Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tarasov a Railwayman - Official

After a saga which took days between Lokomotiv and FC Moscow, Tarasov was finally presented to the media and fans. FC Moscow, who demanded compensation of $1.5 million from Lokomotiv, withdrew their stance and thus the transfer was given the green light. As Ignatyev, the player joined Lokomotiv on a free transfer.

The 22 year old signed a contract of 3 years and will play with the number 7, recently freed by Torbinsky. Tarasov, who have 2 Russian-U21 caps under his belt, started his career with out rivals Spartak Moscow. Unable to break up in the Spartak line-up, in 2006 Tarasov left Moscow in favour in Tom Tomsk. After two years in Siberia, Tarasov retuned to FC Moscow on a free transfer. After making 25 appearances and scoring 2 goals with the Citizens, Tarasov decided against renewing his contract with FC Moscow and thus left FC Moscow for Lokomotiv.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lokomotiv snap Ignatyev - Official!

After days and days of speculation, Lokomotiv beat off the competition of champions Rubin Kazan to the signing of wide midfielder Vladislav Ignatyev. The move was made official just an hour ago. The 22 year old signed a contract of 5 years. The cost of the transfer is zero as Ignatyev joined Lokomotiv on a free transfer as his contract with Krylya Sovetov Samara expired. The midfielder will wear the number 18, previously wore by Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita. Although being a left winger, the player is capable to play on either flank.

Last season, Vladislav played 25 for the Samara club and scored a single goal in the process. Prior to his experience at Samara, the Nabererzhnye Chelny born played for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (2004-2005) and KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny (2006-2008) respectively, racking up 78 appearances for the latter and 39 for the former.

When interviewed, the player showed his pleasure of joining a big club such as Lokomotiv. He added that he choose the number 18 following a discussion with his friends. He concluded that 18 means first (1) and infinity (8).

On the other hand, Lokomotiv president showed his pleasure at the capture of the highly-rated midfielder. He recalled that this year wasn't the first time that Lokomotiv tried to lure Vladislav to Moscow. Actually last season Lokomotiv tried to snap up the midfielder but with no success as Ignatyev joined Krylya. Naumov cited that however this was a good move for the player himself as today Igntayev is a more experienced lad. Naumov concluded by identifying speed and strong shoot as Igantyev's main attributes.

Personally, I believe that this is another great move by the new Lokomotiv driven jointly by Naumov and Semin. Apart of coming at a zero cost - the player is highly rated and given that he is only 22 years of age, the player can become an indespensable part of Lokomotiv - just as Yanbaev did!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sychev voted the fan's player of the season

Russian international striker Dmitry Sychev was recognized by Lokomotiv fans as the best player for Lokomotiv in 2009. 3192 Loko fans took part in the voting which took place in the Area Fans. Sychev, Lokomotiv's assistant captain, won the majority of the votes as he won 56% of the votes. Second and third came Brazilian duo Rodolfo & Guilerme with 15% and 13% respectively.

This year, Sychev's season was quite mixed. After a difficult start, to which I blame solely Rashid Rakhimov, Sychev form improved considerably and coming the end of the season he topped Lokomotiv scoring charts with 12 goals. Recall that the 12th goal also enabled him to enter the CLUB100. Apart of being Loko's top scorer, personally Sychev's work rate is one of Loko's best.

As you may have already read in my season review, I also gave the award to Sychev. His commitment for Loko is second to no one, and although on certain occasions hard times took over him, he never looked back and with his strong will and determination, Sychev came out much more stronger for the second half of the season! You are the best!! Congratulations and all the best for the future Dima!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lokomotiv Moscow Season 2009 Review

While Rubin are celebrating their league, Spartak wondering what could have been otherwise if Dzhanaev haven't committed the two suicidal mistakes and Zenit celebrating their Champions League qualification with their saviour Vitaly Mutko, our TRUE saviour Yury Semin is already planning the team for the upcoming season - a season with high expectations to say the least - Title challengers? Possibly! Anyways the 2009 season is over, and although there is a lot of grief towards Zenit, nothing can be undone and thus undeservedly we will be heading to the Europa League. Fourth Place. Personally (bearing in mind how things took course over this year) I think it was a good result for Lokomotiv - at least it's a step in the right direction. Anyways let's sum up the season.

