The third Moscow derby of 2013 is guaranteed to be unpredictable. The league's current front-runners, CSKA, will play Dynamo on their shared stadium, Arena Khimki, this Friday April 12. Petrescu's side is looking to further extend their unbeaten run in the league to an impressive 10 games after last week's tie with Amkar. Although some fans have been far from impressed with the recent fixtures, there is much to be said about the 5th place team that started the 1st leg of the season in 16th. The race is on for the RPL's top 4, so a win would be a crucial result for the Dynamo, who, despite losing the first five fixtures, are now contenders for a fourth and possibly a third place finish. Dynamo is vying with some of this season's toughest sides, including Rubin, Kuban, and the Moscovites' age-old rivals, Spartak. Then there's Anzhi, the club that's been slipping as of late, conceding plenty of goals to teams in the lower half of the table despite a period of consistent success. Hiddink's side seems to have lost its spark, and it's questionable whether they'll be able to get back on track in time to cinch the title. The issue isn't just the team itself, but the fact that many clubs in the middle and lower half of the table have progressed tremendously. Just like many of Manchester United's successful fixtures in the EPL can be partly attributed to the acquisition of Robin van Persie, several teams in the RPL have taken advantage of the transfer window to strengthen their lines of attack. With Vagner Love back from his loan and Doumbia back from injury, the Army Men have upstaged Anzhi, sending them to 3rd place and creating a rather impressive 13-point gap in the league table (even Zenit is a whole 11 points behind CSKA). However, both teams face several challenges going into this match-up. CSKA's Love is suspended for the next game, as is Dynamo's Kuranyi, who got his last yellow for dissent during the match at Amkar. It is questionable whether Dynamo's top-scorer Aleksandr Kokorin will be fit enough to return to the line-up. Though several players as well as supporters have noted the negative impact of his absence on the pitch in the last fixture, the wise among the bunch rightfully understand that he's not the team's magic wand. It is likely that Dan Petrescu will take advantage of the opportunity to showcase some younger talent in the starting eleven, continuing his trend of testing less experienced players to create some friendly competition within the squad.
There's no doubt that CSKA manager Leonid Slutsky clearly remembers his team's two losses to Petrescu's side in the 1st leg; Dynamo were 12 points behind they surprised the Army Men with a shocking 2-0 blow in the RPL's 10th Matchweek back in September. The blue-and-whites' growing consistency and current level of fitness are more than enough to compensate for the gap between the two sides. Dynamo will look to secure the fourth spot in the table, while CSKA will focus on expanding their gap with second-place Zenit St Petersburg.