Date: August 26, 2014
Venue: Petrovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia
Time: 17:00 hours BST
Zenit St Petersburg face Standard Liege in a crucial match in Russia tomorrow. The winner goes into the Champions League, the loser goes into the Europa League.
Zenit St Petersburg will have the advantage going into the 2nd leg, as they triumphed 1-0 over Standard in Belgium.
Zenit St. Petersburg: W-W-W-W-W
Zenit have had their best start ever in the Russian League and have won seven games in a row in all competitions. Although, in the Russian League they have yet to meet any top quality opposition, and Standard Liege is a step up over the teams they’ve faced so far.
Standard Liege: W-W-L-L-D
Standard Liege’s recent form is completely the opposite to Zenit’s. They sit 8th in the league, six points off of first place after five games in.
Their most recent win was against Panathinaikos t and they held on for most of the game, and judging by their loss to Zenit Standard will really have to turn around their play if they hope to qualify for the Champions League.
Zenit St Petersburg: Oleg Shatov
Zenit’s goalscorer in the first leg against Standard, the 24 year old forward is tipped for great things with Russia’s national team in the future. He is able to link up well with Zenit’s forwards; he can both a playmaker and a goalscoreer.
Standard Liege: Eiji Kawashima
The Japanese goalkeeper, who a couple of sources have linked with Juventus will have to be performing at the highest level if he’s too stop the likes of the aforementioned Shatov, as well as Hulk, Rondon, Danny, and Arshavin. He had an average World Cup, and a few goals Japanese let in he could’ve saved.
He’ll have to improve on his form if his club team are to have any chance of progressing, because a goal for Zenit will mean Standard will have to score at least 2.
Standard will challenge Zenit more than one would assume if just going by the form book, but Zenit will still have too much. Given the quality that Zenit possess and their recent record, they should win but narrowly. The odds of 5.5 with bet365 for the 1-0 home win are decent. If however you want to play it safe, Zenit start at 1.3 to win this game.