Coming from a rather disappointing season (7th place) - no European competitions - former Lokomotiv coach Rashid Rakhimov knew that this year fans will be expecting more, much more. In order to boost his squad, Rakhimov brought in Stanislav Ivanov, Oleg Kuzmin (both from FC Moscow), Jan Durica (Saturn), Tomislav Dujmovic (Amkar) and Baye Djiby Fall (OB, Denmark). On the other hand hosts of players left the club. Alexey Polyakov and Sergey Gurenko left for Tom Tomsk and Dynamo Minsk respectively, while African duo Dramani and Traore were both shipped out to Kuban on a one year loan. Tunisian Chaker Zouaghi and Bosnian defender Emir Spahic were both released. Soon followed them youngster Hovhannes Goaryan, who although topping the u21-league scoring charts in 2008, Rakhimov decided against giving him a well deserved chance. Thanks for spoiling what could have been a hot prospect Rashid!

Lokomotiv's start of the campaign was disastrous - one of the worst in Lokomotiv's post-soviet history. Drawing with Khimki at home, with all due respect to Khimki, is not the best result to kick-off a new campaign. Unsurprisingly, this showed things to come. Lokomotiv's morale fell to the ground and in the first 6 matches they were only capable of obtaining a miserable lot of 6 points (from a possible 18), with 6 goals scored and 9 received - and well, no clean sheet. A draw at Rostov followed the one against Khimki and although the win against Krylya eased the pressure off Rakhimov, the 4-1 defeat to arch-nemesis CSKA was too much. Although subsequently Rakhimov rallied his troops to a one-all draw against Zenit, the away loss to strugglers Kuban was the final nail of his coffin. Finally, Rakhimov was relieved off his duty! Then, Lokomotiv occupied the 12 place, yeah just 2 places above the relegation zone!!

However as soon as Rakhimov cleared his office, Lokomotiv saw an overturn in their performances. Maminov was installed as a care-taker coach as Lokomotiv were looking of luring great Yury Semin back to the Railway club. Given Loko's dismal form and Maminov inexperience (he only retired last December), some of the fans feared the worse. However the majority, bearing in mind that Maminov spent his entire life at Lokomotiv, were adamant that he will execute a good job, irregardless of his experience. And actually so it was!! Maminov kicked off his managerial career with a 1-nil home victory over Spartak Nalchik; a creditable draw at FC Moscow soon followed. A crashing 4-0 win over Terek in the next fixture ensured that Lokomotiv will travel to Kazan on a high. Unfortunately, Lokomotiv lost 2-0. Despite this setback, Maminov showed his motivation skills, something which Rakhimov lacked, and lead Lokomotiv to a perfect 2-1 victory over rivals Spartak - one of the matches of the season! Eventually this was Maminov last match as a head coach, as Lokomotiv announced the return of fan favourite, our father Yury Semin! Maminov was appointed assistant coach. During Maminov's tenure Lokomotiv scored 7 goals and let in 3.

Semin start with Lokomotiv was a rather slow one. Starting with a 2-0 loss to Saturn (who have Semin's pupil Loskov in their ranks - actually scored the second goal); Semin's troops continued their indifferent form by drawing the next three games; against Tom, Amkar & Dynamo respectively; all this despite improving considerably their performances on pitch. Finally, on the Semin's fifth match, Lokomtiv brought to an end their winless streak by winning over Rostov. This boosted Lokomotiv's morale by lot and actually Semin drove his team to 5 wins and a draw in the next five matches - setting a streak of 10 matches without losing - a streak which came to an abrupt end with a 2-1 loss to Terek. A 2-1 win over eventual champions Rubin put Lokomotiv back on track and also with an outside chance of even claiming the championship! Everything depended on the next match against Spartak - unfortunately Lokomotiv failed to delivery and slumped to a 3-nil defeat. Title dreams were over but still Lokomotiv had to regroup as in times also a place in Europe was put into jeopardy. Ultimately Lokomotiv obtained 13 points from the last 15 possible and placed fourth (joint third with Zenit actually), booking a place in the Europa League 2010-2011 Play-off round in the process. Needless to say that apart of Mutko's hand, Zenit placed third thanks to their better goal difference.

