Ukrainian Premier League Review


Once more it was another season dominated by the super powers that be Shakhtar Donetsk, who won the league by 13 points from Metalist Kharkiv. Further down the league there were a few surprises, with Metalurg Donetsk breaking into the top five, and Chornomorets also making drastic improvements, finishing 6th and getting to the cup final.

Shakhtar, led by their allegiance of South American talent, pretty much waltzed to another title, but lost Willian to big spending Anzhi in January, replacing him with Metalist star, and another Brazilian, Taison for well over £12m. Metalist had another good season, much like Shakhtar full of Brazilians, reaching the last 32 of the Europa League and coming 2nd in the league. Dynamo Kyiv secured 3rd comfortably, beating off Dnipro by six points.

At the other end of the table, for the second consecutive season, nobody was relegated due to the incoming promoted teams not gaining licence’s, although Kryvbas were relegated despite finishing 7th after hitting financial problems and not gaining a licence, so Sevastopol have replaced them. Hoverla and Metalurg Zap have been spared, with the former re-branding with a different yet equally unpronounceable second name. It probably isn’t good for the league, since Zaporizhya won one game out of 30, so competitiveness could be affected knowing they are so bad and other teams cannot financially support themselves enough to be promoted.

Shakhtar won the domestic cup, with a 3-0 win over Chornomorets, who gain a place in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, thanks to Donetsk already being in Europe. This is ample reward for Chorno, because they have improved vastly this season, jumping from 9th to 6th. As mentioned Metalurg deserve credit too, going from 7th to 5th this season to reach the qualifying stages of the Europa League.

Three teams that have disappointed this season have been Tavriya, who finished 6th in 11/12, dropped to 11th. Arsenal Kyiv will also be shocked after a great 5th place in 2011/12, dropping to 8th after a terrible campaign. Dynamo only dropped a place, but last season they were challenging Shakhtar for the title, finishing 4 points behind. This season they finished 17 points behind, but are signing well so this season may see an improvement.

The top scorer for the season is Dortmund bound Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with 25 goals. Brown Ideye was 2nd with 17 and Metalist star Cleiton Xavier was 3rd with 15. In terms of assists, Shakhtars’ Croatian Star Dario Srna was top with 12, and a trio of Jose Sosa, Marlos and Dmytro Trukhin on 8 in 2nd place and in 3rd – Volodymyr Arzhanov of Arsenal Kyiv/Volyn with 7.

Our player of the season gong has to go to Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 25 goals from an Attacking Midfielder is an excellent effort, with the Armenian only taking one penalty. Truly deserving of a £25m move to Dortmund. A great loss to the Ukrainian League!