Christian Pulisic made his first Premier League start since October, as the USMNT star played the full 90 minutes as Chelsea lost 2-1 at Wolves.
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The 22-year-old started on the left of a loaded Chelsea attack with Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount all starting alongside him, and he was the best player on the pitch in the opening 38 minutes.
Frank Lampard then switched him to the right flank and he didn’t have much of an impact on the game after that. It was a real head-scratching move, tactically, from Lampard as fans and pundits have since scrutinized his reason for swapping Timo Werner and Pulisic around.
Before the game, Lampard revealed his delight in having Christian Pulisic back fit and available to start: “Pulisic naturally brings us width, the ability to go past people in one v one situations in a tight game, which I expect tonight,” Lampard said. “I’m pleased, he’s had a few littles issues with his hamstring recently. He’s trained now for a few days and wanted him straight back in.”
Here’s a look at how Christian Pulisic fared for Chelsea at Wolves on Tuesday.
Minute-by-minute analysis of Christian Pulisic for Chelsea v. Wolves
2nd minute: Hugging the left touchline as he started out on left wing, with Timo Werner on the right, Kai Havertz central and Olivier Giroud up top.
7th minute: Brilliant pass and switch of play out to Reece James on the right, who sends a cross towards Pulisic, but Rui Patricio claimed easily as the American leapt into the air. Great play from Pulisic, as he set up the chance and timed his run into the box well.
10th minute: A few nice touches out wide as he looked calm in possession. Sent a cross into the box towards Giroud which was cleared.
11th minute: Accelerated forward from the left and picked out Giroud with a ball, but just overhit it.
15th minute: Once again he burst free as he buzzed past Willy Boly and crossed for Timo Werner, who couldn’t convert. Wonderful wing play and speed from Pulisic.
17th minute: Almost got on the end of a cross at the near post as Chelsea continued to search for Pulisic every time they got the ball.
24th minute: Sloppy pass to Ben Chilwell which put Chelsea under pressure, but N’Golo Kante cleaned up the danger.
25th minute: Wriggled free of Semedo but his cutback was cleared, and linked up well with Mason Mount as Chelsea directed play down the left.
26th minute: Lovely scooped pass over the top for Mason Mount but the ball just ran out of play.
32nd minute: Fouled by Neslon Semedo to win a free kick, and VAR checks a possible handball from Coady after Giroud’s header but nothing was given.
34th minute: Dropped deeper and deeper to try and get on the ball.
36th minute: Won another free kick as Semedo brought him down once again on the edge of the box. Wolves can’t handle the USMNT star.
38th minute: Switched to the right flank, as Semedo looked like a relieved man.
42nd minute: Wins a corner kick after surging into the box and past three Wolves defenders before they eventually cleared. Pulisic almost flicked on the corner too.
44th minute: Crosses towards Havertz but the German can’t finish as the cross was a tad hard. Whacked in the head by Giroud for his troubles, but shook it off.
47th minute: Started the second half on the right wing, as USMNT teenager Owen Otasowie came on at half time for Wolves. Pulisic was no longer the only American on the pitch.
54th minute: Clipped a floated cross to the back post which Wolves cleared easily.
56th minute: Struggled to get in the game out on the right flank and was clattered once again as he went down clutching his lower leg.
58th minute: Won the ball in his own half and was back doing plenty of defensive work.
60th minute: Started to get on the ball more and clipped in a lovely cross which Mason Mount couldn’t get on the end of.
75th minute: Struggled to get in the game after Wolves’ equalizer, as the cameras showed him shaking his head in disbelief that somehow Wolves were level.
79th minute: Started a counter attack which ends in Kovacic having a shot blocked.
88th minute: Won a free kick but Chelsea wasted it.
94th minute: Moved back to the left flank, finally, and won a free kick as Semedo fouled him, again.
95th minute: Shown shaking his head in disbelief, again, as Wolves won it late on.