Pukki is back, Monk is a potato and Wycombe bag their first win: The Second Tier Summary
Goals, goals, goals. A weekend full of goals is just the tonic we all needed to wash down the bitter taste of another lockdown.
Never fear though, as football is sticking (at least at an elite level anyway), meaning we can all at least be a little bit distracted with matters on the pitch. So please Alex Mowatt, more screamers.
But back to the football, and what an intriguing weekend it was. Special mention goes to Wycombe who do not feature this week after bagging their first win, but I suspect there will be a few more occasions they do.
1) Teemu Pukki
After what seemed a miserable 2020 for the Fin (on the pitch), he looks like he's returning to his best. He was deadly in the lunchtime kick off against Bristol City, providing a threat with his signature runs.
And those runs proved devastating for The Ronbins defence as Pukki picked his moment perfectly. Not only that, but he did not look like a player who's only scored 6 goals in 2020.
His finishing was as deadly as his movement and Norwich will need the striker on top form if they are to challenge for the automatics.
Here's a side that has maybe surprised me the most this season. When you consider where they came from last season, it has to be said. Under Woodgate they were going down. There's no two ways about it. Players were played in strange positions, no game plan and good players turning terrible.
Up steps Neil Warnock and he's Warnock'ed this team. His brought players in from the cold. Players who were terrible are now undroppable. I'm looking at you Anfernee Dijksteel and George Saville.
With the team scoring goals, creating chances and with the joint best defensive record in the division, this team has to be considered a realistic threat under Colin.
3) Valerien Ismael
Not much is known of the new Barnsley manager, except a gloriously soothing voice. However, it’s been a good start for the new manager.
After a disappointing start under Struber, it was clear that a new man coming in would need to get off to a good start.A good start it has been for big Val.
Back to back wins is the perfect start, couple that with clean sheets in each of his first games a great win against a strong Watford side. This team might just fulfill it’s potential after all.
1) Garry Monk
Here's a man under pressure.
It's not been great for Monk at Wednesday. Initially, I was a fan of the appointment, but since a half decent run in October/November last season, it's been awful for Wednesday.
They're a half decent team for me. With the right manager in the place, I do believe they'd be safe. You look at what Steve Bruce was eeking out the side a couple of seasons back and you think there's definitely potential here.
So what is going wrong? Goals have dried, just five all season. And the team is conceding more-seven in the last four. A change of manager seems the most likely scenario here in Wednesday staying up as for me, 2020 has shown that Monk is not the right man.
Oh Forest, what could have been.
A big story from their game was Gaetan Bong coming out of the blue to start, despite three left backs being ahead of him. Reports say he wasn't even in the 25 man squad for the season.
And that for me is the issue with Forest. The squad is too big. Hughton realistically won't be able to bring in his players because of the bazillion on the books. So, effectively other than Knockaert, he's managing someone else's squad. We saw with his Brighton and Birmingham City teams that his 11's rarely change, and his squads are small.
So with another defeat on the books for Forest, we have to be realistic about this season for Forest under Hughton. It will be clearing of the deadwood and making sure he has a squad good enough to compete.
3) Blackburn Rovers
Just weeks after we as a podcast were oozing over them. Blackburn go and hit a bad run of form.
Goals aren't an issue though. Yes okay, they failed to score past a stubborn Swansea, but they're good side this season.
Of the last six games, Rovers have won just one, draw one and lost four. That is not the form of a team looking to reach the play offs. Seven goals scored in that time might suggest goals aren't the issue, but six came across two games. Ten goals shipped at the other would point the finger at another issue.
Whatever the case, form needs to improve and quick.