Chris Goreham: The Pukki Party left me feeling vastly unprepared

PUBLISHED: 13:56 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:11 19 August 2019

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki's hat-trick stole the headlines against Newcastle United Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki's hat-trick stole the headlines against Newcastle United Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Football commentators are supposed to be prepared.

My notebook was packed with fascinating facts and figures about Norwich City and Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon as the Carrow Road gantry opened for business once more.

The thought that it might have been a good idea to do some homework on top flight hat-tricks by Canaries players had never occurred.

Teemu Pukki is already used to outstripping expectations in a yellow and green shirt.

His Championship golden boots are proving their worth in the Premier League.

The magnificent volley that lit up the first half against Newcastle was beautifully timed in all senses. It came just as concerns were beginning to develop that City might not be rewarded for a start to the game that had lived up to the occasion of top flight football returning to Norfolk for the first time in more than three years.

When Pukki's effort crashed into the net he became the first player to score a Premier League goal at Carrow Road since Dieumerci Mbokani 1193 days earlier.

The DR Congo international scored twice against Watford in a 4-2 win that was too little too late on the night that Norwich City's relegation was confirmed.

They were Mbokani's sixth and seventh goals of that season which was enough for him to be the Canaries top goalscorer.

Perhaps that explains why the idea of a Norwich player hitting a hat-trick in the Premier League seemed so far-fetched before kick-off.

We haven't been blessed with a huge number of prolific goal scorers at the top level in recent years.

In fairness to Mbokani he managed one more league goal than Gary Hooper and Robert Snodgrass who, with six each, were Norwich's joint top scorers when they were relegated in Chris Hughton's final season in charge in 2014.

MORE: Six things we learned from Newcastle win

The year before that Grant Holt's eight goals saw him top the City charts but you have to go back to 2011/12 to find a player making it into double figures for the Canaries in the Premier League when Holt battered and bruised his way to 15 goals in what proved to be Paul Lambert's City swansong.

The fact that Teemu Pukki already has four goals feels hugely significant.

How often have Norwich fans been left to bemoan some promising Premier League performances being undermined by a lack of cutting edge in previous campaigns?

The best compliment one could pay to the Finn was that his two second half goals on Saturday almost made you forget that Norwich had been promoted at all.

They felt like a continuation of that remarkable Championship form rather than a massive step up in class.

Both were the sort of goals that made up the bulk of his massive haul last season and they are a dream to commentate on because his strikes tend to unfold almost in slow motion.

The knack he has of getting into a shooting position with some clever movement means that the whole ground can sense that another Pukki goal is imminent and they are usually dispatched with the minimum of fuss.

He is, of course, capable of the odd blockbuster too as anyone who was fortunate enough to be in the River End at the weekend will tell you.

Pukki's Jeremy Goss tribute act provided a reminder of a piece of homework I must add to my weekly routine.

It's important to note down what time Gary Lineker and co. are on TV because nothing says 'We are Premier League' more than being able to tell listeners during a Norwich City commentary that they should "make sure you catch that goal on Match of the Day tonight".

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