Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Russia: Nine games for clubs to decide their fate

Posted in European Football by peterbein on August 22, 2011
CSKA Moscow

CSKA Moscow currently top the Russian League

The 2011-12 Russian Premier League may still have a long way to go but the next nine rounds of matches will prove intriguing. After 30 rounds the league is split into a championship group and a relegation group with eight teams in each. It is, therefore, vitally important for every club that they put some form together at this crucial time.

There is a seven point gap at the cut-off point with eighth place Lokomotiv Moscow able to breathe easily for the time being as they have a healthy margin keeping them in the top half of the table at the expanse of ninth place FK Krasnodar. The top two teams of CSKA Moscow (21 played, 45 points) and defending champions Zenit Saint Petersburg, who trail the league leaders by just two points, are certain of progression already. It would be a surprise if any of the next six clubs – Dinamo Moscow, Anzhi Machachkala, Rubin Kazan, Spartak Moscow, Kuban Krasnodar and Lokomotiv – were to drop into the relegation group given the margins and the recent form guide suggests that the top teams haven’t got much to worry about at this stage.

The eight teams at the bottom of the table face the daunting prospect of playing either a number of meaningless matches or a relegation battle depending on where they finish at the Matchday 30 cut off point. At the moment the clubs who have the most to worry about lie from 12th place Tom Tomsk to bottom 16th place club Krylia Sovetov Samara (21 played, 16 points) who are separated by just three points with any of the clubs – including Spartak Nalchik, FK Rostov and FK Volga Nizhny Novgorod – vulnerable to being sucked into the relegation zone at any time. The three teams who occupy 9th to 11th – namely FK Krasnodar, Terek Grozny and Amkar Perm – seem to be stuck in no-man’s land at the moment with none of the three so close to the top eight but none so close to the bottom two either.

The first weekend of November is when each club’s fate for the remainder of the 2011-12 season will be known. Hopefully there will be much to enthral us before the championship starts for real next Spring.

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