The overwhelmed reboot of the RPL, a secret meeting with the judges, conflicts inside. What’s going on with Spartak?



Spartak missed the restart of the Russian Championship-2022/23.  Photo: FC Orenburg social networks
Spartak missed the restart of the Russian Championship-2022/23. Photo: FC Orenburg social networks

The Abascal team failed at the start of 2023, there is no more championship race

It is already worth acknowledging – something bad is happening with Spartak 2023. 9 goals conceded in 6 matches played in 2023. A win, 1 draw and a loss in a not very difficult segment of the RPL and makes it the Championship race is over. If it weren’t for Lokomotiv’s move to the Russian Cup, then in general it would be possible to panic. And if before the problems of the Abascal team were masked by court scandals, and it was believed that only blunders prevented Spartak from imposing a distance fight on Zenit, then a clear defeat of Orenburg suggests that the red-whites really have a crisis.

But what beautiful forecasts after the impressive off-season of Abascal. Everyone again believed in the exclusivity of Spartak, extended the contract with the head coach and began to wait for a magnificent championship. Now fans are once again disappointed. And around the team there are more and more dark conversations and rumors.

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What’s wrong with Spartak Abascal

Spartak’s playing problems in Orenburg were fully exposed. Blogger Mikhail Borzykin in his tg channel “Football Factory” publishes statistics on the last match of the Abaskal team. There, Sobolev has 50% in assists, and Zinkovsky has 55% at all… Litvinov, Jikia, Tavares and Denisov have a huge number of defeats in their own half. Spartak’s high line of defense is a delight for the opponent’s quick and heartbreaking counterattacks. And such a competent coach as Marcel Lichka could only see and take advantage of these problems.

Why is there Lichka, “Fakel” and he scored two goals for “Spartak” and “Ural” for two matches – three. The soft start into the season did not work. In 3 games with teams from the second half of the standings, only 4 out of a possible 9 points were scored. This shouldn’t be called a champion program.

Spartak rejoices in victory in the Winline Winter Cup RPL-2023. Photo: FC Spartak Social Media

Does the off-season curse work?

Spartak’s history shows that a successful off-season is a harbinger of the team’s seasonal problems. So it was under Karpin, Tedesco, Vitoria Street, and now it’s repeated under Abascal. During the preparations, the reds and whites won many trophies in the different years – the Copa del Sol, three Match Premier Cups and now the RPL Winter Cup. And then they invariably failed in real combat matches.

Maybe it’s the wrong functional training. And maybe in psychology. Spartak is overconfident after wins in insignificant tournaments. Too many high expectations arise among the fans after the conquests of various Copa del Sol.

Moscow “Spartak” lost to “Orenburg”. Photo: FC Orenburg

Are there any conflicts within Spartak? And Balde?

When things don’t go well with results, bad things usually come out. “Spartak” and here is true to tradition. First, the Keith Balde emoji are discussed. Recently, Abascal was asked why he isn’t releasing Balde on the pitch. “Whoever trains, he plays as much,” replied the Spanish coach. And soon Balde posted images of a talking head, a circus and a clown on social networks. Fans have already linked the two performances and come to a clear conclusion about who Keita is calling the circus clown here.

Everyone put out the fire together. Balde deleted the entry, his agent said the footballer didn’t mean Abascal, but Italian media. The club also confirmed everything, and in any case they didn’t send Balde to the double. But the sediment remained and the questions about the atmosphere in the team did not disappear.

Guillermo AbascalGuillermo Abascal
Abascal recently signed a new contract with Spartak in 2025. Photo: FC Spartak Moscow

And what about the CEO of Spartak?

There are other reports of Spartak’s internal problems. A wave of incriminating documents about the club’s general manager, Yevgeny Melezhikov, has swept the telegram channels. Apparently, the shareholders of the club conducted an audit and found many violations and abuses in the activities of the club boss, which is an additional income for him. In particular, they mentioned the rental of premises and a private security company that worked in the club, which is under the control of Melezhikov.

Around Spartak, this information was perceived differently. Someone saw in the messages a frank order, someone – an attempt to redistribute power in the club. But the fact is that such conversations do not add positivity and stability to the team.

Yevgeny MelezhikovYevgeny Melezhikov
General manager of Spartak Evgeny Melezhikov. Photo: FC Spartak Moscow

Spartak’s encounter with referees angered other RPL clubs

Another attack came from a side that was not particularly expected. Amid court scandals and conspiracy rumours, Spartak management and Guillermo Abascal held a meeting with Russian referee bosses. The conversation was supposed to be secret, but it got out. The club had to urgently find excuses – they say we weren’t discussing the mistakes of the judges in relation to Spartak, but the delays in time and the speeding up of the game. But who believed it?

Other clubs were offended: why does Spartak meet referees in the middle of the season? Why was this privilege granted only to this team? Why is it done in secret? Why haven’t other clubs offered such matches? And in general, the right step, but made in a strange atmosphere of secrecy, caused another corporate scandal.

Spartak could not cope with Orenburg, Sobolev hit the post in this game. Photo: FC Spartak

After the break for the national team, the situation in Spartak could get complicated

It’s still not a perfect storm, but Abascal needs to do some maneuvering to get the team led by him out of the turbulence. But if the coach’s steps are wrong, things can only get worse. And even a break for national team matches is now completely out of place for Abascal.

It would seem that the next match with Akhmat will take place only on April 2, and during this time it is possible to bring the team to their senses. But Karpin called 8 Spartak players to the national team at once. And in this case, the euphoria that the red-whites have again become the base club of the Russian national team is inappropriate. While the competitors will work on their basics, polish their actions and solve game problems, 8 leaders of Spartak (Selikhov, Khlusevich, Jikia, Denisov, Zinkovsky, Prutsev, Litvinov and Sobolev) in the team will receive an additional load – game , psychological, associated with thefts and possible injuries.

Abascal is therefore going to have a very difficult month of April. And if in March he lost a ghostly chance for the “gold” of the RPL, now he would not miss the “silver” that was almost in his hands.

Source: KP

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