Pog-Sanity: Let us all just settle down now
Nobody likes a downer. Nobody likes a party-pooper. Unfortunately, today that’s my role. After having personally attended that party where Pavel Pogrebnyak incredibly scored a hat trick to give him 5 goals in 3 matches for Fulham, trust me, I want to be drinking the Kool-Aid just like everyone else. And please don’t get me [...]
Nobody likes a downer. Nobody likes a party-pooper. Unfortunately, today that’s my role.
After having personally attended that party where Pavel Pogrebnyak incredibly scored a hat trick to give him 5 goals in 3 matches for Fulham, trust me, I want to be drinking the Kool-Aid just like everyone else. And please don’t get me wrong with this article, I’m certainly not drinking the Hatorade. The man’s terrorizing opposing defenses with his size, his strength, his toughness, and above all, his ability to never tire and never give up on a promising play. How can you deny his results? It’s nothing short of amazing, and I give Martin Jol all the credit in the world for finding the Russian.
But we all need to settle down a little. Just a little.
Pog-Sanity can be compared to Jeremy Lin here in the United States. If you haven’t heard the story, Lin is a basketball player who landed on the New York Knicks after a college career at Harvard (that’s right) and being cut or traded by 2 other teams, being worked out pre-draft by 5, and having gone undrafted by all NBA clubs. In fact, Golden State Warriors owner Jeremy Lacob said when he cut Lin, “Is he going to be a superstar? No.”
Lin went to the Knicks and proceeded to score the most points for any player in his first 5 career games in NBA history, and he’s become an absolute legend in New York. It’s one of the best nothing-to-superstar stories in sports.
I remember when we sold Zamora, fans were relatively ok with it. However, what they weren’t ok with is how we had utterly failed to replace his goal-scoring ability, and all we got back was this Russian with a weird, unpronounceable last name. Now, I don’t think there’s a soul who still thinks that, and rightly so. I’ve even jumped on the bandwagon, purchasing myself a Pogrebnyak jersey after his hat-trick match (I even had to do some walking around the next day because one store ran out of Y’s and the other out of 7?s).
My point with all this is this: It’s 3 matches. In fact, it’s not just 3 matches. It’s 3 matches: home against a Stoke side in 9th but with a -11 goal differential. It’s away against a QPR side we beat 6-0 at home, who just made a managerial change mid season, and who is tied in points with the final drop zone spot. It’s home against a Wolverhampton club who also recently made a managerial change, who is in the drop zone, and who quite frankly looked like a high school team out on the pitch in just about every way possible.
Let’s not get carried away, tabbing Pogrebnyak as the next Saha, saying this club is the most exciting they’ve ever watched, making bets we’ll qualify for the Europa League on position, and all-around handing the man the key to Craven Cottage. In fact, we may have to wait a while to see what we really got. 3 of our next 5 matches are against clubs in 14th or lower (Villa is 15th, Swansea is 14th, and Bolton is 19th). 4 of our next 5 matches are against clubs in the bottom half (Norwich is in 11th). The only outlier is against Man United.
If at the end of the season Fulham is in 6th and we’ve qualified, and the tall Russian has 20 goals, please don’t come knocking at my door saying “I told you so.” I’m not trying to discount what he’s done or what he has the ability to do. All I’m saying is take a look at the body of work, which is very small, and go from there. Make sure you don’t over blow just what’s happened so far. I saw a headline the other day that said “Pogrebnyak Will Never Score 5 Goals in 3 Matches Again.” I thought it was one of the stupidest headlines ever. Of course he’s not going to, nobody should expect him to. It’s an extraordinary feat that is great to have but shouldn’t be expected from him again, or expected of anybody ever quite frankly. So let’s not get carried away just yet.
I will say this: I think he’s the absolute perfect match for this club. The way he works and the way he plays fits in amazingly with the style of play everyone else has on the team. It’s a wonderful pairing and we should all praise Martin Jol for a job well done finding him. Just don’t get carried away.
But, please, above all, enjoy the ride as long as it lasts, and hope we never have to get off.