RPL 2018/19 – Team of the Autumn

Team of the Autumn | Russian Football News

With the first part of the RPL season over, and 17 rounds of football played we take a stab at picking out our cream of the crop from the season so far. With Zenit leading the table, the Moscow clubs are starting their charge on the top, though Krasnodar lead’s the challengers, sat in second place just one point behind the leaders.

At the bottom, Yenisey look set to be relegated straight back to the FNL after one season, while Anzhi, Ufa and Krylia are all struggling in the relegation battle. Certainly if you were a betting man, it would seem foolish to bet against Yenisey being relegated, and using Novibet football odds you could make easy money on it. Anyway, on to the team.

Goalkeeper – Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow)

The CSKA and Russia legend has been having yet another terrific season. After hanging up his international boots after his brilliant World Cup, his focus on club football has lead to CSKA having the best defence in the league.

Left Back – Dmitriy Skopintsev (Rostov)

The Rostov wing back is in his first full RPL season, and got off to a flying start with two assists in the opening four games of the season. Many called for the 21-year-old to receive his first Russia call up, though it is yet to come.

Centre Back – Rodrigo Becao (CSKA Moscow)

The Brazilian signed on loan for CSKA was a completely unknown quantity to many before this season, even in his homeland. However, the 22-year-old has been faultless at the hear of the CSKA defence, and they are already desperate to make his loan permanent.

Rodrigo Becao (left) with Fedor Chalov | Эдгар Брещанов

Centre Back – Aleksandr Martynovich (Krasnodar)

The veteran Belarussian has yet again been a rock in defence for Krasnodar. Having lost Andreas Granqvist in the summer, Krasnodar were busy in the summer window, bringing in two new centre backs, but they have all paled in comparison to Martynovich.

Right Back – Mario Fernandes (CSKA Moscow)

Another defender, another from CSKA. The Brazilian turned Russian has been as solid as ever this season, and rumours linking him with a big move to Europe are again unsurprising. Four assists in 16 appearances so far don’t begin to describe the role he has for his team.

Centre Midfield – Yuriy Gazinskiy (Krasnodar)

When Krasnodar don’t have Gazinskiy on the field, they are a much poorer team. Afforded a bit more room to roam this season, the 29-year-old has racked up 6 assists for his team, getting forward well to support their dangerous attacking line.

Centre Midfield – Leandro Paredes (Zenit St Petersburg)

Much like Gazinskiy for Krasnodar, Paredes’ role for Zenit can not be understated. He is purely vital for Zenit should they want to challenge for the league title, and is certainly one of the best players of the league.

Photo: Getty Images.

Left Midfield – Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar)

The Swedish attacker continues to be one of the most consistent players in the league, and in a role much like Thomas Muller’s for Bayern Munich, has thrived again this season with six goals and five assists in the league. With another good season under his belt, it would be a surprise to see him stay in Russia much longer.

Attacking Midfield – Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow)

After losing Aleksandr Golovin this summer, CSKA needed a creative spark, and the Everton loanee has been just that. Week after week the Croatian has turned in almost faultless performances, capped by seven goals and four assists in all competitions.

Right Midfield – Zemlikhan Bakaev (Arsenal Tula)

The Spartak Moscow loanee has been one of a number of players to shine at Arsenal Tula this season. With a direct style which perfectly suits Arsenal’s counter attacking football, Bakaev has scored five goals this season, making him tied third for RPL top scorer.

Bakaev celebrates scoring in a 4-2 win over Zenit. Photo: https://arsenaltula.ru/

Striker – Fedor Chalov (CSKA Moscow)

An obvious choice for the striker role is the league’s top scorer. Still aged just 20, Chalov leads the way with nine goals for CSKA this season, as well as contributing four assists. Having struggled in the opening half of the season in previous years, Chalov’s form has earned him his first Russia call-up, as well as lots of European suitors.


Among the backup picks for our Team of the Autumn are the following:

  • Ivan Konovalov (Goalkeeper – Rubin Kazan)
  • Mikhail Merkulov (Left Back – Ural Yekaterinburg)
  • Sergey Petrov (Right Back – Krasnodar)
  • Sverrir Ingason (Centre Back – Rostov)
  • Mohamed Kadiri (Central Midfield – Arsenal Tula)
  • Wanderson (Left Midfield – Krasnodar)
  • Artem Dzyuba (Striker – Zenit St Petersburg

The back up choices were tough picks, and we have omitted some names with some regret, though they may do enough in the spring to make our final list. Check back again with us in the summer to find out.


Author: David Sansun

Arsenal and Rubin Kazan fan. Possibly too optimistic for Russian football which means I’m left disappointed a lot.

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