As I have already said, personally given the circumstances, the fourth place should be considered a success. Moreover Lokomotiv bettered last year position by 3 places and 7 points - 54 points to the 47 of last year. The 54 points totalled from 15 wins and 9 draws. On the other hand Lokomotiv recorded 6 defeats - none of them coming at Lokomotiv. Actually 35 points of the 54 were won at home and thus Lokomotiv were the only Russian Premier Liga home to never loose at home. From 15 home matches, Lokomotiv won 10 and drew the other 5, thus meaning taking 2.33 per home match. On the other hand away form was quite dismal - 19 points in 15 matches, a rating of 1.27 pts per match is quite disappointing. Actually Lokomotiv won only 5 times away from Lokomotiv, drew 4 and lost 6. The total goals scored throughout the season totalled to 43; while the goals let in were 30 - 1.43 goals scored and 1 goal let in per match respectively. 26 goals of the 43 (60%) were scored at home while 10 of the 30 (33%) were conceded at Lokomotiv. Average ratings totalled to 1.73 and 0.33 per match respectively. On the other hand, with regards to away matches, average ratings totalled to 0.57 goals scored and 0.66 goals conceded per match.

With regards to streaks, the longest number of matches without losing occurred between the 13th and the 23rd round - ten matches in all. 22 points were recorded in the process (6 wins and 4 draws). In contrast, Lokomotiv never lost two matches consecutively. Ultimately the longest winless streak was that of four matches, occurring between round 12 and 16. Loko's biggest win of the season was 4-0 and was registered against Chechen side Terek Grozny. On the other hand the heaviest defeat was a margin of three goals, and occurred twice, obviously both away. These were the 4-1 and 3-0 trashing at the hands of Moscow sides CSKA and Spartak respectively. Likewise, the highest scoring game involving Lokomotiv occurred twice. Total 5 goals were scored when Lokomotiv disposed of Kuban and were conversely beaten by CSKA by the identical score of 4-1. With regards to scoring, the largest number of matches for Lokomotiv without finding the net was that of 2 matches - actually Lokomotiv failed to score a goal on 6 occasions. Conversely Lokomotiv didn't concede on 9 occasions, with the longest streak being that of 3 matches.

Average attendance at the Lokomotiv Stadium averaged to 15,219 people; 28,100 (full capacity) and 9730 were the highest and lowest attendance recorded. The latter was recorded during the match against Terek while the former occurred was recorded for the derby against Spartak. On the other hand the highest attendance to play in front of was that of 37,000, ironically also during the derby versus Spartak. Conversely 6,000 was the lowest turnout when Lokomotiv played away from Lokomotiv. This was set at Eduard Streltsov, home of FC Moscow

Finally, we take a look to the player's individual statistics:
Top Goalscorer
1. Dmitry Sychev - 12 goals
2. Peter Odemwingie - 7 goals
3. Rodolfo, Denis Glushakov, Tomislav Dujmovic, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov & Wagner - 3 goals

Most Assists
1. Dmitry Torbinsky & Peter Odemwingie - 5 assists
2. Renat Yanbaev, Denis Glushakov & Alan Gatagov - 3 assists
3. Rodolfo, Wagner, Dmitry Sychev - 2 assists

Player with Most Appearances
1. Renat Yanbaev - 30 appearances (all matches)
2. Denis Glushakov & Dmitry Sychev - 27 appearances
3. Tomislav Dujmovic - 26 appearances

Most Minutes on Pitch
1. Renat Yanbaev - 2521 mins
2. Dmitry Sychev - 2388 mins
3. Tomislav Dujmovic - 2262 mins

Most Undisciplined Player
1. Peter Odemwingie - 6 yellow cards & 1 red card
2. Oleg Kuzmin & Dmitry Sychev - 5 yellow cards & 1 red card, Marko Basha - 2 yellow cards & 2 red cards, Tomislav Dujmovic & Dmitry Torbinsky - 8 yellow cards
3. Jan Durica - 4 yellow cards & 1 red card (yellow cards 1pt; red card 3 pts)

