Under normal circumstances, Zenit should be concerned about the prospect of facing Monaco and home each advantage wouldn’t be enough to ease those concerns. Luckily for them, they are going to play against a French site that has a serious problem in scoring goals and since losing their most prolific striker, they are only a shadow of their former self. Winning on the road has been nearly impossible for Monaco and they are very likely to travel to St. Petersburg trying to defend the scoreless draw.
Much to their credit, they managed to extract an astonishing amount from their defensive system, limiting opponents to one goal or less. Before losing to Nice in the most recent round, they won three consecutive games and kept a clean sheet on each occasion. The fans were clearly unimpressed by the fact that Monaco only scored one goal in each of those contests, but at the end of the day what truly matters is the fact that they claimed all three points.
To make matters worse, there are some fitness concerns revolving around their most prolific striker and if Berbatov is not fit to play, Monaco will have a real problem. Even if he features in the starting formation, the aging Bulgarian forward, will probably be replaced in the second half. The French side is going to be under constant pressure as Zenit has the tendency of taking the initiative early on and they never let go.
Compared to Monaco who depends on a single striker now that Falcao has been transferred out to Manchester United, the Russian side has plenty of options up front. To be precise, manager Villas-Boas can rely on three strikers as Hulk, Kerhakov and Rondon are in great for and have scored recently. The latter is by far the most prolific one with seven goals, but the Brazilian is closely behind as he scored on five occasions, so the Russian team will pack quite a punch.
Following their relatively easy win on the road in Portugal, Zenit will not be intimidated by Monaco and will be aiming for all three points. They’ve got the players to achieve such results and the support of their fans is also going to weigh heavily in the balance. The bottom line is that even though bookmakers are reluctant to overprice the hosts and the odds revolve around the value of 1.70, punters would still benefit from backing the Russians.