Christian Pulisic impresses in first Chelsea start

Chelsea didn't win the UEFA Super Cup, but it will have a lot to fell good about.

Three days after losing at Manchester United, 4-0, the Blues faced another Premier League rival, Liverpool, in the annual UEFA curtain-raiser played this year in Istanbul, and took the Reds to a shootout after a 2-2 tie, losing 5-4 when 21-year-old Tammy Abraham's shot on the 10th attempt was saved by Liverpool Adrian, filling in for injured Allison.

Chelsea didn't play as badly against Manchester United as the 4-0 score would indicate and were boosted for the Super Cup by the return of French World Cup champions N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud and the first start for 20-year-old American Christian Pulisic.

Pulisic was excellent in the first half, setting up Giroud for the opening goal in the 36th minute with a precise pass that cut out four Liverpool defenders. Pulisic scored later in the first half but the goal was nullified for offside. Pulisic was quieter in the second half and came off in the 74th minute for 20-year-old Englishman Mason Mount.

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard said he was very pleased with Pulisic's performance.

"Let's not forget Pulisic is 20 -- he goes and gets an assist and will only get better," Lampard said. "He has to get used to teams like Liverpool and how they play."

Chelsea went down in overtime on a goal by Sadio Mane but quickly answered when Abraham was taken down for a penalty kick converted by Brazilian Jorginho.

"I've got nothing but pride in the team and the performance, and confidence in what that means," added Lampard. "After Sunday, tonight was another level, and we were unlucky not to win. We've got three games now till the international break and we'll try to win them all."

Pulisic will be expected to make his debut at Stamford Bridge on Sunday against Leicester City.
3 comments about "Christian Pulisic impresses in first Chelsea start".
  1. Eric Jensen, August 15, 2019 at 11:48 a.m.

    Other than Kante, rest of Chelsea seemed to be reluctant to send the ball in Pulisic's direction. Thought Pulisic looked tenative and not suite sure where he was supposed to be for the first bit of the game

    After his assist, which was an excellent bit of play but also significantly aided by Kante's pass which led Pulisic into the space, obviously Pulisic started to play with more confidence. Also, thought CP and Kante paired very well together throughout.

    The offsides was inexperience and a mistake by CP but to be fair, Liverpool caught a number of Chelsea players in the offisides trap, not just Pulisic. The finish was clinical though.

    Reading Lampard's comments after, his compliments about Pulisic seemed a little forced, particularly in contrast to his comments about Mason Mount.

    Pulisic needs to makes his bones soon, otherwise this could get tough for him. The talent is there but seems like there also needs to be more Pedro-esque edge/intestinal fortitude/angry play for CP to assert himself as a clear success.

  2. R2 Dad replied, August 16, 2019 at 9:05 p.m.

    Agree. I think his adjustment will be how to draw fouls, which will take a few games. EPL defenders are faster, bigger, better, trickier. Did you see how CP got called for a foul at the endline for the push on the huge defender, who flopped like a sack o potatoes? He'll need to outsmart those defenders without getting crushed. EPL referees are worse than the Bundesliga's. VAR in Germany is probably the best version out. I don't believe skill players are as well-protected in England, and there is no guarantee VAR will save his bacon. At Dortmund they counterattacked at speed, usually got one or two up so the opponent couldn't park the bus. At Chelsea, he see will more stacked defenses, more risky/hasty/rash challenges--he will take a beating, just like Hazard did. I'm sure he's happier making more money, but at 5'-7", his body would have lasted longer in the Bundesliga. He could have become another Marco Reus. Hope he doesn't end up another Stu Holden.

  3. Ben Myers, August 15, 2019 at 3:03 p.m.

    As Brooklyn Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber would say, Pulisic is in the catbord seat.  He has a very accomplished midfielder, Lampard, as Chelsea coach and N'golo Kante as a living breathing example of one of the world's best midfielders. Kante and Pulisic are physically comparable, not the biggest strongest midfielders people in the world (compared to Yaya Toure as a recent example), so Pulisic may well improve his work ethic and stamina to match Kante as a role model.

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