This is Chelsea’s best chance of stopping Pukki on Saturday – opinion

Chelsea face Norwich City on Saturday in their third game of the Premier League season, and they will need to keep an eye on the division’s top scorer Teemu Pukki. However, the Finland international can be stopped.

On the chalkboard

Former Celtic striker Pukki had a fantastic season last time out, scoring 29 goals in the Championship as the Canaries earned promotion to the promised land. No other player in the division was able to top that number.

And he has hit the ground running so far this term, too. He scored a consolation against Liverpool on the opening day, before netting a hattrick against Newcastle last weekend as his side won 3-1.

The 29-year-old is clearly his team’s danger man, and Frank Lampard and co will need to be wary of this threat. There is one way in particular he can be stopped, though.

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Push the Canaries out wide

The forward is predominantly right-footed, but is also comfortable on his left foot as well. This term, he has taken 10 shots overall – six with the right and four with the left. As such, the Blues will be unable to play him onto an obvious “weaker foot”.

However, there is one area of his game that is seriously lacking: in the air. Off the 29 goals he bagged in the 2018/19 campaign, only one came with his head. For a top forward in the second-tier of English football, that is certainly on the low side.

And that has not changed this season, either. Of the five aerial duels he has been involved in, he has come out second-best on every single occasion. As such, Daniel Farke has set his team up to avoid putting balls into the box from wide positions – no team has registered less than Norwich’s 10 crosses per game so far this campaign.

Lampard then, should attempt to push the Canaries out wide as much as possible. He could do this by playing with three central midfielders in an attempt to stop balls coming through the middle, which would leave Norwich with two options: go to the flanks, or try to find their talisman with longer balls over the top – which Chelsea’s powerful defenders should be able to cut out.

Either way, it makes Pukki’s job that bit harder and starves him of the service he needs to score goals.

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