Christian Mate Pulisic had gargantuan shoes to fill this season, as he was supposedly the replacement for our former best player, Eden Hazard. The 21 year old star came from America, where the term “Football” is used to describe a sport where they use the indicated body part for less than 5% of the game. Pulisic was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania on September 18, 1998. Hershey is a popular tourist destination because it is the home of the famous chocolate makers, Hershey (if you’ve never had a Hershey bar, you’re missing out!). Before he arrived at the Bridge last summer, Pulisic spent his late teens playing at the Dortmund academy and eventually was called up for the senior team at the age of seventeen. Despite his accomplishments at Dortmund, many were skeptical about the young American star and whether he could adapt to the Premier League.
Throughout this season, we have seen glimpses of the potential Pulisic has to become a world class star at this club. Unfortunately for him, injuries and the corona virus pandemic has limited the game time and experience he needed to take him to the next level. Nonetheless, let’s take a deep dive into Pulisic’s accomplishments this season.
The first game Pulisic played in the Premier League was unfortunately a tragedy. Pulisic only played about thirty-two minutes during this game, and thus didn’t really contribute to much. The loss to Manchester United lessened the morale, but Pulisic still continued to play the next 4 games against Leicester, Norwich, and Sheffield. After sitting on the bench for three consecutive games, Pulisic returned against Southampton where he provided an assist. A mere twenty days later, we witnessed just how deadly Pulisic can be when we played against Burnley.
At the Burnley away game, Pulisic bagged a hat-trick in less than sixty minutes. The first goal was a masterclass of Lampard’s style of play, as Pulisic gathered a loose ball from a defending mistake to bag in his first goal as a blue (with his left foot). Later on, he would score again with his other foot, this time getting a somewhat lucky deflection of the defender to get his second. For his third goal, Christian scored a header from a pinpoint Mount corner. The display we witnessed that day showed us what being a little selfish can do for Pulisic. His mesmerizing dribbling brought back memories of Hazard breaking ankles. To help you understand just how monumental this game was, here are some stats. His hat-trick was the first one ever done by an American player for Chelsea. The hat-trick was also classified as a “perfect hat-trick,” because it was done using both feet and the head. The last time we had a perfect hat-trick was back in 2010 when Drogba played against Wigan. Pulisic is also the youngest Chelsea player to ever score a hat-trick, overtaking Tammy after he gained the title 46 days before.
After this game, Pulisic continued to play well but slumped in G+A, partly because the entire team lost its confidence for whatever reason. In January, Pulisic got a strange abductor muscle injury which made him unavailable for the rest of the season before corona virus. His injury, along with the many others in the squad, diminished our arsenal of players and hindered our ability to get more points.
Although stats aren’t a good way to really understand a player’s ability, it’s interesting to see what they are. Christian has six goals and six assists so far this season (in 1576 minutes of play), a decent tally for a newcomer to the league with injuries galore. In the premier league, Pulisic has 16 apps, winning 7 and losing 6 games overall (the rest being draws). He has a 43% shooting accuracy in the league, with 17 shots on target this season. Pulisic’s best trait is unfortunately not reflective in stats, and if you have watched him at all this season, you’d understand why. His on the ball dribbling and speed is nearly unmatched in the league, and it’s pleasing to witness. Dare I say, Pulisic running with the ball is like watching creamy butter slide across the cast iron pan as you get ready to crack the egg. In generality, Pulisic is the definition of “Tekkerz” and “Swaz.”
As the Premier League is set to return on June 17th, Pulisic’s role in the squad will be a topic of hot discussion. He is undoubtedly one of our best attacking players, but having not played in ages, it will be hard to tell if he will start right away or not. His main position this season has been LW, but it would be interesting to see him play as a CAM. One of his selling points was, after all, his versatility when it comes to positions. A combination of Pulisic, Ziyech, and CHO is one to get excited for (unless you’re a rival, of course). Next season will be a huge one for the American star, and Chelsea fans are eager to see him soar.
Edited by: Dan