On October 17, within the 11th round, Tinkoff RPL Zenit will fight Sochi at home. The composition of the southerners now consists of almost a third of the ex-Zenit, and in the summer they were joined by another one on loan – Emanuel Mammana. At the same time, Smolnikov, Kokorin, Shatov left the club … How is the Petersburg team doing?
The Argentine footballer moved to St. Petersburg from Lyon in 2017 for a solid 16 million euros, but since then there has been no place for the promising defender. As part of “Zenith“Mammana was listed for three seasons, but in the Premier League he played only 25 matches, spending most of the time either in the infirmary, healing sick” crosses “, or on the bench.
This summer, the defender was still sent on the standard route Petersburg-Sochi in the hope that in the south he will finally be able to recover. Now Emanuel, fortunately, is in full health and consistently plays at the base of Sochi, showing a very decent level. At the moment, the Argentinean is one of the best defenders of the RPL in terms of the number of blocked shots and clearances: only Ural and Lokomotiv play better than Sochi at rebound. In the last match against Rostov, Mamman also scored an assist – the first since November 2017!
The veteran of “Zenith” in the new place of business has not yet worked out. The 32-year-old defender, who moved to Krasnodar in the status of a free agent, only got into the team’s starting lineup three times in the first ten rounds. Smolnikov’s experience, of course, periodically benefits the “bulls”: as a substitute, Igor helps the team maintain the pace or keep under the onslaught of the opponent, as was the case in the match with PAOK, but nothing outstanding is yet to please the fans. Recently, however, I received an invitation to Russian national team, for which he did not play after the unfortunate removal in the match with Uruguay at the World Cup. Smolnikov got into the application for the League of Nations only because of the injury of his teammate Sergei Petrov and in the match with Hungary (0: 0) was not very useful, often losing the ball and making mistakes in passes.
For Shatov, moving to Kazan was supposed to be a kind of career restart. Seven years ago, the Russian midfielder moved to Zenit from Anji in the status of one of the most promising players in the Premier League, at the age of 25 he reached peak form and expected a promotion in the form of a move to Europe, but it never happened. Oleg’s performance began to decline, and in the summer the footballer was not needed at all in St. Petersburg. In “Rubin” Shatov also moved to show that there is still enough gunpowder in his flasks, but Slutsky’s team had much brighter heroes. Oleg immediately found himself in the shadow of the percussion trio Despotovich – Makarov – Kvaratskhelia, and with the arrival of the Korean “ten” In-Bom Hwan, he completely lost his place in the base. At the starting segment, Shatov distinguished himself with only one effective action, having implemented a penalty in the match against Rotor, and is in no hurry to return to the top.
The most discussed Russian transfer of this summer, so far, to put it mildly, does not justify its status. The Muscovites were looking forward to Kokorin’s debut for Spartak, but when they finally saw their newcomer in business, they just gave up in disappointment. The scandalous striker, who moved to the capital’s club contrary to his previous vows, has not shown anything outstanding on the field in the last rounds and has not yet fit into Domenico Tedesco’s system at all. In the match against Tambov in the 10th round, Alexander realized a couple of interesting episodes, but left the field at the very beginning of the second half, and spent the previous game with Rubin on the bench. The attacking duo of Ponce and Larsson is still effective (10 points on the goal + pass system for two), while Kokorin’s form still raises many questions.
Last season, Ernani’s game impressed Parma so much that in September the Italian club decided to buy the player from Zenit, paying 4.5 million euros for him. The Brazilian defensive midfielder did not exactly shine in Serie A, but he did his job quite well. In terms of the number of interceptions made during the season, Ernani was one of the top three among all the midfielders of the championship: 50 for the Brazilian against 54 for Bannasser from Milan and Missiroli from SPAL. The ex-Zenit player was also strong in the selection: Ernani more often took the ball away from his opponents than any of his colleagues from Juventus or Lazio! In the struggle for the position, the footballer also held on to the top level, equaling the number of martial arts won with the formidable Marcelo Brozovic from Inter. In the new season, Hernani relaxed somewhat, having failed the first match of the season with Napoli, but in the next game he scored a goal (1: 4 with Bologna) and still retains his place at the base.
After leaving Zenit, the Serbian master, it would seem, had to go on a retirement tour or simply retire: 36 years in football is not a joke. Contrary to expectations, Ivanovich moved from the Russian championship not just anywhere, but to his favorite Premier League, joining West Brom in September. Moving to a provincial English club, which made it into the elite at the end of last season, the age defender probably understood that he could hardly count on a place at the base. After signing a contract with VBA, Branislav was included in the team’s application for only one of the three Premier League matches. In a new jersey, Ivanovic played for the first and so far the last time in the League Cup, from which West Brom was eliminated at the same time, losing to a team from the Championship.