In the second part of a new series analysing the individual performances of our players this season, we turn to a new addition to the squad last summer...
With football halted for nearly two months now, we are offering a reminder of how the campaign was panning out for each of our squad members. We continue with a young attacker who blossomed at Burnley one Saturday night…
Christian Pulisic: 23 appearances (five as a sub), six goals, five assists
‘I know what a good player he is because I see it close up every day. There are obviously things that he has to learn and improve because he’s just turned 21 and it’s the same as all the other young players, but he knows that and he knows I’m driving that daily in training. We need that from all our attacking players – to be a threat and play like that, have a ruthless edge about how they finish and he showed the full package.’
Those were Frank Lampard’s words after what was without doubt Christian Pulisic’s breakout game in the Premier League.
Some three months earlier, and already a big star in his homeland of the United States, plus a player who had built a reputation in a big European league when at Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic (signed prior to the transfer ban) was the main summer addition along with several young players who had been out on loan. They added a freshness to Lampard’s first Chelsea squad.
Christian Pulisic's Chelsea debut
He made his Chelsea debut as a sub in a defeat away to Manchester United on the opening day, and his first start followed a few days later in the UEFA Super Cup game against Liverpool in Istanbul. The Blues were beaten on penalties but Pulisic set up Olivier Giroud's opener and had a goal of his own ruled out for offside.
He retained his starting place our next three leagues games which included the first win of the season, at Norwich.
However, following a disappointing home draw against Sheffield United, when we let a two-goal lead slip, and then an international break, there were changes for a game at Wolves in mid-September and Chelsea caught fire, going 4-0 up before eventually winning 5-2.
Time on the Premier League bench followed for Pulisic, but it was as an impact sub he played decisive passes in consecutive 1-0 wins over Newcastle and Ajax following the October international break.
Christian Pulisic's first Chelsea goal
Those contributions didn’t go unnoticed as he was handed his first league start for two months in our next outing at Burnley. Pulisic produced a virtuoso attacking performance and was rewarded with not only his first Chelsea goals, but a perfect hat-trick that truly announced his arrival in England.
Christian Pulisic the hat-trick hero
‘I’m absolutely delighted for him,’ Lampard said after the 4-2 win at Turf Moor. ‘There’s been a lot of talk around Christian because of the big price tag, the fact he’s a star in his country and captain of the USA national team.
‘I know his back-story and the pressures of a move like that. I also know that he’s played for his country throughout the summer and only had one week’s break.
‘I’ve tried to deal with it in the way I see best, which is to give him minutes. He has played games this season already but I’ve also got competition in that area and I need them all trying to perform when they get in the team. Christian has been doing that recently from the bench, he fully deserved his start today and it was a fantastic match-winning performance.’
Unsurprisingly Pulisic kept his place in the team and continued his good form with predatory finishes in our next two league games, wins over Watford and Crystal Palace. Later in November he scored his first Champions League goal for us in a crucial draw away to Valencia. It kept progression from the group stages in our hands.
In the absence of injured Tammy Abraham, Pulisic was temporarily relocated to a central striking role in the home loss to West Ham that followed the trip to Spain. By mid-December he had started 12 games in a row in all competitions, a sign of his growing importance to Lampard’s side. His five assists so far this season is a figure bettered only by Willian.
Injury halts Pulisic's season
Early in 2020 Pulisic suffered a tendon injury that proved more disruptive than first feared. Before lockdown his last game had been at Brighton on New Year’s Day, but he told this website in April he had fully recovered.
‘It was a freak injury in training and it put me out a while. But I’m feeling good now, I’ve been training a lot and I’m just really excited to get back out on the field.’
He will be aiming to hit the heights of his performances in October and November when he does.
Christian Pulisic Premier League stats
Christian Pulisic Stats
Christian Pulisic Premier League Appearances 2019/20
Christian Pulisic had made 16 appearances in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season. Four have been as a substitute.
Christian Pulisic Champions League Appearances 2019/20
Christian Pulisic has played four Champions League games this season, his first appearances for Chelsea in the competition. One was off the bench.
Christian Pulisic FA Cup Appearances 2019/20
Christian Pulisic is yet to feature in the FA Cup this season.
Christian Pulisic League Cup Appearances 2019/20
Christian Pulisic made two Carabao Cup appearances this season, both starts.
Christian Pulisic Premier League Goals 2019/20
Christian Pulisic has scored five Premier League goals so far this season, including a hat-trick against Burnley.
Christian Pulisic Champions League Goals 2019/20
Christian Pulisic has scored one Champions League goal, in the away draw with Valencia.
Christian Pulisic FA Cup Goals 2019/20
Christian Pulisic has not scored in the FA Cup this season.
Christian Pulisic League Cup Goals 2019/20
Christian Pulisic did not score in the League Cup this season, although he did provide an assist in the big win over Grimsby.
Christian Pulisic injury 2019/20
Christian Pulisic suffered a adductor injury in training before the Nottingham Forest FA Cup match in early January 2020, and has not played since.