Who are Zenit’s title winners?

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The 2020/21 Russian Premier Liga champions are Zenit St. Petersburg - but how exactly did they retain their crown? We have rounded up some of the most important and intriguing statistics from their championship-winning campaign.

2.54 - So many statistics stand out as being central to Zenit’s success, most of them surrounding goalscoring feats. After matchday 28 they had amassed a remarkable 71 goals, and surpassed all other highest goals scored totals from RPL seasons in the last two decades. They averaged 2.54 goals scored per game, a ratio unrivalled even by their own lofty standards this millennium.

Three - a simple number, but a groundbreaking one; in winning their third RPL title in a row, Zenit become the second side ever in Post-Soviet football in Russia to win three championships on the bounce after Spartak Moscow won six straight league titles, and the first in the Premier Liga era (since 2002). 

Four - Experience plays a part in any major success to a degree; in Yury Zhirkov, Zenit have one of the oldest players to feature in the 2020/21 RPL season at 37 years old. However, the youth system in St. Petersburg is producing plenty of talent that has played a role already. Four teenagers have been used this season by Sergey Semak - Danila Prokhin, Daniil Shamkin, Danila Khotulev and Kirill Kravtsov. Prokhin and Shamkin had already made their RPL debuts before this campaign.

Four - Despite all the experience and youth blending to such explosive results, the campaign has not simply been a complete stroll. One characteristic of this season for Zenit has been the ability to respond positively to setbacks, however small they may have been; unlike Lokomotiv Moscow, who before matchday 28 had won eight RPL matches in a row, Zenit never managed to win more than four RPL games in a row.

Five - While the usual suspects starred in the title win, the supporting cast played their role in the title win spectacularly. When an extra spark was needed, Zenit could rely on the substitutes as much as the starting XI to add to their impressive scoring; two of the joint-highest ranked players in goals and assists off the bench before matchday 28 came from Sergey Semak’s squad, as Aleksandr Erokhin and Andrey Mostovoy both contributed five goal involvements (both three goals and two assists). Only Denis Makarov scored more substitute goals, with four.

Six - The goal machines have been in typically devastating form this season, scoring at least three goals in 12 of their first 28 matches. Even more impressively though, they have won 6-0 on two occasions - at home to Ufa in September, and more recently at home to Rotor Volgograd. Most impressively, they also hit six goals in the crucial 6-1 thrashing of nearest rivals Lokomotiv. Those two 6-0 wins are the biggest wins in the RPL this season.

Seven - By wrapping up their third league title in a row, Zenit also broke the record with most championship wins in the RPL era with seven. Previously, they had been tied with CSKA Moscow on six. It also puts them just behind Spartak Moscow in Russian championships on 10.

Nine - Zenit have once again finished top scorers in the league, having scored 15 more than the next highest scorers Spartak ahead of matchday 27. In fact, they have topped the pile in this category in nine of the last 11 seasons, despite ‘only’ winning the league in six of those seasons.

13 - Even with the two highest scorers in the RPL in the squad, it took a considerable effort to rack up a record-breaking goals per game average. Over the whole season to date, 13 different players got on the scoresheet, with 11 players scoring at least twice. 

17 - Perhaps even more telling than the spread of scorers was the range of players to register at least one assist. Seventeen different players applied the telling touch to set up a teammate to score this campaign.

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