The Russian Premier League table is congested as the action on Matchday 8 gets ready to kick off.
Four points separate nine teams with Rubin Kazan and FC Moscow leading on 14 points, and Spartak Moscow and Tom Tomsk sitting in eighth and ninth place, respectively, on 10 points.
Khimki are bottom with only one point gained so far, while the Aliens of Saturn Moscow lie a place above them with five points.On Wednesday current RPL champions Rubin Kazan beat FC Moscow 1-0 to advance to the final of the Russian Cup.
It was 22-year-old midfielder Alexander Ryazantsev who got the goal in the 49th minute.The other semi-final takes place next week, when holders CSKA face city rivals Dynamo Moscow.
In further Russian news the website Russia today reported that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister Vitaly Mutko to prepare the bid for Russia to host the 2018 football World Cup.
”Prepare the host bid for the 2018 football World Cup. Such participation will let us develop the infrastructure in cities like we’ve been doing in Sochi, and even if Russia fails to win the bid, all state programs, like building new stadiums and sport centers, should be accomplished anyway,” Putin said.
Mutko, who is also the head of Russian football's governing body, says the country is ready to spend some $10 billion on the World Cup.
The Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy Minister has promised that five world-class stadiums will be completed by 2013 – two in Moscow and one each in St. Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi, which is scheduled to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
FIFA has confirmed that 13 countries, including two with joint bids, submitted applications to hold either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups.The FIFA website has stated that, Australia, Belgium together with The Netherlands, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Spain and neighbouring Portugal, and the United States have submitted bids for both competitions, while South Korea and Qatar have turned in bids for the 2022 World Cup.
The countries approved for hosting the 2018 and 2022 competitions will be announced in December 2010.
So to the action in the RPL this week:
It’s derby week again as 5th placed Dynamo Moscow take on the Army Men of CSKA who are 3rd. FC Moscow, who are joint top with Rubin, host the Railway Boys of Lokomotiv; while an intriguing contest should take place between 6th placed Zenit St Petersburg and the team in 4th , Kryliya Sovetov(Samara).
Fixtures Matchday 8 (all kick off times GMT)
Saturday, May 8
11:00 Dynamo Moscow - CSKA Moscow
11:00 Terek Grozny - Amkar Perm
13:30 Zenit St Petersburg - Kryliya Sovetov(Samara)
16:00 FC Moscow - Lokomotiv Moscow
Sunday, May 9
11:00 Rubin Kazan - Tom' Tomsk
13:30 Spartak Moscow- Saturn Moscow
13:30 Spartak Nalchik - Khimki
16:00 Kuban Krasnodar - Rostov-Na-Donu
Dynamo Moscow - CSKA Moscow
The first game of Match day 8 kicks off with old city rivals Dynamo and CSKA facing each other with what promises to be an exciting derby clash.
This encounter looms as a dress rehearsal as the two combatants will face each other next week in the Russian Cup semi-final; the winner to face current RPL champions Rubin Kazan.Dynamo had a great 2-0 win over Spartak Moscow last week after having had two losses in their previous games.
Last week the Army Men came from a goal down to beat Kryliya Sovetov(Samara) away 3-1. Brazilian international Vagner Love and his long blue and black dreads helped secure the win for CSKA.
The 24-year-old striker was the Russian Premier League's top scorer last season, and the Brazilian hopes to add to his 21 appearances for the national team.
"I'm still waiting and hoping," he told Sport Express. "I'm sure that it will happen sooner or later."
CSKA went to third after that win while Dynamo’s win helped them climb up to 5th position.
Form Guide- Last 5 Games:
Dynamo Moscow –LWLLW
Points: 12 Position: 5th
CSKA Moscow –DWWLW
Points: 13 Position: 3rd
Terek Grozny - Amkar Perm
Terek Grozny's manager, Vyacheslav Grozny, was furious after the Chechen side lost 2-1 to Tom Tomsk in West Siberia last week.
After the game he vented his frustration at a NTV+ journalist:
"We have had four goals ruled out in seven games, a perfectly good goal wasn't given - you saw it yourself. They scored against us from offside! How long can this go on?"
The manager then had some strong words to say to Sport Express:
"Someone doesn't want to see Terek in the Premier League. I'm not talking about the Russian Football Union or the Russian Football Premier League [Russian football's governing bodies], but rather some hucksters who don't feature anywhere officially. It looks like there are ways to influence the outcome of games.
"We are gathering information and will name names," he added.
The only Chechen side in the RPL, this is not the first time Terek has complained about referees.In 2005, Terek sent a letter to then-president Vladimir Putin. The letter complained that they were being discriminated against, that penalties were being unfairly awarded against them, and appealed for the president to intervene. Unfortunately Terek were relegated that season.
Amkar Perm were defeated by FC Moscow last week and the team situated on the banks of the Karma River have had only one win so far this season.
Form Guide Last 5 games:
Terek Grozny -WLLDL
Points: 8 Position: 11th
Points: 6 Position: 13th
Zenit St Petersburg - Kryliya Sovetov(Samara)
Last round Zenit St Petersburg were upset away by newly-promoted Rostov 2-1.
"This wasn't our best game," Zenit's Portuguese defender Fernando Meira told the club's website. "The match was very open, and we didn't defend well as a team”.
Kryliya Sovetov (Samara) have had pretty good start to the RPL this season.
The team situated on the east bank of the Volga River started well against CSKA Moscow last week, scoring first, but ended up losing 3-1.
