‘I will be shocked if they do not stay up’ – Sky Sports pundit so impressed with City and Pukki
PUBLISHED: 10:06 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 10:06 20 August 2019
Aresnal legend Paul Merson is the latest Premier League pundit to sing the praises of Norwich City and star striker Teemu Pukki after the Finn’s hat-trick heroics against Newcastle.
The ex-England midfielder is a regular pundit for Sky Sports and went as far as predicting that he believes the promoted Canaries will avoid relegation this season - and that Pukki will score more than 20 goals.
"I watched him play against Liverpool and I thought: He is going to score goals," Merson said. "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, one, you have to have someone to find you, which they have, and two, someone to put the ball in the back of the net - which they have as well."
The Finland international continued the ruthless form which saw him score 30 goals for City last season, earning the Championship's Player of the Season award and Golden Boot.
His hat-trick was the first from a Norwich player in the Premier League in almost 26 years and leaves him level with Manchester City superstar Raheem Sterling as the division's top scorer after two games, on four goals.
Merson also played for Aston Villa and feels Dean Smith's side miss a player like Pukki, having lost 3-1 at Tottenham and 2-1 at home to Bournemouth so far.
"I look at them and I look at Aston Villa and think - who is going to score their goals?," he added. "If Pukki had been playing for them, they would have beaten Bournemouth on Saturday. And that is it, you need firepower to stay up."