It was hard not to be impressed by Teemu Pukki at the weekend, although if you’re a City fan, that sort of performance will have come as no surprise.
Pukki grabbed all the headlines, as well as the match ball and an interview with Gary Lineker on Match of the Day, after scoring a superb hat-trick, his first in a City shirt, as the Canaries ruthlessly put a woeful Newcastle United to the sword 3-1.
Before that performance, there were plenty of pundits lining up to write us off, one or two now though are changing their tune.
One of those is Sky Sports’ Paul Merson.
The former Arsenal winger writes a weekly Column for his employer and this week, he used around a third of it to extol the virtues of our very own Goat, Mr Pukki.
Here’s what he had to say, with the whole column on this link.
Pukki’s movement is different class
I watched him play against Liverpool and I thought: He is going to score goals. His movement is absolutely different class.
The way they play – attack, attack, attack – he will score goals. And I will now be shocked if they do not stay up. The reason I say that is because he will score 20-25 goals and how many teams have ever gone down with a player who scored that many goals?
I watched them play last season and worried for them in the Premier League – they were great on the eye, but terrible at the back. And I thought: I hope they do not come up and play 4-5-1.
And they have not, they have stuck by their guns, they went to Liverpool and had a go, created chances, and they easily beat Newcastle. And fair play to them.
But when you have movement like that – 1) you have to have someone to find you, which they have, and 2) someone to put the ball in the back of the net, which they have as well.
I look at them and I look at Aston Villa and think – who is going to score their goals? If Pukki had been playing for them, they would have beaten Bournemouth on Saturday.
And that is it, you need firepower to stay up.
I would say though that his comment about us hoping that they don’t come up and play 4-5-1 is slightly off because we’ve generally played 4-2-3-1 and continue to do that, although it’s best described as “fluid” as we all know. Nothing has really changed from the way we played last season to how we have started this one.
Daniel Farke may have to change his tactics against different opposition, of course, but against the lesser teams of the division, and I mean no disrespect to you Newcastle boys with that comment, we will feel we can compete.