Roman Pavlyuchenko has the enviable talent of popping up with vital goals just as us fans have lost all faith in the man. A scene was set yesterday ripe for the ‘Super Pav’ chant to ring round the Lane once again, perhaps for the last time. Fallen from favour and having mouthed off about leaving, the Russian sub is sent on by a reluctant ‘Arry, shows some horrific attempts to hold the ball up as we still expect him to do and delivers a hugely important and clinical winner. He is then entitled to points to his name an inordinate amount of times. There is no mystery to Pav’s disproportionate popularity among the Spurs faithful. We love goals, especially important ones. Here are his top 5, including Sunday’s:
Having opened the scoring under Harry’s reign with a bouncing header against Bolton, Pav inexplicably turned in Darren Bent’s low centre in the last minute to consign Liverpool to their first defeat of the season. This was the product of Pav being told ‘to f***ing run about.’ A testament to Redknapp’s ‘round pegs, round holes’ philosophy, only two years later to the day Super Pav was slotting home a winner against the Champions League holders in the very competition.
In one of the worst performances with Harry at the helm, we let Burnley come back from a two goal first-leg deficit to come within 2 extra time minutes of reaching the 2009 Carling Cup final. Pav was terrible in the final but he got us there.
Persistent rumours linking our Pav with a move away had dominated the previous transfer window’s Newsnow pages and to Harry’s surprise, with a delicate lead at the former JJB during our successful Champions League qualification campaign, the Russian sub scored a late double to secure victory. Super Pav more than made up for not getting in on the act during the earlier 9-1 win.
This disastrous affair was watched with jaws on the ground. Like the Burnley game, the team, and especially Pav, perhaps due to elements of complacency coupled with an artificial surface, were not at the races. Without this goal we risked years of Young Boys jokes made nationwide on the back of our biggest success in recent times. A thunderbolt from nowhere, this was a goal of monumental significance. I defy one to watch this again and not smile.
A predictably resurgent Sunderland side could have provided a banana skin after the injustices at the Britannia. Without Bale and later Lennon, our usual searing pace was lacking and the advent of an Emmanuel and Roman partnership, until the 61st minute, failed to manufacture anything of note. Fed by an influential Rafa Van der Vaart, Pav arrowed in our winner to get us back on track with huge London derby against Chelsea looming. Cue Harry putting our equally infuriating and beloved Pav in the shop window, ‘I’d like to keep him. People say Pav is going and we’re looking for a striker but it is difficult to find anyone better.’