Is Pukki’s goal drought killing the Canaries?
Norwich’s dismal 2-0 defeat against Watford, which saw them slip to the foot of the Premier League, was also notable for another no-show from Teemu Pukki.
The feel-good factor surrounding Daniel Farke’s Canaries has rapidly diminished over the past eight weeks since they recorded that memorable 3-2 win over reigning champions Manchester City in mid-September.
Norwich came up from the Championship as title winners after they finished five points clear of second-placed Sheffield United.
Having recorded two wins in their opening five matches, the East Anglian outfit were sitting pretty in mid-table and looked set to enjoy a good return to the top table of English football.
However, the wheels have fallen off since that early-season highlight and Norwich have subsequently gone seven games without a win.
Farke described Friday’s latest setback against Watford as “a disaster” given that it handed Quique Sanchez Flores’ side their first win at the 12th attempt this season.
More significantly, it allowed the Hornets to clamber out of the bottom spot they have occupied for most of the campaign and dumped Norwich down there.
Farke pointed to the “nursery mistake” in defence which gifted Gerard Deulofeu his goal after just 76 seconds. However, another goalless 90 minutes for Pukki didn’t help at the other end.
The 29-year-old fired in 29 goals to claim the Championship’s Golden Boot last season and seemed to adapt to the Premier League like a duck to water after six goals in his opening five outings.
But the Finland international has failed to score in any of Norwich’s last seven games despite continuing to work hard for the team.
Pukki has not completely lost his touch as he scored twice for his country against Armenia during last month’s international break.
However, he has continually cut an isolated figure in Norwich colours and it is a situation that the team must find a remedy for if they are to have chance of survival.
Farke has pointed to the imminent return of experienced defenders Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann after the upcoming international break.
That might help reduce the flow of goals going into their net but unless Pukki can hit his straps again, it looks like being curtains for the Canaries.