Christian Pulisic and the Chelsea numbers game

Christian Pulisic is still looking for the first Premier League start under new Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

The 22-year-old American did not play in the Blues' 2-0 win over Newcastle United that moved them back into the top four in the Premier League. He has played just 85 minutes in five games for Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard in late January.

Chelsea has won its last four Premier League games under Tuchel after it played to a 0-0 tie with Wolves in his first game in charge.

The Newcastle match marked the first time Pulisic was an unused sub -- Tuchel excused him from the 2-1 win at Sheffield United for family reasons -- though Tuchel said two factors worked against Pulisic on Monday.

The German had to burn one of his subs in the first half when Olivier Giroud came on in the 20th minute for injured Tammy Abraham. Premier League clubs are only allowed three subs. Approval for five subs has been turned down three times, most recently by a vote of 10-10 in December (14 of 20 clubs needed to vote for the measure to be implemented).

“Today, the first change was already made in the first half from injury," said Tuchel, "and Christian was a very tight decision if he starts again after the cup game, or if he comes on from the bench. We decided for another eleven to start. Unfortunately, we only had three changes which makes it very difficult to give time to the players, to let everybody play, and to have an impact with the changes of fresh legs. That makes it difficult and the third change we didn’t want to use too early.”

The second-half subs were both defensive in nature: French World Cup champion N'Golo Kante for Mason Mount and Reece James for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

“During the match, we did what we normally do which is to only change to win the match,” Tuchel added. “He deserves to start, or to come in but I could only use three guys. I hope he keeps on going and he will make an important impact for us in the future.”

Pulisic went through similar issues last season under Lampard. He was in and out of the lineup, then injured. But when the Premier League resumed in June after being shut down for three months because of the pandemic, the American was one of the best players in the Premier League, scoring goals, creating them for teammates and drawing penalties.

But since a hamstring injury suffered in the FA Cup final, Pulisic has not been the same player. His assist on the second goal in the 2-0 win over Burnley, Chelsea's first win under Tuchel, was his first Premier League assist of the season to go along with one goal in 15 games.

Pulisic has been at his best when he played on the left wing, but German Timo Werner, a $57 million signing from RB Leipzig, has been playing on the left side in Tuchel's three-player frontline.

Another big attacking threat, Hakim Ziyech, has not played a Premier League game for Chelsea since the Wolves game. The Moroccan international was a $48 million signing from Ajax last summer. He has been in and out of the squad with injuries and reportedly wants a transfer.

Young German star Kai Havertz (signed for $92 million last summer from Bayer Leverkusen) has been injured and hasn't played since the Burnley game.
4 comments about "Christian Pulisic and the Chelsea numbers game".
  1. R2 Dad, February 16, 2021 at 7:57 a.m.

    " I hope he keeps on going and he will make an important impact for us in the future.”

    Toast. Those 3 skill players need new homes.
    Tuchel has turned into the grizzled veteran coach who just wants results, and I think his man-management went for naught at PSG. Squad rotation is a luxury, especially when all the talking heads go on about "finding your best 11", how Lampard  was never  able to do that and that's why he failed. No, I think Tuchel saw Mourinho win a title for Chelsea by grinding down that best 11 and that's his plan for the  rest of this season. 

  2. Peter Bechtold replied, February 16, 2021 at 11:26 a.m.

    Maybe. But it is far too early to judge. The coach is new to the league and to the country.( Not to mention English food; after Paris !!!).
    Speaking of Paris: Tuchel had the highest winning percentage of any coach in the history of PSG. We should revisit this topic in 3 months but not jump to conclusions.

  3. David Ruder replied, February 16, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.

    As I said last week, with the signing of Timo Werner I saw the end of Christians play at Chelsey. Perhaps the less physical play in the Bundesliga suits him better. Bayern was interested in him, Barcelona could use some younger impact players. 

  4. frank schoon, February 16, 2021 at 12:43 p.m.

    There are several reasons for how Tuchel coaches.One, the most important one,is he interested only in results, after all, he just got fired because of poor results and Chelsea is a results oriented team. Two, he is German, therefore Creative play is not a characteristic of German soccer , like Beckenbauer states ,'we are hard workers, we don't produce nice technical players". Three, Tuchel's backround is having played a little in the 2nd division, a few games, as a central DEFENDER, so you can tell he was one player full of 'creativity, <sarc>, obviously he was not named, 'Mr. Skill' by his teammates. Hmmm, this backround description sounds very similar to someone else who coaches.

    This is why I don't want German, nor English coaches involved in our boys development here...I would love to see the day that our boys don't go to Germany or England for their soccer development....

    Chelsea is a TURBO team and with Tuchel as coach he relies on turbo, counterattacking style of  game with accent on defense.ulisic is just another turbo type of player and as far as Tuchel is concerned he has better turbo players then Pulisic.
    Lampard tried to change the make up and style of Chelsea with more intelligent play by bringing in Ziyech. Pulisic is just another turbo type of player and as far as Tuchel is concerned he has better turbo players then Pulisic. 

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