Slavoljub Muslin’s men boasted one of the best home records in the league last season, but Al Hain-Cole expects the visitors' attacking options to give them the cutting edgeZenit St Petersburg get their Russian Premier League campaign underway on Wednesday, when they travel to FC Krasnodar’s Kuban Stadium.
Last season’s runners-up were humiliated 3-0 in Friday’s Super Cup clash against CSKA Moscow, but are 37/40 (1.93) favourites with BetVictor to get off to a winning start in the league.
The hosts have never beaten this opposition in their short five-year existence, and are available at 11/4 (3.75) to end that hoodoo today.
The Bulls drew just one home game all season last year, but you can get odds of 12/5 (3.40) on them starting off this campaign with a point in front of their own fans.
Luciano Spalletti’s men boasted the best away record in the division last season, and were one of only four sides to leave the Kuban Stadium with all three points after a hard fought 2-0 victory.
They will have a difficult job on their hands if they hope to replicate that feat this campaign though, particularly without absent trio Vyacheslav Malafeev, Roman Shirokov and Brazilian Confederations Cup winner Hulk.
Instead, a tight encounter seems likely, with Slavoljub Muslin’s side hoping to rediscover the stingy form that saw them concede fewer goals than all but three other teams in their own back yard.
A bet on under 2.5 goals would have paid out in both six of the hosts’ last eight and eight of the visitors’ last 12 league fixtures, as well as three of their last four encounters, so should be safe at 4/5 (1.80) when they go face to face this evening.
Even without Hulk, the likes of Danny, Aleksandr Kerzhakov and the returned Andrei Arshavin should give Zenit the edge the longer the game remains scoreless, and it would no surprise if they eventually managed to make their extra quality tell.
Spalletti’s men waited until the second half to secure all three points in each of the last two encounters between these sides, and odds of 17/4 (5.25) offer excellent value on them doing so once again.
|Under 2.5 goals at 4/5 (1.80) with BetVictor
||Draw/Zenit at HT/FT at 17/4 (5.25) with BetVictor
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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.