Both teams had contrasting fortunes the last season. While Moscow qualified directly for the Champions League, courtesy their second-place finish, their counterparts had a run in with UEFA due to breaches in Financial Fair Play rules, which resulted in them getting banned for continental games.
Anyhow, they had finished 11th in the table of 16 and would have had no shot to make it to Europe.
Moscow and Krasnodar had ended up with the same number of points, but owing to the favorable h2h results, the former took the direct-qualification spot.
These teams are at different ends of the form-spectrum, and if the performance of last season is any indication, we’ll see the home team having yet another of their routine wins.
They had finished in the top-tier of league standings, while their opposite number barely avoided relegation. Moreover, Lokomotiv was unbeaten in 25 of their last 26 games and won five of their last six as well. At home, they are on a streak of 18 invincible ties and had separate four-game, and six-game winning runs.
On the other hand, Rubin was winless in 17 of their last 20 match-ups, and in 19 of their last 20 away from home. Finally, Moscow won the last three h2h ties and kept clean sheets in the last five clashes. Also, they won five of the last six battles at this venue, while letting in a single goal from their last ten visits.
By all means, expect a home win this week in the Premier League.
Arsenal Tula started last season at a slow pace but picked up during the 2nd half of the season and finished up strongly at 6th. One of the key reasons is that they have been performing very well at home that their homeground has become a fort to reckon with. They have beaten all the top guns Zenit, CSKA, Lokomotiv and Spartak all at home only losing to Krasnodar. Logically, it should sound right that Tula should win this game but to play safe since it's the 1st game of the new season, 1X would be a safer choice. Reason is because Arsenal Tula usually starts the season rather slow and besides during the 1st game, it is usual that both teams play a more cautious game. Arsenal Tula may win, may draw but I don't think they will lose this.
Krylya Sovetov are going through an extremely negative run of results and have conceded 10 goals in their last three matches. The Samara outfit will need to be at their very best in order to pull off a positive result on Thursday.
FC Nizhny Novgorod have scored seven goals in their last three home matches and put in some solid performances in front of their supporters over the last month. Dmitry Cheryshev’s men are slight favourites to win here.
Anzhi is already relegated from the competition, while Arsenal is on the brink of getting qualified to the European spots. Also, Arsenal is one of the only two teams that are unbeaten in the last five league rounds, whereas, Anzhi is the only one to be winless during the same stretch.
Going on, Anzhi is winless in their last nine fixtures and lost seven of them as well. At home, they are winless in the last six attempts and lost four of them. In addition, Arsenal scored two or more goals in three of their last four matches, while Anzhi returned just two goals from their last six home ties.
Dinamo is testing fate. The team is floating on the relegation line, with just a two-point buffer to fall on, which might vanish with a single match-day. With just three more match-days to go, the team has to take advantage of their remaining home fixtures, starting with this one. Rostov may be closer to the European spots, but they are going through a terrible stretch of bad performances right now. They are winless in their last four games, and the run also included a draw against Anzhi, one of the worst teams in the league right now. The team is safe from the relegation threat, and this makes their bad form not that much of an issue for fans.
Volzhane had a disappointing campaign in this term of Premier League. They are now winless in eight subsequent games across competitions and are just four points above the red zone line coming into this complicated away fixture against Champions League hopefuls.
The return of just one point from last three rounds which saw Rubin play the likes of Krylya Sovetov, Ural and Ufa is highly disappointing. Volzhane won only 1 of 15 away matches this season and we have to see them as clear underdogs against Spartak here.
The visitors scored only two goals in last four away fixtures in the competition. Apart from the home win, we will go with Spartak’s clean sheet at 1.90 as an alternative betting prediction.