USMNT star Christian Pulisic started and scored a goal in Chelsea’s 2021-22 season-opening 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, as the Blues began their quest to win the Premier League title for the first time in five years on Saturday.
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Hakim Ziyech suffered a nasty shoulder injury in Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup victory over Villarreal on Wednesday, and Romelu Lukaku wasn’t available to make his (re-)debut for the club, thus the start went to Pulisic.
Chances might be fewer and further between for the 22-year-old this season (once everyone is healthy and available) than some USMNT fans might hope to see given the incredible depth of attacking talent at Stamford Bridge. For example, Lukaku’s absence meant that Timo Werner, who figures to see plenty of opportunities on the left wing this season, started up top, opening a spot for the American to make an early case for more opportunities.
Christian Pulisic watch: Minute-by-minute analysis
10th minute: Marcos Alonso finds him with a curling cross atop the six-yard box, but the ball is slightly behind Pulisic and he can’t get much power on his header or redirect it anywhere but straight into Vicente Guaita’s hands.
32nd minute: Pulisic gets shouldered off the ball 30 yards from goal and commits a foul from behind out of frustration.
34th minute: Pulisic gets on the ball 30 yards from goal and drives forward, splits two defenders and is tripped up to win a free kick in a dangerous area.
40th minute: Pulisic arrives right on time to clean up a spilled rebound inside the six-yard box and lifts it over Guaita to make it 2-0 to Chelsea.
69th minute: Pulisic picks out and places a dangerous pass down the right side of the penalty area, but the ensuing cross is blocked and goes out for a corner kick.
72nd minute: Pulisic gets to the end line but can’t find a target in the middle, so he makes an effort at a half-cross, half-shot in hopes of the ball taking a fortuitous bounce, which it wouldn’t.
82nd minute: Pulisic is subbed off with just a few minutes to go, replaced by Kai Havertz.