CSKA Moscow Tries to Derail Rubin Kazan Title Run

Alan Dzagoev's three goals in UEFA Champions League have echoed his Russian Premier League performances for CSKA Moscow.

The Russian Premier League is in its final three rounds, which (thanks to the international break) will extend through November. Coming into this weekend, Rubin Kazan held a one point lead over nine-time-champions Spartak Moscow, but Spartak stumbled beneath two own goals against previously 10th place Krylya Sovetov, opening the door for Rubin to take a strangle-hold of the title race. With Spartak closing the season against CSKA Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg, a four point lead for Rubin would be near-insurmountable.

That four point lead depends on their ability to get a result tomorrow at Luzhniki against CSKA. Having not gotten a point from this match-up in three years may mitigate Rubin’s form advantages, but there are other, tactical advantages that should launch Rubin to within breathing distance of their second consecutive title.

Over at Russian Football Now, I describe those advantages in a preview of tomorrow’s match. While you may not want to get up at 6 a.m. Eastern to watch the contest, the preview will still help to familiarize yourself with two clubs threatening to stay in UEFA Champions League into 2010.

Here’s a taste:

Chilean left winger Mark Gonzalez will be dearly missed. If you were to pick a place to attack Rubin’s back line, it might be Lasha Salukvadze, the solid-if-unspectacular Georgian right back. You could argue that it would be better to go at Cristian Ansalde, something CSKA will undoubtedly let Milos Krasic do, but between Ansaldi and Aleksandr Ryazantsev (if he’s deployed on the left), a team plays with fire if they try to tip the pitch to that side. However, with Mark Gonzalez out, that may be a risk Slutsky should take, with the Tomas Necid-Krasic-Alan Dzagoev triangle (that proved so potent on Tuesday) being his best chance to break through a newly impenetrable Rubin line.

You can read the whole preview at Russian Football Now.