskii was intended to replace the 22-year-old Brazilian Rodrigo Bekaa that even at home, was quoted not too high.

And, for example, the midfield CSKA stepped up a 20-year Elsacom Akhmetov, which with scandal has left “the ruby”. In Swedish “Norcheping” was purchased 19-year-old Icelander Arnor Sigurdsson who formed the company of more experienced compatriot Heguru the Magnusson.

Such a large rotation did not promise anything good CSKA. At least the current season, the team took on the running of the youth and establish game relations. Even in the team hinted that fans will have to wait.

What I’ve seen. For the winter break CSKA went to third place in the standings RPL. Ahead of CSKA only “Zenith” and “Krasnodar”. While Fedor Chalov with nine goals leads the race scorers of the tournament. But in the group stage of the Champions League red-blue has created a miracle: twice against the current Champions — real Madrid. If the fans of the team in the summer said, what results their Pets reached a few months later, they would, to put it mildly, did not believe.

But Viktor Goncharenko managed to do the unthinkable. Collected from around the world, talented young people with the help of the remaining team of experienced players shot almost immediately. Almost all beginners CSKA have stood out.

Akhmetov, rumored to have been interested in a number of European clubs. BEKO urge to give Russian citizenship so he could play for the national team. And rented from Everton, Nikola vlašić became the leader of the team and also attracted the attention of European clubs.

What needs to change. At the moment the roster looks quite balanced, but the problems the team may occur, if go on increasing Mario Fernandez. Rumors about selling it to one of the Italian clubs went in the summer, after the world Cup, but then naturalized Brazilian decided to stay and help the team in a difficult moment. Now the team is much more firmly on his feet, and the defender may well sell for a substantial sum of compensation.

“Spartak” (Moscow)

What to expect. The red and white fans only dream about titles, and at first it seemed that team is capable of in the new season to do great things at least in the championship. In the first six games of RPL wards Massimo Carrera has four wins and played draw with “Locomotive” and “Zenith” on departure. However, in parallel to Moscow, the team flew out of the Champions League and left without Quincy of Promesa, which good money was offered Sevilla.


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What I’ve seen. As a result, for several months with Spartak managed to work the three specialist — Carrera, his assistant Raul riancho and Oleg Kononov. Season the red-and-white started with the 4-3-3 formation and kept it until the arrival of Kononov. With this current team very hard given goals. Even more problem was aggravated by the departure of Promesa. However, some strong players, such as sofiane Hanni does not fit into this arrangement and were forced to watch the games.

But after the injury of Samuel Gigot at “Spartaka” there were serious problems in defense — the team started to miss lots of it for the Challenger. Additionally, Carrera was actively trying to introduce the game young, and experienced Andrey Yeshchenko, Denis Glushakov, by contrast, was sent to the reserves for likes in social networks.

With the advent of Kononov’s team switched to a classic 4-4-2 formation. New coach began to release in a pair of ze Luis and Luiz Adriano, and it gave the result: red-and-white finished the year with three wins in a row in RPL, although off from League of Europe. Also Kononov was returned to the Foundation Glushakova and did not take away his captain’s armband, which caused outrage among the fans.

What needs to change. In “Spartacus” is coming generational change. Summer will come to the end of the duration of contracts from Alexander Samedov, ivelina Popova and Andrey Eschenko. And in June 2020, the agreement will expire, Denis Glushakov, Artem Rebrov, Salvatore bocchetti, Dmitry Kombarov and Luiz Adriano. Thus, the team will change a lot. It is possible, with some players red-white will start to break up in the coming months.

So, in the winter, according to media reports, “Spartak” can leave Adriano. In this case, it is red-white will be cool just need a new striker, not to stay with one ze Luis, who is also prone to injury. One problem the club has already accomplished — found a worthy replacement Kombarova in the face of 21-year-old Brazilian defender Ayrton Lucas from Fluminense. Try red-and-white to solve the issue with employment Glushakova, which have not always corresponds to its level. It is able to replace the center as Artyom Timofeev and 18-year-old Mikhail Ignatov.

  • Midfielder “Spartacus” Denis Glushakov
  • RIA Novosti

“Lokomotiv” (Moscow)

What to expect. After winning a long-awaited championship from the railroad waited to “continue the Banquet”. On the other hand, the fans in the example of “Spartacus” understood that the team will be very difficult, because to tune in now will be special. In addition, the “locomotive” for the first time in 15 years had to play in the group stage of the Champions League. Under it, each line was acquired by the world champion 2014 in the German national team Benedikt Howedes, experienced Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak and the best scorer of the last three years of national championship of CSKA Moscow.

What I’ve seen. Fans fears were confirmed almost immediately. Not only that, the red-green lost in the super Cup CSKA, and in the first three rounds RPL team could not score and scored only one point. The apotheosis for the railroad was the defeat from “Zenith” with the account 3:5.

Gradually, however, the case of “Locomotive” went on the lad. In the autumn of wards of Yury Semin has five victories in a row in RPL and returned to the top three of the standings. But in the Champions League defending champion failed, losing five matches out of six is not the strongest rivals and finishing in last place in the group.

What needs to change. In the summer the team had a competent selection campaign, so the mass purchase of winter is likely to be expected. At the moment, Loko looks to be efficient by the standards of RPL. – Don’t drop the striker, but fans can only hope that in the spring of Smolov finally will play in Krasnodar.

And in the short term “locomotive” and “Spartak”, waiting for serious change. In the composition of railwaymen too many older players (Marinato Guilherme, Vedran Corluka, Vladislav Ignatiev, Igor Denisov, Manuel Fernandes, Jefferson Farfan), which sooner or later will need replacing. Almost certainly in the summer will leave the team, the Portuguese midfielder, who, according to media reports, unable to agree with the club about a new contract.