Christian Pulisic was again saved for later by new-old boss Thomas Tuchel in Chelsea’s second match of the post-Frank Lampard era, but that’s not going to last long.
Tuchel has stated that he’s using Pulisic in an “unfair” capacity off the bench because he knows the American can get started off the bench and isn’t sure of the mentality of the others.
But the USMNT star injected fresh air into the stagnant Blues attack with his halftime introduction, assisting Marcos Alonso’s late goal in an influential 45 minutes.
Burnley’s seen Pulisic scored thrice in a game before, and they certainly saw another influential show from the 22-year-old American.
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46th minute: Pulisic enters the fray and appears to be linked with Timo Werner atop a sort of 3-2-3-2 in possession. Pulisic starts to the right of the German.
47th minute: Should he have picked out Timo Werner? Pulisic drives into the Burnley half and his strike partner wants the ball but the chance comes to nothing.
51st minute: Chelsea is further dominating the game, halftime adjustments giving the Blues more danger. They out-attempted Burnley 1-0 in the first half but the threat is palpable as Hudson-Odoi and Mount seek Werner and Pulisic.
55th minute: Pulisic picks up the ball on the right side of his own half and drives to the midfield circle before laying off for Mount, who hits a pass behind the Burnley backs for an offside runner.
58th minute: Pulisic and Werner run side by side and the American peels toward the back post as Hudson-Odoi slips in the German, who cannot get his pass to the USMNT star.
63rd minute: Cuts past Jack Cork and the midfielder chops down Pulisic for a free kick 10 yards inside the Burnley half.
67th minute: There’s freedom for Pulisic to go to the left of Werner, as both players would like to be on the left side.
70th minute: Mount tries to slip in Pulisic and the American can’t get a shot off but does just that within 30 seconds as Hudson-Odoi spots him and the American chops a tricky effort just wide of the far post.
75th minute: Pulisic races to the near post as new sub Reece James’ shot is denied on the doorstep by Nick Pope. The American then works a combination with Mason Mount and James that sees the latter’s cross blocked out.
81st minute: Loses the ball just inside the Burnley half after taking a tricky pass and being quickly bodied by two Clarets.
84th minute: ASSIST. Pulisic sees a cut shot saved by Pope, soon driving the left side to collect an entry. The American cuts a cross toward goal and Alonso takes it out of the air with incredible technique to lash above and beyond the reach of Pope.
90th minute: Pulisic drives the left again and flashes a shot with the outside of his boot that bounds wide of the far post, beyond the reach of Werner.
FT: 45 minutes well-played for a sure-fire starter come Tuesday’s big tilt with Tottenham. Pulisic finishes with 26 touches, an assist, two shots, 3-of-10 in duels, a foul drawn and a foul given plus one clearance. But what won’t show up in the stats is his constant and unpredictable movement, which opened up room for Werner and others. A game-changing day for the Yank.