A win for either team will put them on top of the league, such is the closeness of the competition 7 games in.
Form Guide Last 5 Games:
Kryliya Sovetov (Samara) -LWDWL
Points: 13 Position: 4th
Zenit St Petersburg -WDDWL
Points: 12 Position: 6th
FC Moscow - Lokomotiv Moscow
Yet another Moscow derby, what story will come out of this tale of old city rivals?
The less famous of the Moscow sides FC Moscow moved into second place, behind Rubin only on goal difference, with a 1-0 win over Amkar Perm in the Urals, thanks to a 21st minute strike from Slovakian forward Martin Jakubko.
Lokomotiv Moscow were also part of the winner’s circle last week, as the Railway Men got their first win in four games against Spartak Nalchick.Midfielder Tomislav Dujmovic scored on 65 minutes to present new caretaker coach Vladimir Maminov with a home victory in his first game in charge.
Lokomotiv fired coach Rashid Rakhimov at the end of April due to a weak start in the Russian Premier League.
Caretaker Vladimir Maminov, who finished his playing career at the end of last season, will work with the team till June.
Speculation on who will take up the job after Maminov has already begun with ex-Chelsea mentor Avram Grant being touted as a possibility, Russia’s Sport Express newspaper reported.
Other candidates for the Lokomotiv job are current Dinamo Kiev coach, Yury Semin, who coached the Moscow team from 1986-2005, winning the Russian championship in 2002 and 2004, and Valery Gazzaev, the only Russian coach to win the UEFA Cup; he lost his job at CSKA last autumn.
FC Moscow will look to consolidate their position in the table with victory in this game; the team in equal first has not lost since the first round of the RPL and has won four games in a row.
Locomotiv’s Railway Men will also hope to win so they can march up the ladder. The Moscow side sit in 10th position and had just one triumph out of six games, before their win last week.
Form Guide Last 5 games
FC Moscow – DWWWW
Points: 14 Position: 2nd
Lokomotiv Moscow –WLDLW
Points: 9 Position: 10th
Sunday, May 10
Rubin Kazan - Tom' Tomsk
Current RPL champions Rubin Kazan enjoyed two big wins in the last week.During the week Rubin beat FC Moscow 1-0 to advance to the final of the Russian Cup.
Last match day Rubin thrashed the Aliens of Saturn Moscow 5-0.
Hard to please Rubin manager Kurban Berdiyev was still far from happy:
"We made a lot of mistakes in defence," he was quoted as saying by the sportbox.ru website. "This is upsetting, despite the fact that we won the match."
Rubin captain Sergei Semak had a somewhat different view:"Saturn were completely outplayed on all counts,”The win put Rubin back on top of the league and the Kazan team will look to stay there with a win against ninth-placed Tom Tomsk.
Rubin also have the leading scorer in their midst with skilful Argentinean Alejandro Dominguez leading the charge with five goals, followed by eight others on three.
Tom Tomsk carry some form into this game as they beat Terek 2-1 last matchday.
Form Guide Last 5 games:
Tom Tomsk - LDWLW
Points: 7 Position: 9th
Rubin Kazan -DWWLW
Points: 14 Position: 1st
Spartak Moscow- Saturn Moscow
Spartak Moscow's mini-revival came to a halt last week after they lost against cross-town rivals Dynamo 2-0.
New coach Valery Karpin had done well in orchestrating two wins in his first two games, with the help of legendary Russian trainer Oleg Romantsev assisting in a consultant's role.
The vast majority of Spartak players refused to comment on the match after the game.
"Of course they didn't want to speak," noted trainer Karpin. "They are very bitter, something that pleases me."
The Aliens of Saturn Moscow reached their nadir last week and seem to be floating away from the RPL as they where thrashed 5-0 by Rubin; they sit in second last position.
The person who has the job of adding the goals on the scoreboard could be very busy in this game.
Form Guide Last 5 games
Spartak Moscow – WLWWL
Points: 10 Position: 8th
The Aliens – WDLDL
Points: 5 Position: 15th
Spartak Nalchik - Khimki
Spartak Nalchick had a narrow 1-0 loss away to Lokomotiv Moscow last week, while Khimki escaped with a 2-2 draw after scoring at the death to salvage a point at home against Kuban Krasnodar.
While the neutrals will not be enthralled by this contest fans of both teams will hope a win for their team will help the struggling clubs get off the RPL bottom positions.
Form Guide Last 5 games:
Spartak Nalchik – LDLWL
Points: 5 Position: 14th
FC Khimki - LLLLD
Points: 2 Position: 16th
Kuban Krasnodar - Rostov-Na-Donu
The fans of Kuban Krasnodar the Kubantsy where singing victory songs during last week's away game at Khimki; however disaster struck when the Canaries conceded right at the death.
Newly-promoted Rostov are current giant-killers of the RPL, having beaten 2005 UEFA Cup winners CSKA Moscow and current holders Zenit St Petersburg in the past two weeks.
The Rostov players are getting excited, midfielder Dmitri Ivanov, who scored a goal and set up the other in the 2-1 victory over Zenit, was being particularly animated:
"No one thought we would do so well," he told Sport Dyen Za Dnyem paper. "Why not dream of Europe!” he claimed.
Form Guide Last 5 games:
FC Kuban Krasnodar - LDLWD
Points: 8, Position: 12th
FC Rostov-Na -Donu: WLDWW
Points: 12, Position: 7th