Richard Buxton: Teemu Pukki set to give Pep Guardiola a headache
Norwich striker Pukki is in form, while Man City's star defender Laporte is injured
Thursdays used to fill Pep Guardiola with dread.
Anxiety would get the better of the Manchester City manager as games approached. His relative lack of experience in the Barcelona hot seat ultimately led to feelings of self-doubt.
In an interview in June, Guardiola revealed that those days are firmly behind him - but a fear of losing continues to drive him, despite winning 27 trophies in the past 11 years.
Those fraught Thursdays, however, could make a brief return for the Catalan this week.
City's battle to maintain a touching distance with Liverpool at the English Premier League's summit is set to come under another examination on Sunday morning (Singapore time).
Carrow Road is proving to be a difficult hunting ground.
But as Chelsea discovered in their 3-2 away win last month, their hosts possessing one of the league's most lethal marksmen in Teemu Pukki has complicated matters.
The 29-year-old scored in that game, and has accumulated five goals in four EPL outings, earning him a nomination alongside Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero for August's Player of the Month award.
For club and country, Pukki simply cannot stop scoring.
He scored the winner in the 1-0 triumph over Greece last week and a penalty during the 2-1 defeat by Italy yesterday morning (Singapore time).
This means that Pukki, who scored a hat-trick against Newcastle United and also found the net against Liverpool, has scored seven goals in six competitive outings this season, failing to score in only one match - the 2-0 loss to West Ham United two Saturdays ago.
Jorginho, who scored Italy's winner against the Finns yesterday and also faced the Canaries striker last month, hailed him as "a complete striker".
If Guardiola was not already having flashbacks to his fear-induced Thursdays, he should be.
Pukki is not merely a would-be doppelganger for the City boss, but also the greatest threat to the Etihad Stadium's own flying marksmen.
He is level on five goals with Sterling, and only one behind Aguero, the EPL's leading scorer.
As a journeyman who arrived on a free transfer, Pukki is the antithesis to City's well-heeled attack.
The irony of it all is that his formative years were spent idolising Guardiola and his Barcelona teammates.
A pilgrimage to the Nou Camp left the young Finn captivated by the brilliance of his compatriot, and future teammate, Jari Litmanen and the goalscoring majesty of Brazil's Ronaldo.
Yet those childhood memories will count for little as he aims to eclipse Chris Sutton's 25-goal haul, which fired Norwich to a credible mid-table finish during the 1993/94 campaign.
Already Pukki has found the net 35 times in 50 games for the Canaries since the start of last season and will be crucial if Daniel Farke's newcomers are successful in beating the drop.
Breaching Liverpool's backline leaves further alarm bells ringing for Guardiola, with his side reduced to just two recognised centre-backs, with Aymeric Laporte ruled out until the New Year after undergoing knee surgery last week.
Conceivably, the gulf between the Reds and City could be stretched to five points if both this weekend's results - Liverpool host Newcastle on Saturday - go in the Reds' favour.
For that to happen, Pukki will almost certainly have a part to play.
His name may not translate favourably in some languages, but means "goat" in his native Finnish.
If he can guarantee their EPL survival, he could secure a place among Norwich's "greatest of all time".