Pukki and Buendia on fire for Canaries - but how do they compare to other City double acts?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Every good team has that special partnership, and when they click, special things happen - Chris Lakey looks at Norwich City double acts, past and present
They’re a bit like chalk and cheese, but Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia are flavour of the season for Norwich City.
The cool Finn and the sometimes volatile Argentine are currently ripping up the Championship as City loom to return to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Their double act away to Coventry on Tuesday was the latest star turn – the first goal was scored by Pukki, created by Buendia. It was roles reversed for the second.
Against Stoke on Saturday Buendia scored one and set up two others in a 4-1 win – stats which simply add to his value as a City player.
How does it happen? It looks like telepathy at play, but it is perhaps more to do with sheer hard work at Colney, where the undoubted combined talents of Buendia and Pukki are perfected and moulded into something that works for real, not just ‘in the playground’.
Buendia has 10 assists and nine goals. Five of those assists have been for Pukki goals - which no player in the Championship can better. Not bad for a midfielder, as Daniel Farke has pointed out.
Pukki has 14 goals and two assists - not bad for an out-and-out striker.
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Of the 20 away goals, the pair of them have scored 14.
All very impressive – but are they the best partnership Norwich City have ever had?
Asking that question on social media opened up a special can of worms.
A popular pairing was Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan who, when finally switched to a starting role closer to the goal than to the Snakepit, was a regular supplier for his fellow City legend.
A straw poll in the (virtual) office threw up these:
Ted MacDougall and Phil Boyer: Scored 60pc of City's goals between them in one season. Also played together for Bournemouth and Southampton.
Robert Fleck and Robert Rosario: Two Bob, the little-and-large strike pairing that helped City to fourth in the First Division and an FA Cup semi-final in 1988-89.
Ian Crook and Mark Bowen: This is left field, but our best ever passer had a telepathic understanding with our best ever left-back. They perfected a one-two, that saw Chippy chip it over the opposition right-back for a charging Taffy to smash in. Got him seven goals in one season.
Ruel Fox and Chris Sutton: Best mates on the field. Fox crossed, Sutton scored, easy as that.
Sutton also figured in another dream team, as @NCFCPilgrim wrote on Twitter: “Chris Sutton and Efan Ekoku has to be the most effective strike partnership surely? There have been a few great pairings at centre back too - Linighan and Butterworth, Fleming & Mackay, Bruce & Watson & the current two (Hanley & Gibson) are looking pretty decent.”
And @Justwhous makes a good point about the longevity of Holt and Hoolahan: “There has been a lot of good partnerships over the years. But, Wes & Hotly did it in 3 different tiers. And most importantly in the PL. Therefore, making them one of most successful partnerships.”
@CWilson_Journo added: “So close between Holt-Hoolahan and Pukki-Buendia. I was lucky to watch almost all Holt-Hoolahan games live, whereas because of work and the pandemic I’ve not seen anywhere near as much of Pukki-Buendia live as I’d like but I think the latter edge it on style of play - pure beauty.”
On Facebook, Pelis Hendrick wrote: "Roberts and Bellamy were great in the day Holt and Hoolahan too but I’d say Pukki and Buendia are right up there."
Martin Neave wrote: "At this moment in this team they are very much in tune with one another and Pukki makes the runs that Buendia looks for. So favourite at this moment yes. Both excellent players. Of all time as favourite pairing can't beat Holt, he had that ability to be a little devilish and get free kicks or antagonise the opponents which always got the crowd going and away fans angry plus fantastic finisher and Hoolahan, always busy everywhere effortless performance every time. All 4 excellent."