Russian Premier League: The threat from the East
Russian Premier League has a relatively small history, if we discount the times of the USSR. After its dissolution, a national competition was organized by ex-soviet republics: at the time, this league had 6 Russian teams. These were CSKA Moskva, Spartak Moskva, Torped, Dínamo Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow and Spartak Vadikavkaz. At the first, the league had 20 teams, but it shortened its length to 16 teams by 1994. Since then, the Top Division – now called Premier League – has 16 teams.
There are an astounding number of competitions all over the world, some of team over forever, some of that morphing to adapt to the times: luckily, in 2021, there are over and under predictions for 500 leagues, so if you are a betting fellow, you can get inform on virtually every one of them.
Since most people don’t really know the Russian League, let’s do a small recap before delving into which teams stand a chance for the title.
Spartak Moskva was the powerhouse in the 90’s, winning 9 out of the ten titles. Next, we have Lokomotiv and CSKA Moskva, winning 2 times and 6 times, respectively.
This was, of course, before the rise of Zenit St. Petersburg, winning their first ever title at 2008, while Rubin Kazan appeared shortly after.
With a lot of money to throw around, we may remember Zenit playing, and amazing several unattentively eyes, in the Champions League, and sacking top players from all kind of teams.
With this in mind, let’s see who can win the Russian Premier League next year, and have a chance at conquering European titles.
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Zenit is just wrecking the league over the last seasons. With Dzyuba as the main man, along with Sardar Azmoun, Malcom is just as able to create problems to any defense as Driussi is. At the back, Lovren is not only a Champions League winner, but also a veteran, that can organize his team from the defense onwards. They are the most talented team in the Russian Premier League, so there won’t be any surprise if they manage to win it once again.
Although trailing behind Zenit at the moment, the truth is CSKA is only one title less than Zenit, and is also able to garner plenty of talented plays to perform from their team. Akinfeev is an excellent goalkeeper, and a true leader amongst men, Mário Fernandes is a Russian left-back with a little bit of Brazilian blood boiling in his veins, and up on the front Dzagoev, Rondon and Chalov are both physically strong and technically proficient, and are perfectly capable of posing a lot of problems to any defense, however well positioned and trained it is.
Last but not least, we are talking about a team that won the league not that long ago – in 2017-1028 – and remains a sensible and threatening contender. It all depends on how the talents are managed and on how well the stars align: stars that go from Krichowiak, in the midfield, Smolov, standing as the main man on the attacking front, to Myranchuk. Sure, maybe these starts bright a little less than those of Saint Petersburg, but the distance to the sky is the same nonetheless: and Lokomotiv Moskva knows what it takes to reach it. One can only wonder what will happen this year, but one thing we know: it’s gonna be interesting.