Zenit St Petersburg start the new Russian Premier League season as one of the favourites to lift the title. However, they have won just one league title in the past 5 seasons and this is something Roberto Mancini will want to change during his period in charge of the club.
Zenit St Petersburg were forced to settle for third place last season, behind CSKA Moscow and eventual champions, Spartak Moscow. The fans will be hoping to turn the tide on the Moscow clubs this season.
The last time Rubin Kazan finished inside the top three in the Russian Premier League was back in 2010. The winners of the league that season were Zenit St Petersburg and both clubs would be happy for the same outcome this time around.
Zenit St Petersburg Form
Mancini and his players got the new Russian Premier League season off to a good start thanks to a 2-0 victory at SKA Khabarovsk.
Including games from last season, Zenit St Petersburg have won their last 4 league fixtures and have lost just one of their last 8, winning 7 of them. They have lost just one of their previous 26 league matches at home and will be aiming to make their new stadium a difficult place for visiting teams this season. Zenit St Petersburg have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 Russian Premier League games.
Rubin Kazan Form
Rubin Kazan started the season with a 2-1 home defeat to Krasnodar and have won just 3 of their last 13 Russian Premier League games.
Away from home they have won 2 of their last 3 league games but looking back further and their general away form is not good. Rubin Kazan have won 4 of their last 17 away league matches and this run includes a 4-1 defeat at Zenit St Petersburg last season.
Zenit St Petersburg will be without new signing Christian Noboa, who is suspended. Defender Ivan Novoseltsev is rated as highly doubtful due to injury so must wait to make his first appearance of the season. Artem Dzyuba will play the lone strikers role with support from the trio of Oleg Shatov, Alexandr Kokorin and Giuliano in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Rubin Kazan must make do with the injured midfielder Ilzat Akhmetov but are otherwise at full strength. New signing Sardar Azmoun will start up-front in what is set to be a 4-4-2 formation from Kerban Berdyev.
Top Betting Tips
Zenit St Petersburg must start this match as favourites to win and can be backed at 1/2 with Ladbrokes to take maximum points.
Rubin Kazan struggled at home last week, eventually going down 2-1 to Krasnodar and may find it tough scoring goals at the Stadion Krestovskyi. Zenit St Petersburg have a good recent defensive record in the Russian Premier League and are available at 11/8 to win the match to nil.
Artem Dzyuba will be aiming to finish with more than the 13 league goals he achieved last season. Having failed to get on the scoresheet last week, the striker will be keen to open his account in-front of the home fans. Dzyuba is 9/2 with Ladbrokes to score the first goal of the match.