Krasnodar: Our toughest challenge?

Will Everton stumble against FC Krasnodar?

Will Everton stumble against FC Krasnodar?

Everton’s first away trip in Europe this season sees the blues heading for Krasnodar, Russia. Not many would’ve heard about FC Krasnodar had they not been drawn into Everton’s group and the Russian side will certainly provide a tough test, maybe our toughest test of the group. So who are Krasnodar and what can we expect from them?

Since the draw was made I’ve seen a number of articles mistaking Krasnodar with their rivals Kuban, who experienced their first taste of European football last season, Krasnodar wasted no time in matching their rivals and The Bulls are a club very much on the rise.

Unlike Kuban, FC Krasnodar have a short history, they were founded in 2008 and their owned by billionaire Sergey Galitsky. They’ve enjoyed a rapid raise to the Russian Premier League, they were promoted in 2010 despite finishing in 5th place, this was due to FC Saturn and FC Moscow (who are now dissolved) rejecting the chance to play in the RPL due to financial problems.
Sergey Galitsky has invested just over $250 million into the club to make them a strong outfit at the top end of the league, however his main aim is to develop the region’s best talent rather than following in Anzhi’s footsteps and spending millions on big names. He’s spent money on a new training and youth facility for the club which are very impressive, they’re also in the process of building a new stadium, they currently share with Kuban Krasnodar and the new stadium will have a capacity of around 34,000 and surprisingly the city wasn’t picked to host any World Cup games, Kuban are also planning on getting a new stadium.
How it will look once its finished.

How it will look once its finished.

This is what the new stadium currently looks like.

This is what the new stadium currently looks like.

The club’s youth facilites:

Last season they secured a 5th place finish and they also reached the Russian Cup final where they lost on penalties to Rostov. This season they are currently in 6th place after nine games, they’ve picked up five wins, a 4-0 win over Spartak Moscow, 2-0 against Rostov, 3-0 against Torpedo Moscow, 2-1 against Amkar Perm’ and on Sunday they defeated Arsenal Tula 3-0. Their two draws were against Ural and Lokomotiv Moscow and their two defeats came against Dinamo Moscow and Ufa.

In Cup action they’ve been very impressive this season, in the Russian Cup they won 5-0 against Sokol Saratov and in the Europa League they breezed past Sillamäe Kalev in the second qualifying round winning 9-0 on aggregate, before defeating Diósgyőr 8-1 on aggregate and they then shocked Real Sociedad after blowing them away at the Kuban Stadium winning 3-1 on aggregate.

Key Players: 
Wanderson – The striker was the clubs top scorer last season, he scored 12 goals in the league and cup, while also getting 3 assists. He’s scored 3 times already this season in the league and 3 times in the Europa League, has plenty of pace to burn and he’s just as useful playing off the striker as he is leading the line.
Joaozinho – Lots of pace, great feet and the creative spark of the team. This season he’s already scored 9 times and he has 3 assists in all competitions. Last season he was voted the fans player of the season and if he keeps up his form this season he’ll grab that honour again. He’ll be a danger from the wings or behind the striker.
Ari – The third Brazilian to watch out for, the former Spartak Moscow man has scored 2 goals in the league, however it’s the Europa League where he’s been firing, so far he has 4 goals.
Krasnodar are a solid outfit, Granqvist and Sigurdsson have performed brilliantly at the back so far this season and with the help of goalkeeper Dikan they have the third best defence in the league, Kuban have also only conceded 6 goals and the only two teams that have better defences are Terek Grozny and Zenit. Yury Gazinskiy is a key part of the midfield and provides a good engine, although he could score and assist more, he’ll provide some threat going forward.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Wanderson and Ari line up together, so far this season they’ve been rotating quite a bit. We’ll most likely see Krasnodar line up as a 4-5-1 like they did against Lille and Real Sociedad, however they can also cause problems playing with a 4-2-3-1. It’s going to be tough and although I think we’ll come away with three points, I’d happily take a point.
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