Christian Pulisic

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Chelsea admit they miss USMNT’s Pulisic

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LONDON — Since USMNT star Christian Pulisic was injured in training in the first week of January, Chelsea have lost against Newcastle, drawn with Arsenal and blown away Burnley.

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In the two games where they’ve dropped points they’ve missed Pulisic’s genius in the final third with both Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi easily shackled by Arsenal in their London derby. Chelsea admitted as much when speaking after the 2-2 draw against Arsenal on Tuesday, an Arsenal side who played with 10 men for over 60 minutes of the game.

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk about Pulisic’s adductor injury and if they missed him during the draw against Arsenal, downbeat Chelsea boss Frank Lampard noted that Pulisic, 21, was “playing really well” before his injury.

“Yeah, a game like today could have been a good where he would have been helpful for us because he was playing well for a patch. But other people have to stand up in those situations,” Lampard said.

When will Pulisic be back?

Lampard confirmed he is making good progress but will not be fit until after the mid-season player break in February, which means he will miss their FA Cup trip to Hull City this Saturday and their clash at Leicester City on Feb. 1. He may not be back until Feb. 17 when they host Manchester United in the Premier League, which means in total he will have been out for a period of six weeks.

“In terms of when he’s back, it is not going to be a week, it is probably be the other end of the early February break but he is getting better and he isn’t far away,” Lampard said.

Speaking to Pro Soccer Talk pitch-side at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who scored their late second goal which looked like being the winner, lavished praise on Pulisic when asked about his absence over the last week.

“Christian is a magnificent player. Since he joined us in the summer he has shown us his potential and we know that he can make the difference at any time. Whenever a player is injured it is not good for a team because we lose potential and I hope to have him back soon,” Azpilicueta said.

Chelsea’s skipper is expecting big things from Pulisic when he does return to fitness, as the fourth-place Blues now have just a six-point cushion to those outside of the top four and have played a game more.

It seems like everyone at Chelsea hopes the USMNT star can rejuvenate their attack in the final months of the season.

“After coming to Europe as a young boy to Germany, he came to Chelsea and it is one step forward, playing for Chelsea every game, fighting to win and fighting for trophies,” Azpilicueta said. “In my role I’ve tried to help in settle into the city and the club. He has a brilliant attitude. Always trying to improve. I am sure he will become bigger and bigger.”

Christian Pulisic issues injury update

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USMNT and Chelsea star Christian Pulisic is nursing an adductor injury after a hamstring and hip issue, and we haven’t seen him in action since New Year’s Day and may not seem him for another week or two.

[ MORE: Ranking Pulisic’s first 6 months ]

Pulisic, 21, has become a key figure in Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea side this season and with the Blues in the top four with a five point cushion at just over the halfway point, the Pennsylvanian native is eager to return and help the west London club kick on.

In an interview with ESPN, Pulisic revealed that he is still a few weeks away from returning as he’s set to miss Chelsea’s clash with Newcastle this Saturday, their London derby against Arsenal next Tuesday and their FA Cup trip to Hull City the following Saturday.

“It’s been almost a week, and I’m just kind of taking it day by day. I’m just rehabbing every day. I’m doing my best to be back in the next week, the next couple weeks,” Pulisic said. “I don’t think it should be too long, so I’m just working every day, doing everything I can to be back on the pitch.”

Asked about his battle to become a regular after plenty of time on the bench in September, Pulisic is soaking in everything he can at Chelsea and in the Premier League and he thanked experienced teammates like Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho for helping him through a tough period when he was out of the team.

“I’ve just been trying to learn every day, man. I mean, I’m still learning,” Pulisic explained. “It’s my first season now, kind of halfway through, so I’m just kind of learning to take it day by day, game by game and just focusing on the next opponent and just getting ready and healthy for the next game because it’s always right around the corner. It’s just a lot of competition, I think, in every game, within your team, and for every game, it’s just been great learning from some of my teammates. And yeah, just being here in London, I’m just kind of taking it all in.”

Pulisic was also asked about his first six months in England overall, and he is pretty happy to have battled back from adversity and is looking forward to finishing the season strong.

