Zenit St. Petersburg Leads 2015 – 2016 Russian Premier League after First Three Weeks of Play
Zenit St. Petersburg won the 2014 – 2015 Russian Premier League handily, besting their closest competitors—runners-up CSKA Moscow—by seven points in the final league standings. Now, three weeks into the 2015 – 2016 Russian Premier League season, the Anti-Aircraft Gunners haven’t wasted any time returning to the top of the table. Both Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow have started the season with three wins in a row, making them two of the five football clubs in the league with undefeated records, and the only two with a trio of wins.
Zenit’s Perfect Season Start
The Anti-Aircraft Gunners have looked particularly unstoppable since first donning the Zenit St Petersburg home jersey 2015 – 2016 on July 19th. That date saw a home match against Dynamo Moscow, which the St. Petersburg squad won 2-1.
Hulk, who was the Russian Premier League’s top goalscorer last season, was the star of this opening match as well. He scored one penalty goal to equalize the match at 1-1 (Dynamo’s Aleksandr Kokorin had netted the first goal of the game), and providing the assist that allowed Oleg Shatov to put Zenit in the lead.
Things have continued to go well for Zenit since then, with Hulk adding two more goals in a 4-1 win over Ural, and two more assists in a 3-0 home victory against Terek Grozny. Those three games, collectively, have earned the Anti-Aircraft Gunners nine points, a +7 goal difference, and the first place position on the 2015 – 2016 Russian Premier League table. Not a bad start to the new football season!
CSKA Moscow: Staying Close Behind
CSKA Moscow, meanwhile, aren’t far behind: they’ve got the same nine point total as Zenit St. Petersburg, having won all three of their games. Their goal difference is lower—but still respectable—at +4.
The CSKA soccer squad are looking for a bit of payback against Zenit this year, after missing out on a third consecutive Russian Premier League title last year. The Anti-Aircraft Gunners simply outplayed the Moscow team last year, and CSKA fans are hoping it won’t happen again.
So far, CSKA’s Red-Blues are doing a good job staying close behind the reigning national champions. Like Zenit, the Red-Blues started the season with a win at home (1-0, against Rubin Kazan), and have built the foundations for a solid winning streak since (with victories against Krylya Sovetov and Anzhi, respectively). Needless to say, the September 11th head-to-head fixture between Zenit and CSKA, set to take place in Moscow, is one of the most anticipated matches of the year.
The Rest of the Field
As for the rest of the Russian Premier League field, no other squads have managed the perfect three-win records that Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow have at the moment. However, there are other potential contenders in the wings.
For instance, both Lokomotiv and Spartak Moscow are sitting at seven points in the standings, with two wins and one draw apiece. The two football clubs finished seventh and sixth in last year’s Russian Premier League, respectively. Amkar Perm rounds out the current top five, with two wins and one loss.
On the other side of the table, Anzhi Makhachkala (recently promoted from the second tier of Russian professional football) and Rubin Kazan (the fifth-placers from the 2014 – 2015 Russian Premier League) are tied for last place. Both soccer clubs have lost all three of their matches, and have goal differences of -4. It’s been a particularly surprising (and surprisingly rough) start for Rubin Kazan, who only lost eight games all last season.
It’s tough to make weighty predictions about the path of the season after just three games. After all, the Russian Premier League sees each team play 30 games annually—meaning we are just 10% of the way through the 2015 – 2016 campaign. Still, even though much could change in the remaining 90% of the season, a few things are clear: Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow are destined to be the top contenders once more, Moscow is a serious powerhouse of a soccer city, and Rubin Kazan are going to need a little bit of extra fan support to get out of their funk.
Root for your favorite team today, with a new Zenit St Petersburg jersey 2015 – 2016 or Spartak Moscow home shirt from Soccer Box!