The Russian Premier League returns with another important set of games this weekend as Zenit Saint Petersburg take on FC Ural at the Krestovsky Stadium on Saturday. Zenit Saint Petersburg have not been at their best this season and need to take it up a notch this weekend.
FC Ural are currently in 11th place in the Russian Premier League standings and need a string of positive results to avoid dropping into the relegation zone. The away side edged PFC Sochi by a 1-0 margin in its previous game and will need to put in a similar performance this weekend.
Zenit Saint Petersburg are at the top of the Russian Premier League table after CSKA Moscow's loss at the hands of Rubin Kazan last weekend. The Russian giants were thrashed by Club Brugge in the UEFA Champions League, however, and need to bounce back against FC Ural.
Zenit Saint Petersburg vs FC Ural Head-to-Head
Zenit Saint Petersburg have a near-perfect record against FC Ural and have won 13 games out of a total of 15 matches between the two sides. FC Ural have never defeated Zenit Saint Petersburg in an official fixture and need to step up to the plate this weekend.
The previous match between the two teams ended in a hard-fought 1-1 draw. FC Ural repelled Zenit Saint Petersburg's probes into the final third on the day and will need to replicate their heroics in this game.
Zenit Saint Petersburg form guide in the Russian Premier League: D-D-W-W-L
FC Ural form guide in the Russian Premier League: W-D-D-W-D
Zenit Saint Petersburg vs FC Ural Team News
Zenit Saint Petersburg
Zenit Saint Petersburg have a few injury concerns going into this game and might not be able to field Artem Dzyuba, Dejan Lovren, Wendel, and Vyacheslav Karavaev against FC Ural. Wilmar Barrios received his fourth yellow card of the season last weekend and is suspended for this game.
Doubtful: Artem Dzyuba, Dejan Lovren, Wendel, Vyacheslav Karavaev
Suspended: Wilmar Barrios
Igor Kalinin received another yellow card in FC Ural's previous game and is suspended this weekend. Oleg Baklov is currently injured and has been ruled out against Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Injured: Oleg Baklov
Doubtful: Roman Emelyanov, Andrey Egorychev, Stefan Strandberg
Suspended: Igor Kalinin
Zenit Saint Petersburg vs FC Ural Predicted XI
Zenit Saint Petersburg XI (4-4-2): Mikhail Kerzhakov; Douglas Santos, Dmitri Chistyakov, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Daniil Krugovoy; Andrey Mostovoy, Daler Kuzyaev, Magomed Ozdoev, Malcom; Aleksandr Erokhin, Sardar Azmoun
FC Ural Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Ilya Pomazun; Nikolai Zolotov, Vladimir Rykov, Rafal Augustyniak, Denys Kulakov; Branco Jovicic, Aleksey Evseev; Othman El Kabir, Eric Bicfalvi, Vyacheslav Podberezkin; Pavel Pogrebnyak
Zenit Saint Petersburg vs FC Ural Prediction
Zenit Saint Petersburg will have to do without a few key players this weekend and the likes of Sardar Azmoun and Malcom will have to step up for the reigning champions.
FC Ural will rely on veteran striker Pavel Pogrebnyak to bring his experience to the fore in this game. Zenit Saint Peterburg have a well-rounded squad, however, and should be able to take all three points away from this fixture.
Prediction: Zenit Saint Petersburg 3-1 FC Ural