In a week we will have the main Russian derby – CSKA vs. Spartak. And this will be the first match in many years, the victory in which for the fans of both clubs can become the main positive event for a fairly long period of the season. It will be possible to remember and savor which it will be possible for several weeks, if not longer. And that’s pretty sad. For the simple reason that it says the following: both CSKA and Spartak are so out of order that there is nothing more to be happy about.
After seven rounds, both clubs have 10 points each and places closer to the middle of the standings. Yes, CSKA had a more difficult calendar at the start. The Red-Blues managed to play against Lokomotiv, Dynamo and Zenit, while Spartak had only Rubin among more or less status rivals.
However, the match between the red and blue in Tula does not give much reason for optimism. Arsenal at the start of the season is frankly bad, and it’s not for nothing that there has already been a change of coach. Yes, CSKA was noticeably better in the end and had all the chances to achieve victory – there were enough chances, but about 75 minutes on the field there was an absolutely equal game. Equal and not to say that very inspiring, even in spite of four goals.
But there is little demand from Arsenal. The return to the RPL of Miodrag Bozovic turned out, if not triumphant, then quite worthy. I hope no one in Tula will find this comparison offensive – there is definitely no such goal, but the Montenegrin person personally reminds me of the character in the films of Emir Kusturica from the early 2000s. Not partly tragic “Underground”, but a funny farce like “Black cat, white cat”, “Life is like a miracle” or “Testament”. Such a cheerful, broken-down Balkan, wandering around Russia with his headquarters, loving jokes about sex and charming local football leaders. Amkar, Moscow, Dynamo, again Amkar, Rostov, Lokomotiv, Arsenal, Krylia Sovetov and now Arsenal again …
With all this, Bozovic most often gives good results in provincial teams. With “Amkar” was an entry into the UEFA Cup, in “Rostov” – a victory in the Cup of Russia. And the first visit to Tula by the Montenegrin, by the way, turned out to be quite good. In the 2017/18 season, the Tula took 7th place – the best result in history at that time. Before the 6th line and a ticket to the Europa League, which went to Ufa, Arsenal lacked only one point. And now it seems that Bozovic will pull Tula into the middle of the table – there are clubs in the RPL that are much more dreary in terms of prospects.
Returning to CSKA, it is indicative that the best among the guests was Ejuke – a man who last season looked much more like a freestyler than a professional footballer. The Nigerian, of course, noticeably improved this year, there was much more reason and specifics in his actions, and in Tula he sharpened it a lot (even if he made a monstrous cross pass that once turned into a loss, for which they cruelly flogged with rods even in the Youth Sports School). But, nevertheless, this fact speaks volumes. As well as the fact that 35-year-old Nababkin played on the right flank sharper and more useful than Kuchaev.
It is clear that CSKA did not have Mario Fernandez and Vlasic in its roster – two people who, along with Akinfeev, had been dragging the team for the last couple of years and making the difference. But more has been expected from the same Oblyakov or Akhmetov.
Yes, no catastrophe has happened yet. There are still 23 rounds ahead, and CSKA, unlike its competitors, has no European cups – and this can be a plus. But the derby with Spartak, it seems, could become the turning point of the season for the army team. This, however, also applies to red and white. So September 20 will be very nervous and very hot.