Head Coach Data

- 79 yellow cards were shown to Lokomotiv players. On the other hand, the ref gave 9 times the marching orders to Lokomotiv players, 6 of them being for two yellow cards

- With regards to the summer transfer window, 3 players came in for the four left. Malkhaz Asatiani (returned from his loan at Dynamo Kiev), Sani Kaita (on loan from Monaco) and Brazilian Wagner (from Cruzeiro) joined Lokomotiv. On the other hand Stanislav Ivanov (on loan to Krylya), Nika Piliev (end of contract - joined CSKA) and Fininho (end of contract - Sport Clube de Recife) left Lokomotiv. However, the most notable departure was that of Captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Bilyaletdinov, who made 150 appearances and scored 31 times for Lokomotiv left for Everton for £9 million. Thanks for your service Diniyar!!

- The departure of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov meant that another player had to be appointed captain. The role was given to Brazilian centre back Rodolfo while striker Dmitry Sychev was appointed as assistant captain.

- This season was Dmitry Sennikov's tenth season at Lokomotiv; Congratulations!!

Finally, with regards to the Russian Cup, Lokomotiv's adventure lasted only one match. Pitted against far eastern club SKA-Energiya in the Round of 32, Lokomotiv sent the substitutes and youth players for the match. Unsurprisingly Lokomotiv slumped to a 2-1 defeat. Mudjiri scored for Lokomotiv.





[PS - All data and rating were obtained from both www.fclm.ru and www.lokomotiv.info. All awards (Team of the year, player of the year etc) aren't official - they are just in my opinion.]

Official - Tarasov joins Lokomotiv

Finally!! The news most of Lokomotiv fans were awaiting arrived! Today Lokomotiv officially announced the signing of FC Moscow midfielder Dmitry Tarasov! As you already know the transfer free is zero as Tarasov will join Lokomotiv on a free transfer. Tarasov is expected to meet his new mates on the 15 th of December, the same day his contract with FC Moscow will expire. Tarasov signed for three years.

When interviewed, Tarasov showed his pleasure of his transfer to Lokomotiv. He added that he wants trophies and he believes that Lokomotiv is the perfect club for him to achieve such feats. He also hinted that the fact that next year Lokomotiv will play in the Europa League may have also affected his decision to sign for Lokomotiv. According to him another two factors which influenced his decision were head coach Yury Semin and the fact that he will stay in Moscow.

Finally he concluded by thanking the president of FC Moscow Igor Dmitriev, head coach Miodrag Bozovic and the fans of the Citizens.

Levenets & Kaita officially leave Lokomotiv

Today Lokomotiv came into a mutual agreement with keeper Ivan Levenets to terminate his contract with Lokomotiv. Although the news came out on Friday it was only today that the departure was made official. In the mean time, another official departure is that of Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita (pictured). Lokomotiv decided against to take the buy-out option stipulated in his contract and thus the player will return to Monaco. Recall that Kaita joined Lokomotiv last August on loan. Kaita just made 3 appearances for Lokomotiv, the last one coming during the 2-1 loss to Terek. From this blog I wish to thank the two for their service. Good luck for the future.

On the other hand Lokomotiv welcome back both Draman Traore and Haminu Dramani from their seasonal loan at Kuban. Although the latter is rumoured of leaving the capital, nothing was heard with regards to the Malian striker. Personally I wouldn't too disappointed at all if he rests at Lokomotiv. Actually I believe he did fairly well at Kuban; 8 goals in 27 appearances is not a bad ratio at all. On the other hand Haminu Draman, who managed the same number of appearances as Traore scored three times. Another two who returned to Lokomotiv after that their respective loan contract came to an end were Moldovan international Stanislav Ivanov and youngster Andrey Kuznetsov who played the last 6 months for Krylya Sovetov Samara and Lokomotiv-2 Moscow respectively. The Moldovan made 10 appearances for the Soviet Wings.