CSKA, Zenit St Petersburg and Spartak Moscow bid to maintain perfect record
Moscow: Table-topping trio CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg and Spartak Moscow will all be bidding to extend their winning ways when the Russian Premiership`s third round of matches are played in mid-week.
Reigning champions CSKA, who beat Rostov 3-1 in a match for the Russian Super Cup and have recorded two wins in as many Premiership matches, will try to maintain their perfect record in a clash with the visitors Terek Grozny.
The Red Army side, who boosted their line-up by signing Israeli international midfielder Bibras Natkho last week, will still have to play Wednesday without a set of their first-line footballers who have been sidelined with injuries.
Russian internationals Alan Dzagoev and Georgy Shchennikov, Latvian midfielder Aleksandrs Cauna and Swedish defensive midfielder Rasmus Elm, who has been struggling with stomach problems in Stockholm, will all miss the Terek match.
Last season`s runners-up Zenit, who have won three of their last matches with an impressive 15-1 goal difference (4-0 win over Arsenal Tula and a 8-1 rout of Torpedo Moscow in the Premiership, and a 3-0 win over Cyprus outfit AEL in a Champions league qualifier), will also try to preserve their 100-percent record at Ural Yekaterinburg.
"This August is a really intense month for us as we have to play twice a week," Zenit manager Andre Villas-Boas said.
"That means a lot of travelling, flights and difficult conditions.
"No matter whom we play, we have to win. And I`m really happy how things are going so far."
Russia`s most successful club Spartak Moscow, who boosted their morale with a hard-fought 2-1 win over city rivals Dynamo on the weekend, will also try to extend their winning streak against FC Krasnodar, who are unbeaten this season, on Thursday.
Swiss manager Murat Yakin, who took over Spartak in the summer break, also had some injury problems to consider, saying they could potentially have been caused by different pre-match preparations.
"We have changed our system of preparations," Yakin said.
"I also demand my players to play quicker and more intensive football. All of that could become the source of the muscle problems for our Italian back Salvatore Bocchetti and Brazilian Romulo. But I believe their conditions will soon return to normal."
On Thursday Spartak will try to gain a revenge for a 4-0 defeat in the last head-to-head meeting with FC Krasnodar, who finished fifth last season, one place above Spartak.
Torpedo Moscow v Amkar Perm
Ufa v Dynamo Moscow, Ural Yekaterinburg v Zenit St Petersburg, Arsenal Tula v Rubin Kazan, CSKA Moscow v Terek Grozny
Lokomotiv Moscow v Rostov, FC Krasnodar v Spartak Moscow
Mordovia Saransk v Kuban Krasnodar