Pukki’s Finland form shows Canaries colleagues need to step up
Seven games, zero goals. That is Teemu Pukki's record for Norwich since the Canaries' 3-2 win over Manchester City on September 14.
Four games, five goals. That is Teemu Pukki’s record for Finland since the Canaries’ 3-2 win over Manchester City on September 14. The form is there, but is the required quality behind him?
That is the question Pukki and his Carrow Road team-mates need to answer between now and May 17 next year if Norwich are to survive in the Premier League. And a win at Everton this week would be extremely handy.
Daniel Farke’s side have picked up just a single point since shocking the Citizens back in September and, having started their top-flight return in decent style, now sit bottom of the table.
Pukki’s goal drought does seem to have coincided with Norwich’s drop off but his international form suggests he is still sharp. The 29-year-old has fired Finland to their first major tournament, grabbing braces in the wins over both Armenia and Lichtenstein, while also netting in Monday’s 2-1 defeat in Greece.
Midtjylland’s Tim Sparv, Rangers’ Glen Kamara, Esbjerg’s Pyry Soiri, Minnesota United’s Robin Lod and BATE Borisov’s Jasse Tuominen are his partners in crime for the Huuhkajat. Therefore, surely there is the requisite talent in Norfolk to give him the service he craves.
Todd Cantwell, Emi Buendia and the fit-again Onel Hernandez are superior players to the names listed above and will be looked at by other clubs should Norwich be relegated. So, with an average of 51.1% possession, what is stopping them from inspiring their side?
It is worth remembering that Pukki’s career has done a full 180 in the last 18 months. The summer of 2018 saw him released by Danish side Brondby after four years on the outskirts of Copenhagen, the latest spell in a nomadic career that has taken in the likes of Sevilla, Schalke and Celtic.
Netting 29 times last term saw him grab the Championship’s Golden Boot, helping Pukki earn a spot in the Team of the Year, as well as both the division and his club’s Player of the Year awards.
That momentum was carried into the Premier League, becoming only the second Finn to score an English top-flight hat-trick after Mikael Forssell in August’s 3-1 win over Newcastle.
With the pitches softening up as the evenings drew in, Norwich’s brand of fast, attacking football seemed to suffer and they have looked off the pace in recent defeats to relegation rivals Watford, Brighton, Aston Villa and Burnley.
At Goodison Park, the Canaries come up against a team finding their form and Marco Silva will be desperate to ensure his Toffees do not come unstuck with their next five Premier League games coming against Leicester, Liverpool, Chelsea Manchester United and Arsenal.
It all looks to be going against Norwich but with Pukki up front, there is always hope and it is surely just a matter of time until he finds the net again.
The key now is to ensure the likes of Cantwell, Buendia and Hernandez can provide the service required to get the best out of the flying Finn.