First ever! First ever!! First ever!!!
Our team made its first ever gold double, winning both the Russian Premier League and the Russian Cup. Zenit came closest to doing this in the past in 1984, but at the time it lost the Russian Cup in the deciding match, in extra time. It`s interesting that Zenit won both the Russian title and the Russian Cup for the third time in its history this year. Never before had the Petersburg club gone through the last three rounds of the National Cup without giving up a goal.
The blue-white-light blues were able to take first place in the group round of a European cup competition for the first time ever. In 2004 the Petersburg side finished fourth, in 2005 – second (being equal on points with Sevilla, which won the group), and in 2007 and 2008 finished third. This time Zenit not only proved to be strongest in the group, but won the group two matches before the end of the group round. By the way, Zenit will play its latest ever match in the season on December 16, in Athens.
At the start of the Europa League group stage Zenit has won five matches in a row, surpassing the previous club record set in the fall of 2004 of four European victories in a row. That said, at that time our team won three out of the four matches at Petrovsky Stadium, and made only one trip to Belgrade. This time Zenit had to play two away matches. This year Luciano Spalletti`s side has already set a new club record by winning 30 official matches, with one match left. There were also two record winning streaks. First of all, together with the end of the 2009 season, Zenit played 26 official matches without losing: 20 victories and 6 ties. Furthermore, from April 28 to July 24 our team won ten matches in a row – eight in the Russian Premier League and two in the Russian Cup. The goal difference in these matches was 22–5.
Another impressive streak was set on the road – seven victories in a row. The series of master classes ended only in Romania, where Zenit couldn`t quite defeat Unirea. Nevertheless our team went 12 official matches in a row without losing on the road. Both of these numbers are new club records. Along with club records, Zenit players also set individual records this season. The most amazing was Alexander Kerzhakov`s record of goals scored in one month. Kerzhakov scored 11 goals in the month from September 16 to October 16, beating the club record set by his teacher – Vladimir Kazachenok (1981).
Luciano Spalletti made substitutions that got results in four matches in a row – in the fall meetings with Sibir, CSKA, Rostov and Rubin. The Zenit players who came off the bench in those matches scored 5 goals. Earlier no Zenit coach had a streak of more than three matches at making substitutions that led to goals. Altogether in the season the Italian specialist made 8 substitutions that led to goals.
Rewriting the books…
Zenit players set new club records in the following categories in the national championship:
- 61 goals scored (2.03 per match on average); the previous record was set in 2008 (1.97);
- 21 goals allowed (0.70 per match on average); the previous record was set in 1998 (0.83);
- goal difference: +40; previous record: +28 (1984);
- 68 points; previous record – 61 (2007);
- 20 victories; previous record for the national league with 16 teams – 18 (2007), with 18 teams – 19 (1984);
- 2 losses; previous record – 5 (2007);
- Zenit won the league before the final matchday for the first time ever; in 1984 and 2007 the fate of first place was decided on the last day of the season;
- Zenit finished in the top three two years in a row for the first time in its history.
Zenit also set several other club records:
- 39 points after the first half of the season (a Russian Premier League record); the previous record was 30 (2004);
- 23 matches without a loss to start the season (Russian Premier League record): 17 victories, 6 ties; previous record – 12 (1974);
- 23 matches without losing after changing coaches (Russian Premier League record); the previous record was set under Dick Advocaat – 13 (2006);
- 26 matches without losing in the Russian league (together with the end of the 2009 season): 19 wins, 7 ties; previous record – 16 (1963, 2004);
- 9 victories in a row (from April 28 to July 31); previous record – 6 (1949, 2007, 2009);
- 6 victories in a row at away matches (from April 28 to August 29); previous record – 5 (1955);
- 13 matches without a loss at away matches (together with the end of the 2009 season): 9 victories, 4 ties; previous record – 10 (2004);
- 34 points from away matches in one Russian league season; previous record – 30 (2004);
- for the first time ever our team was best in the Premier League both at home and away;
- Vyacheslav Malafeev set a personal record for number of shutouts in one season – 13;