Cold and snowy weather has arrived in Russia and with it came shorter days and longer nights. Russian football has entered the Winter break period that goes from mid-December until mid-March.
With nineteen matches played so far, the natural order of Russian football continues intact, with the four Moscow teams at the five top places of the table, battling with the most recent football powerhouse of that Eastern European country, Zenit St. Petersburg.
The team from the city founded by Tsar Peter the Great currently leads the Premier League, Zenit has the same amount of points as Leonid Kuchuk’s Lokomotiv Moscow.
Zenit St. Petersburg has been experiencing several ups and downs so far this season. The experienced Italian manager, Luciano Spalletti, does not seem to be able to pass his ideas down to his players, thus, their performances have been fairly inconsistent.
On the other hand, Lokomotiv Moscow is probably enjoying their best season of the past seven years with their new head coach, Leonid Kuchuk, who restored their winning mentality and definitely improved their style of play.
Right behind the League leaders we have the team with the most titles in Russian football: Spartak Moscow. The capital city’s team is also enjoying a good moment and despite the recent defeat against CSKA Moscow, Spartak bounced back and keeps snapping at the front duo’s heels. Spartak Moscow has failed to win a single domestic competition since the departure of their former charismatic manager, Oleg Romantsev, but this season, Valery Karpin seems committed to counter the course of history.
The other pleasant surprise so far this term has been Dynamo Moscow. With the arrival of Dan Petrescu to the helm of the team earlier on, Dynamo looks very different. The team is playing with renewed confidence and they are only five points behind the league leaders.
The two most disappointing surprises so far at the Russian Premier League have been the current champions, CSKA Moscow, which seems frozen at the fifth place of the table, and FK Anzhi, which is at the bottom of the table after the financial turmoil that affected the team and forced them to sell their best assets.
The long Winter break usually affects the teams’ performances and the arrival of a new year often brings several changes to all teams. One will have to wait until March to see who will benefit the most from this break and who, on the other hand, will suffer the most damages from such a large period without competing.