Lokomotiv Moscow vs Rostov – Friday, October 19, 18:30BST/20:30 MSK – RŽD-Arena, Moscow, Russia
Lokomotiv Moscow are back in business. A 1-0 derby victory over CSKA Moscow ahead of the international break meant that the Railwaymen have been catapulted up to seventh in the standings and even more importantly are now within striking distance of the Champions League spots once again.
With the victory Lokomotiv now have 15 points out of the first ten games. As a result, the Railwaymen are now in the seventh spot four points behind second-placed Krasnodar and just three points behind third-placed Rostov and fourth-placed Spartak Moscow. That derby victory, however, also came with a price. Striker Eder was sent off after receiving a second yellow card in the 65′ minute of the Moscow derby against CSKA.
Furthermore, forwards Jefferson Farfan and star striker Fedor Smolov are both doubtful for this match. Hence, Lokomotiv head coach Yuri Semin will face a bit of a selection headache. The only available striker left in his squad is the 22-year-old Rifat Zhamaletdinov. The new signing from Rubin Kazan, however, prefers to operate on the right-wing. Hence, Semin might be forced to play Aleksey Miranchuk, who is at best a false-nine, in the number nine position up front.
The lack of true strikers in Lokomotiv’s squad at the moment is a significant problem given that the Railwaymen will face Russia’s best defence. The Selmashi have conceded just four goals in ten Russian Premier Liga games this season. The defensive bulwark erected by head coach Valeri Karpin, in fact, has already drawn some parallels to the team put together by former head coach Kurban Berdyev.
Under Berdyev Rostov finished second at the end of the 2015/16 season. The following season, albeit with Berdyev running the club as the vice-president, Rostov beat German giants Bayern München in the Champions League. All that was achieved with a club that was on the brink of financial catastrophe and at one point during that season was unable to pay its players.
Thankfully for Rostov, the success on the pitch is the only parallel to that time, however. While most Russian clubs these days a run on a tight budget, except Zenit and Spartak, Rostov are financially healthy. Furthermore, the new stadium also has meant that the club has seen a significant increase in attendance from 12,730 to 30,218.
On the pitch, Karpin has built a cohesive unit that while not playing attractive football gets the job done. Sitting deep and trying to hit teams on the counter-attack by having their defenders play long balls to overcome the opponent’s midfield Rostov like to take the role of the underdog in any match. That was especially apparent during their 1-0 defeat before the winter break at the hands of newly promoted Orenburg.
Hence, with Lokomotiv forced to dictate the game but at the same time lacking the forwards to break Rostov down the Selmashi could escape with more than just one point from Moscow’s RŽD Arena.
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Rostov – Players to look out for:
Benedikt Höwedes #5 – Lokomotiv Moscow
Benedikt Höwedes has finally arrived in the Russian capital. The former German national team player played well against his former club Schalke 04 in the Champions League and then was excellent against CSKA in the Moscow derby. Playing as a left-back, a role that he has not occupied since the early days of his career, Höwedes ended up scoring the winner against CSKA.
Sverrir Ingi Ingason #15 – Rostov
Sverrir Ingi Ingason is Rostov’s key player. The Icelandic defender almost acts like a quarterback in Karpin’s system. Centring a three-man defence the 25-year-old defender leads the team with 6.8 long passes and 63 passes overall played per game. Furthermore, his defensive partners in the three-man defence, Ragnar Sigurdsson and Maciej Wilusz, closely follow Ingason in that department. Sigurdsson averages 56.6 passes per game and Wilusz 51.5 passes per game both also play 5.5 long balls, on average, per game the second most after Sverrir Ingi Ingason. Those numbers say much about Rostov’s game. The Selmashi try to play the ball quickly forward when winning possession trying to overwhelm the opposition with a quick transition game.
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Rostov – Match Stats
- Both head coaches have a winning record against the other team. Yuri Semin’s record against Rostov is W18 D12 L5 and Valeri Karpin’s record against Loko is W7 D1 L4.
- Karpin, however, has won three out of four games against Semin. His record against the 71-year-old Rostov coach is W3 L1.
- Lokomotiv’s record against Rostov is W26 D15 L5
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Lokomotiv Moscow vs Rostov – 1-1
Lokomotiv Moscow vs Rostov – Lineups
Guilherme – Höwedes, Corluka, Kvirkvelia, Ignatyev – Denisov, Krychowiak, Barinov – Fernandes, Al. Miranchuk, Zhemaletdinov
Head Coach: Yuri Semin
Abaev – Sigurdsson, Ingason, Wilusz – Skopintsev, Kalachev, Gatcam, Guilev, Parshivlyuk – Kjartansson, Ionov
Head Coach: Valeri Karpin
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.