CSKA Moscow face Rubin Kazan at the VEB Arena on Saturday evening in matchday 4 of the Russian Premier League. Both clubs suffered agonizing defeats in their previous games with CSKA falling to champions Zenit while Rubin Kazan went down 3-2 to PFC Sochi in a thrilling game.
One can expect a free-scoring encounter as both teams rely on their offensive capabilities to earn them points. Rubin Kazan's defense has been disappointing to say the very least, as they have conceded 6 goals already this season in just 3 games so far. CSKA Moscow have a number of talented players up front, and have scored in 9 of their last 10 league games.
Let's take a closer look at this game.
CSKA Moscow v Rubin Kazan head-to-head
The away side have only mustered one win in their last 8 meetings with CSKA, which was a 2-1 win back in 2017. Interestingly, that match too, was an away game for Kazan which proves that they are capable of taking a result from this fixture.
Moreover, they managed to take a point in this fixture last season itself, drawing 1-1, thanks to an 88th minute equaliser from Yevgeni Markov.The home side have been thoroughly dominant in almost all other recent match-ups, winning 3-0 and 4-0 at home before the aforementioned 1-1 draw.
CSKA Moscow have started the season strongly, winning their first two games. Even in their recent loss to Zenit, they put up a commendable fight and were a little unfortunate to not have taken anything from the match.
Kazan, meanwhile, have only bagged 1 point from their opening 3 games. They managed to come from a goal down to lead 2-1 against PFC Sochi, only to concede two late goals to lose 3-2. Clearly, defensive fragility is a great cause for concern heading into this match for them.
CSKA Moscow form: L-W-W-D-W
Rubin Kazan form: L-D-L-L-D
CSKA Moscow v Rubin Kazan team news
Viktor Goncharenko will continue to be without veteran midfielder Alan Dzagoev for this game, as he remains in the recovery room. Another player who plays in his position, Ilzat Akhmetov, also accompanies him.
Nikola Vlasic, who scored the stunning equaliser against Zenit in their previous match, has looked sharp so far and will likely be given another start in Dzagoev's absence.
Striker Fedor Chalov, who scored in this fixture last season, is recovering from a knee injury, and might return to play some part in this one.
Injured: Alan Dzagoev, Ilzat Akhmetov
Doubtful: Fedor Chalov
Rubin roped in South Korean midfielder Hwang In-Beom on Wednesday evening, so it might be a little too early for him to feature. The 23-year-old had a decent stint with Vancouver Whitecaps over at the MLS and there is a lot of expectations from him.
Defender Mikhail Merkulov will return to the starting line-up after he served his suspension when he watched his team fall to a painful 3-2 defeat from the stands. Ilya Samoshnikov moved from right-back to left-back to deputise for his absent team-mate, while Filip Uremović filled the void in the right-hand side.
Kazan have been shown a red card each in their first two matches, and the same has cost them dearly. Even in their last match against Sochi, they committed as many as 12 fouls, leading to 3 yellow cards. Clearly, Leonid Slutsky's men believe in imposing their physicality over the opponent, and sometimes go over the line in an attempt to do so.
Injured: Oleg Shatov
Doubtful: Hwang In-Beom
CSKA Moscow v Rubin Kazan predicted XI
CSKA Moscow predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Igor Akinfeev; Kirill Nababkin; Igor Diveev; Vadim Karpov; Mário Fernandes; Konstantin Maradishvili; Ivan Oblyakov; Georgi Shchennikov; Nikola Vlasic; Konstantin Kuchayev; Fedor Chalov.
Rubin Kazan predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Yury Dyupin; Ilya Samoshnikov; Silvije Begić; Carl Starfelt; Mikhail Merkulov; Oliver Abildgaard; Darko Jevtić; Soltmurad Bakayev; Zuriko Davitashvili; Khvicha Kvaratskhelia; Ivan Ignatyev.
CSKA Moscow v Rubin Kazan prediction
As mentioned previously, both teams are at their best when going forward. It should, as a result, be an open game with chances at either end.
CSKA Moscow have a number of young, exciting Russian talents, who look unfazed by the challenge of playing regularly at the top level. They are stronger than Kazan, and should definitely get the win at home.
If Fedor is fit enough to feature in this match, he will be a handful for the Kazan defenders who can't seem to buy a clean sheet at this moment. Nikola Vlasic, too, is in fantastic touch and the capital club's offense should be too strong for a suspect Rubin Kazan defense.
Leonid Slutsky, the Kazan boss, does know a lot of things about CSKA having managed them earlier in his career. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to be enough, and although Kazan should score, CSKA should be able to hit them with at least couple more.
Final Verdict: CSKA Moscow 3-1 Rubin Kazan.Published 21 Aug 2020, 01:29 IST