“You know, everyone says I’m going to go into the Premier League, it’s a big change, it’s tough. It’s a league where there’s definitely a lot of games, a lot of stuff going on, and it wasn’t easy for me at the beginning, of course,” Pulisic said. “I think I’m really proud of how I pushed through things and then I got my opportunity, and I felt I was playing very well recently, and I’m proud. It’s been great. I’ve been enjoying it so much. You know, the football culture here is amazing, and I’m really happy, and I’m so excited to finish off the season strong.”

Now that Pulisic is used to the physical grind of the Premier League it will be intriguing to see how the USMNT star finishes the campaign as Chelsea push hard in the PL, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup.

He then has the Nations League tournament with the U.S. this summer and his status as a leader in Gregg Berhalter’s squad means all eyes will be on him when he returns to his homeland.

All in all, a very decent first six months from Pulisic who is just ahead of schedule when it comes to these early days at Chelsea.

Rating Pulisic’s first six months at Chelsea

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USMNT star Christian Pulisic has now been at Chelsea for around six months and it is safe to say the winger has enjoyed a topsy-turvy start to life in the Premier League.

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Pulisic, 21, has scored a hat trick, was left on the bench for over a month, had to deal with injuries and starred during their successful UEFA Champions League group stage campaign. At one point it looked like he would leave Chelsea on loan in January and then shortly after he was indispensable to Frank Lampard‘s side.

[ MORE: Pulisic Latest

Here’s a look back at Pulisic’s first six months at Chelsea, as we rate each month and give his opening half a season in west London an overall rating.


July – 6/10
Arrived in Japan in preseason, straight from starring for the USMNT at the Gold Cup, and was really good in a preseason win against Barcelona. Ripped it up as he scored twice against RB Salzburg in a preseason win in Austria and generally looked fit and sharp.


August – 6/10
The month started well as he made his Premier League at Man United (Paul Pogba gave him a warm welcome) and was in the starting lineup as Chelsea won a few games as he assisted at Norwich and against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup final. A few disappointing results against Sheffield United and Leicester at home saw him doing a lot of defensive work, which isn’t his game at all, as he often took the easy option when on the ball instead of running at defenders.


September – 2/10
A very frustrating month for Pulisic, as he told us, as he spent most of the month on the bench and only played against Grimsby Town in the League Cup. A low point for Pulisic as he was clearly frustrated and Chelsea were playing well with other youngsters shining. Lampard explained why Pulisic wasn’t playing and that he would have to wait his turn to get back in the team.


October – 8/10
A proper comeback month for Pulisic, as he came off the bench and grabbed assists in wins against Southampton and Ajax and then dazzled with a perfect hat trick against Burnley. That hat trick was the youngest by a Chelsea player in PL history and the youngest ever by an American in England’s top-flight. He had truly arrived in the big time.


November – 8/10
Another great month as he really found his stride. Aside from goals and assists he was playing with confidence and creating chances and chaos every time he got on the ball and drifted inside. He scored against Watford and Crystal Palace in fine displays in the Premier League, plus scored a key goal away at Valencia in the Champions League. He was one of the first names on the teamsheet.


December – 7/10
Continued his form from November early in the month but then suffered a bit of knock which saw him left out of the team over the festive period. Failed to score or assist in five games in December but was playing well enough when on the ball. Chelsea’s form took a nosedive with home defeats to Bournemouth, West Ham and Southampton.


January – 3/10
Has only played once so far in January due to ongoing injuries, according to Frank Lampard. Pulisic started the draw at Brighton and had plenty of shots on goal which were just off target or saved. A promising display but he admitted he could do better with his finishing.


Overall score: 40/70
This score feels about right. Pulisic has battled back really well from adversity early in his Chelsea career, as Lampard left him on the bench in September. October and November were superb before a little dip in December as he battled a few knocks. All in all, his first six months at Chelsea have gone a little better than most were expecting. Now he is settled in, the best is yet to come from the Pennsylvanian Messi.

Pulisic on Chelsea form: ‘I can do better’

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Christian Pulisic has admitted he must improve his finishing as Chelsea dropped more points in the Premier League on New Year’s Day.

