Showdown in East Anglia: Norwich City vs. Chelsea Preview

There was a time when one would’ve looked at a team with Christian Pulisic and N’golo Kante and Mason Mount and Willian and Olivier Giroud and thought: There is no way they could ever lose, or even draw, to a team like Norwich.

That was before the arrival to Norwich of Finland’s most ferocious hatrick scorer, Teemu Eino Antero Pukki. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You just googled Pukki and you thought, Dang, girl, he got them dead eyes. And yes, you’d be vaguely right. Pukki does have the kind of eyes that make you wonder if he might be a member of the undead. He’s also a prolific goal scorer, and possibly a barbarian. Last week against Newcastle he did that thing where you put the ball in the net, and he did it three times. So, like, Chelsea better mark him close.

As some of you may know, I actually studied Finnish at the University of Washington for a year and then did a brief study abroad in Finland in the summer of 2010 (?). There I met a Czech girl who didn’t break my heart. She might’ve just taken it in her hand and squeezed it until it stopped beating, but anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that Finland is a land of wonder and intrigue, and so the fact that Pukki doesn’t really have much elite level experience doesn’t matter. He’s living in a dream world.

Pukki does have the kind of eyes that make you wonder if he might be a member of the undead.

But okay, I’ve droned on far too long about a guy who probably won’t even score on Saturday. It’s time to talk about (hi-hat roll)….Cha Boi.

As I said in my previous post, Christian Pulisic did not play that well against Leicester City last weekEND. In fact, by my count (though my math is often shoddy) he had seven giveaways. Seven. Which means he’s doing what he does best, i.e. going right at people, though sometimes Pulisic literally tries to go right through people, and not always with the best results (i.e. Pogba against Man U).

Plus, and I may be going out on a quivering limb here, I think he was nervous.

We all know what it’s like to get nervous. You know when you’re standing next to a crowded dance floor and you so badly want to be out there dancing up close to that cute girl you saw when you walked in but you just can’t get your body to get out on the floor? Those are the kind of nerves I’m talking about. If you’re lucky, you have a friend who literally picks you up and drops you in the conga line, and hopefully that friend for Pulisic will be Frank Lampard. If Lampard shows some faith in Pulisic and starts him against Norwich, and if Pulisic plays well, it could bode nicely for the rest of the season. But if he doesn’t start Cha Boi, he’s basically saying, “I don’t know how to manage a football team and I’m also slightly terrified of Russian oligarchs.”

My prediction for the match? Pulisic will start. He’ll have less giveaways. He won’t score but he will contribute in some key buildups that lead to goals. Chelsea will win. They’ll hightail it out of there on the bus before Pukki decides to exact vengeance in the parking lot, and all will be well in East Anglia and also London and also on the A11 motorway which leads back to Stamford Bridge.

Anyway.

Go Blues. Go Pulisic.

Keep your guard up and go hard until your heart stops beating.

 

 

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