In our final summary of how each Chelsea player got on during the 2020/21 campaign, the microscope falls on our American history-maker Christian Pulisic.
The attacker was the first man from his nation to play in a Champions League final when he came off the bench midway through the second half. A little over 30 minutes later, he was the first American to have won the trophy.
It brought the curtain down on an injury-affected season for Pulisic but one that still contained plenty of highs, not least in Madrid and Porto in its final month.
The hamstring injury Pulisic sustained in the FA Cup final in our final game of 2019/20 ruled him out until the sixth fixture of the new campaign, when he came on as a late sub in a big home win over Crystal Palace.
A spate of appearances followed, and a first goal of the season away to Krasnodar, too, but then after feeling his hamstring in the warm-up at Burnley he was removed from the starting line-up. He was ruled out for another month.
In his second game back, against Leeds, he scored the game-sealing goal late on in front of a small crowd at the Bridge, and his fitness remained good for the rest of the season.
Frank Lampard had used him on the right or left of the front three, but when his former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel arrived in January, Pulisic more often than not found himself further infield in more of a 3-4-2-1 shape, initially used largely as an impact sub.
Having come off the bench, he set up the second goal of Tuchel’s reign, Marcos Alonso’s brilliant effort against Burnley, and Emerson’s breakaway strike at home to Atletico Madrid in March.
Back to his best
April brought three league goals in two games, West Brom and Crystal Palace his victims, with one of his strikes at Selhurst Park a near-replica of another lockdown effort in south London.
By this stage of the season he was hitting the heights he managed at the tail-end of the previous one, starting more often, and showcased his ability in the Champions League, too. In the ‘home’ leg against Porto, he was named man of the match having almost single-handedly taken the attack to our physical Portuguese opponents, drawing an astonishing 11 fouls, the most in a single game in the competition in the previous five years.
Then he netted a calm solo effort away to Real Madrid having sat Thibaut Courtois down. He did likewise in the second leg before teeing up Mason Mount to guarantee our place in Porto.
Pulisic looked lively off the bench in the FA Cup final, to no avail, and then again in European football’s showpiece fixture. It was a different outcome this time, though, and despite nearly bagging a second goal when shooting just wide, it mattered not. Pulisic had helped the Blues triumph and in the process written his name into American sporting history.
Christian Pulisic 2020/21 Chelsea stats
Unused sub: 3
Minutes played: 2,633
Christian Pulisic Premier League appearances 2020/21
Christian Pulisic played 27 games in the Premier League for Chelsea this season, coming off the bench for nine of them.
Christian Pulisic Champions League appearances 2020/21
Christian Pulisic made 10 appearances in the Champions League this season, four from the start.
Christian Pulisic FA Cup appearances 2020/21
Christian Pulisic played six games in the FA Cup this season, three of them from the bench.
Christian Pulisic Carabao Cup appearances 2020/21
Christian Pulisic didn't feature in the Carabao Cup this season.
Christian Pulisic goals 2020/21
Christian Pulisic scored six goals for Chelsea in 2020/21, four in the Premier League, and two in the Champions League.