Fast Start No Guarantee Pukki Party Won’t Fizzle Out

Fast Start No Guarantee Pukki Party Won’t Fizzle Out

Teemu Pukki became the first player to score four goals in his first two appearances in the Premier League last week and is now seeking to join an elite group. The flying Finn nabbed a hat-trick last weekend against Newcastle and will be looking to improve upon his record when a leaky Chelsea defence come to Carrow Road on Saturday.

A goal against the Blues – a side Norwich have only managed seven goals against in 25 hours of Premier League football – would be another feather in the cap of Pukki. The 29-year-old’s excellent start should not come as a surprise, according to Canaries head coach Daniel Farke, who watched his star striker plunder 29 goals en route to winning the Championship title last season.

Related: Chelsea v Leicester City Team News

Pukki has managed more shots on target than anyone else through the first two games of the 2019/20 campaign, while he averaged over three shots per game in the Championship.

Players making quick starts upon promotion to the Premier League is nothing new but it is relatively rare.
Not since Watford striker Odion Ighalo hit the ground running in the 2015/16 season has a striker had such an impact in the top flight, and on that occasion it didn’t last.

The Nigerian scored all but one of his 16 league goals in the first half of the campaign, registering just once after the turn of the year. Consistency is a common issue for many a striker but those coming up from the lower leagues seem to find it even harder to get out of a rut when they do get stuck.

There are a few exceptions to that rule for players in their first Premier League seasons, Stan Collymore, Kevin Phillips and Andy Cole all bagging regularly throughout their respective terms. Phillips was the most recent of that trio to enjoy a productive season, winning the European Golden Shoe with 30 goals in Sunderland’s 1999/00 campaign.

Being the next Phillips is too lofty a target to set for Pukki, a striker who was far from prolific at his previous clubs. The Norwich star has had chances on the big stage before but fluffed his lines at Sevilla, Schalke and Celtic, scoring eight times in 26 appearances for the latter.

He fits right into the style of play Farke likes though and is unusual when compared to a lot of the strikers previously mentioned, given he is the lone frontman for his team.

Plenty of promoted teams have drifted towards playing one up top recently but to the detriment of their goalscoring ability. The two promoted teams who went with a lone striker last season – Fulham and Cardiff – were the joint second-lowest scorers in the division and that played a large role in their immediate returns to the second tier.

The Cottagers also had a striker who had taken the Championship by storm the previous year and started the following campaign well before the goals dried up. That man was Aleksandar Mitrovic, who scored five in six to start, adding seven more to his tally over the remaining 32 matches as teams quickly worked out the west Londoners.

Even when a striker does maintain his good goalscoring form, it doesn’t always guarantee safety with Crystal Palace going down the season Andrew Johnson netted 21. However, it seems obvious to say but teams with a regular goalscorer do stand a better chance of staying up so a lot is riding on Pukki’s hot streak continues.

Not since Grant Holt, who nearly made England’s Euro 2012 squad after scoring 15 goals for Norwich seven years ago, has there been a striker capable of striking fear into the hearts of Premier League defenders in Norfolk but Pukki still has a long way to go.

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