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The USMNT star, 21, returned to the Chelsea starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 14 in their 1-1 draw at Brighton and lasted 66 minutes after his slight hamstring issue.

Pulisic had several shots on goal at Brighton but he and his Chelsea teammates couldn’t double their advantage after taking an early lead.

“We said at half time that we had the chance to kill the game and we just weren’t able to,” Pulisic said. “We couldn’t get the goal and in the end they found an unbelievable goal. So now it is about doing a bit more to keep going, attack and create chances and just have that killer instinct. Just a little bit of that, we are missing that.

“I can do better with that as well. Just being more clinical in the final third, finding the right pass or shot and scoring the goals. That’s both mental and technical. After we scored the first goal it was just about continuing and just not stopping there, making it two or three and putting the game to bed. We’ve had troubles with that this year and then in the end, they fought until the end, scored a great goal and that is how it goes.”

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – How did he perform? ]

Pulisic got into some great positions and caused Brighton lots of issues with his dribbling and clever runs in the final third, but his shooting was wayward. He snatched at a few shots and looked like he was hurrying a little and maybe that is because he’s now gone seven games with a goal or an assist for Chelsea.

His purple patch in October and November proves he can score goals in the Premier League but Pulisic just needs that little bit of luck to get the ball rolling again. Everything else is going well but as he said himself, he needs to improve his finishing.

Chelsea need to improve theirs overall too, as Frank Lampard‘s side continue to blow hot and cold in their battle to finish in the top four and cannot keep squandering big chances against teams in the bottom half of the table.

Pulisic admitted that with Chelsea now able to buy players in the January window due to their transfer ban reduced upon appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) he is now relishing the chance to compete with new players for minutes.

“It is normal that teams look to improve and and if players do come in there is competition, that is how it goes,” Pulisic said. “So we’ll be ready for that and hopefully we’ll have players that come in and want to help us.”

Pulisic watch: How did USMNT star perform?

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Christian Pulisic was back for his first start in the Premier League since December 14, and the USMNT winger put in a very solid shift for Chelsea at Brighton and Hove Albion on New Year’s Day.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Pulisic played 66 minutes at left wing for Chelsea at the Amex, as he was replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi.

After missing the win at Arsenal due to a slight hamstring issue, Pulisic looked fit enough down at Brighton and got plenty of shots away during his time on the pitch, even if he seemed a little rushed in the final third.

Here’s a closer look at how the 21-year-old performed for the Blues.


7th minute: Struggling to get involved and sees some link up play with Jorginho cut out.

9th minute: Picks the ball up out wide, runs inside and passes to Willian on the right flank. That leads to a Reece James cross which is blocked for a corner. From that corner Azpilicueta bundles home to give Chelsea the lead.

14th minute: Surging run forward to help start a Chelsea attack.

24th minute: Takes on two Brighton players and whips a dangerous cross into the box but nobody is close to it.

26th minute: Links up well with Mason Mount who has a cross cleared.

28th minute: His pressure helps Chelsea to win the ball back as Abraham races in on goal.

31st minute: Loses the ball on the halfway line after a poor first touch as Brighton snap into the challenge.

34th minute: Starts to pop up in more central areas with some nice little touches.

36th minute: Works back well and blocks Bissouma’s cross for a corner.

40th minute: Wins a throw in after a good tackle on the wing. Lovely close control to cut inside and is then tackled but no foul is given.

45th minute + 2: Cuts inside and links up well with Kante before firing an effort inches wide of the far post. So close to a goal.

53rd minute: Heads an effort tamely wide at the back post.

54th minute: Dribbles at goal and fires a low effort which Ryan saves,.

55th minute: Cuts inside and squeezes in a shot on goal which trickles a few yards wide.

65th minute: Played in brilliantly by Willian and his low shot is pushed away by Ryan, then his cross is half cleared before James has a shot deflected wide. Great direct running from Pulisic, who then shanks a shot at goal which is cleared and that is his last act of the game as he is subbed off.

Frank Lampard gives him a high five as Callum Hudson-Odoi comes on. Pulisic is wrapped up on the bench and doesn’t look best pleased about being the first Chelsea player subbed off, but who would?