Holiday Blues continue for Christian Pulisic's Chelsea

The decline in outlays on the European transfer market didn't apply to Chelsea.

The London club spent almost $300 million over the primary transfer window to acquire Germans Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, Moroccan Hakim Ziyech, English defender Ben Chilwell and Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

After a fourth-place finish with a young team that included new American star Christian Pulisic, Chelsea was supposed to challenge for the Premier League title. Instead, it finds itself in sixth place and could be as low as eighth when the Premier League ends the 2020 portion of the season on Wednesday.

After a 3-1 loss to Arsenal on Boxing Day, Chelsea tied Aston Villa, 1-1, on Monday.

Following Saturday's loss, second-year manager Frank Lampard blasted his players and their "lazy" performance. On Monday, he played a different tune.

“I can’t ask for more from the players today," he said. "No one let me down, everyone worked hard, we didn’t get the rub of the green.”

The point against Villa was just the Blues' fourth in their last five Premier League games.

“You want to get results at this point of the year," the under-fire Lampard added. "I could feel the players’ disappointment at the end because they want to win. A few weeks ago people were talking about us as title challengers, now it’s a difficult period. The new players are going to get better as they come along.”

Pulisic has started the last four games after being out for almost four weeks with a hamstring injury that kept him out of the USA's November friendlies.

With Ziyech also injured, Pulisic was mostly used on the right wing before returning to his preferred left wing against Aston Villa. His only Premier League goal this season came off the bench against Leeds United on Dec. 5. He helped set Olivier Giroud's goal in the first goal but missed a couple of opportunities of his own.

Lampard praised Pulisic, though.

"Christian was really bright all game," he said. "That’s great for him, fitness-wise, to play two games in such a short space of time. He created plenty of chances, he had an opportunity himself when he hit the side-netting and it looked like it was in but overall, he was really bright."

Photo: Sportimage/Imago/Icon Sportswire

5 comments about "Holiday Blues continue for Christian Pulisic's Chelsea".
  1. Philip Larkin, December 29, 2020 at 9:11 a.m.

    Was it Pulicic who was offsides in the sequence before the second half goal that was nullified?

  2. frank schoon, December 29, 2020 at 12:25 p.m.

    I watched some  of the game, and noticed that Pulisic's face didn't look at all happy. I could be wrong as I am rarely :) Also, to me at least, nuance-wise, his spirit and movement was different in this game, not fluid, but stiff. Maybe, the scolding of Lampard upon most of the players for the 'lack of' in the previous loss had some effect, who knows.

     It is so obvious but Chelsea without Ziyech plays totally different. What he brings to the team is more sophistication, more options, more movement and a more focused point of  attack He has that ability to be a ball magnet, in other words, his presence draws the ball to him. But right now the team has too much turbo without the necessary brakes  to shift and change up things that Ziyech is so good at.

  3. David Ruder, December 29, 2020 at 12:42 p.m.

    Would like to see Christian take charge of the ball more often and advance the ball latterly if needed instead of backpass to often that slows down the momentum, even if he doesn't have numbers upfront.

  4. frank schoon replied, December 29, 2020 at 1:07 p.m.

    David , I disagree with you on Pulisic. He is young and his asset is speed, quickness and the best position for him would be on the flanks where he could take advantage of the 1v1 situations, and furthermore allow him to penetrate forcing the opponent's defense to drop back and thereby making it more difficult for them since it forces the centerbacks to choose ,watch the ball or their man but they can't do both.

    He's not mature enough in his style or manner of play to take charge of the ball 'a la Ziyech'. 
    He lacks the passing ability to be taking charge of the ball and going latterly for that not  only nullifies his strength, he employs on the flanks, but also forces him to look more for passing options which is not what he needs to be doing.

    I agree , he shouldn't be passing backwards but that is because he lacks good passing ability in its various forms. Players that tend to pass backwards a lot tend to lack creative thinking which is the point that I was making about his deficiency in passing abilities.  Use him where he is good at.

    Lateral passes are just as bad as backpasses, for lateral passes can be intercepted causing a counter atttack at midfield. Lateral movement towards the middle with ball doesn't do anything for Pulisic's game.....

  5. beautiful game, January 3, 2021 at 10:13 p.m.

    When a key player is sidelined or underperforms the team attacking mechanics suffer. This lateral or back-passing diatribe is a hodge podge observation and an unsophisticated player blame game.

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