The Sine-Belo-Golubye may have finished as runners-up to these opponents last season, but their fine head-to-head record means Al Hain-Cole will be backing them on Saturday
Leonid Slutsky’s side added a cup victory to their first league title in seven years last season, and are available at 8/5 (2.60) with William Hill to start the new campaign with more silverware by coming out on top in Rostov-on-Don.
Last year’s runners-up are taking part in this fixture for the third consecutive season, and are also on offer at 8/5 (2.60) to emerge victorious within 90 minutes.
The sides shared a 1-1 draw behind closed doors in St. Petersburg last November, and you can get odds of 21/10 (3.10) on them cancelling each other out once again this time out.
Anyone hoping for a high-scoring thriller to kick the campaign off may be disappointed, as this game brings together last year’s two best defensive teams, who conceded just 50 goals in 60 league games between them.
The two coaches are more likely to favour a tentative tactical match in order to ease their sides into the new season, and the fixture will probably follow the template of the last four editions, all of which featured under 2.5 goals.
A bet on no more than two goals going in would have paid out in two of the last three meetings between these opponents, and looks safe at 7/10 (1.70) considering their lack of match fitness and hot weather conditions.
Despite their dominance last season, the Krasno-Sinie were unable to break the unconvincing streak against Luciano Spalletti’s men which has now seen them go five games without tasting victory.
The champions’ poor pre-season form does not suggest they will go into this match confident of ending that hoodoo, particularly as they will be without key attackers Zoran Tosic and Seydou Doumbia.
All things considered, odds of 19/5 (4.80) look too good to miss on Zenit coming out on top in a tight match featuring no more than two goals.
|Under 2.5 goals at 7/10 (1.70) with William Hill
||Zenit to win and under 2.5 goals at 19/5 (4.80) with William Hill
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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.
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