The Portuguese boss is looking to prove himself once again following his two sackings in Europe, and a reunion with his former Porto goal machine Hulk will certainly help him.
Realistically, the Russian league should be something of a formality for Villas-Boas, and he will arguably be judged upon when they they kick-start their European campaign next season. Nevertheless, winning in their domestic league will certainly aid confidence.
The game itself was a topsy-turvy affair, and two players in particular stood out – goalkeeper Yuri Lodygin for saving two penalties, and €48m striker Hulk for grabbing Zenit’s goals.
The 27-year-old’s first strike scored his first from the penalty spot after just five minutes, and doubled the host’s lead in the second half with a fine solo goal.
The Brazilian international shocked the majority of Europe when he chose to join the reigning Russian champions in 2012, yet his short stint at Zenit could well be over this summer.
Hulk gave an indication last December to Russian journal Izvestia that he was ready to move on, and reportedly told the club’s directors not to stand in his way as he bids to join a European heavyweight.
Chelsea are one of the clubs reportedly interested in the striker, and there appears to be many factors which could point towards a possible move.
Jose Mourinho’s apparent number one target this summer is to buy a top class striker to ultimately replace the aging Samuel Eto’o and the misfiring Fernando Torres. The Premier League leaders already have a Brazilain contingent within their squad, therefore making it much easier to settle in should Hulk make the move.
With a reported price tag of €48m according to transfermarkt, the player may come at a hefty price – but not one which owner Roman Abramovich can’t afford.
Should Chelsea make a move for Hulk in the summer?