Christian Pulisic shows off 'top quality' in box

Christian Pulisic scored his first goal for Chelsea since the Premier League's opening day on Aug. 14, slotting home Hakim Ziyech's pass in the first-place Blues' 3-0 win at Leicester City.

Pulisic and Ziyech came on in the 62nd minute, and they teamed up nine minutes later for the third goal after Pulisic came close to finishing off a carbon-copy chance from Ziyech minutes earlier.

Pulisic, who set up a goal by Callum Hudson-Odoi that was called back for offside and scored a goal ruled out for offside, was playing his second Premier League game  for Chelsea since an ankle injury suffered in the USA's 4-1 win at Honduras in World Cup 2022 qualifying on Sept. 8.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has often praised Pulisic for his ability to get open in the penalty area and lauded him for moves in the six-yard box:
“It is one of his key qualities to arrive exactly like this, very in the box but not only in the box but also in the six-yard box. That is a top quality from him and we need this,” Tuchel said. “He gives us something from repetitive sprints, intensity on and off the ball, but he is at the end of the attacks, he is hungry to score and to arrive in the box. This is where we need players to be dangerous and to score. Very happy that after a long time where he suffered from Coronavirus and injury that he is back and decisive straight away.”
31 comments about "Christian Pulisic shows off 'top quality' in box".
  1. R2 Dad, November 21, 2021 at 11:49 a.m.

    This is Tuchel man management 101. "You're very important and all BUT I'm still not starting you AND I can't loan or sell you. Hang tight, don't get injured and we may win something in May."

  2. Paul Krieg replied, November 21, 2021 at 12:16 p.m.

    @R2Dad - I hope you're wrong.  I think it's too soon to call for a move out of Chelsea, but it may come.  I hope you're wrong, but I fear you may be right...

    Tuchel's treatment of Pulisic last year sucked.  This year, I have to notch much of it to the fact that Christian hasn't been match fit.  At this point, Christian needs to fight his way back into the starting lineup and hold on with sustrained, healthy play.  If he can't stay healthy and contriute, it's on him (Pulisic).  If he can stay healthy and contribute, and Tuchel still just plays him as a super sub, then it would be Tuchel's clear problem.  I hope that Pulisic can emerge as a clear leader as the 10 at Chelsea

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 12:18 p.m.

    He's Never going to be a #10... He Needs to get to Barca

  4. R2 Dad replied, November 21, 2021 at 12:40 p.m.

    Santi, I don't see him as a 10 either. So who does fill that spot, Aaronson? Not pertinent at the moment as GB seems to prefer a 4-3-3 with a six and two 8s.

  5. Seth Vieux replied, November 21, 2021 at 4:34 p.m.

    Santi I don't think he means 10 positionally, just that he was awarded that jersey number last off season (by Lampard, not Tuchel it must be said), and that the jersey number itself usually means something about the importance of a player to a club.

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 9:28 p.m.

    R2- Reyna or Busio... Busio actually got into the attack for Venezia today... Got a Lucky "Assist" as  he Tried to "Out of Control" Dribble thru 3 Players on at the Top of the 18... Ball Rebounded off him to his Teammate who Scored for 1-0 Win on the Road in SerieA... No Small Feat.!!!... Tessmann also Played last 30 or So, and Helped to "Lock Down" the Midfield... Ggg gonna have to Start Thinking about him as a Replacement for Acosta

  7. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 9:38 p.m.

    Yeah Seth, What does #10 Mean anyway.???.  10 to me is Pele( or Bo Derek.!!!)...10 Could be Maradona or Messi... If they think we should play a False #9, CT. Fw... I am opposed... USA Plays best with 3 Front, For High Pressure. Taking 1 guy out of front Line desn't work for USA style of Play.

  8. John Sabala replied, November 22, 2021 at 2:43 a.m.

    R2, you are spot on with TT manangement of the team. No one is above being benched based on performance, practice and resulys on the pitch.  TT knows his players very well and does not make too many mistakes with starting XI or his subs off the bench.  He understands the game before it starts and how to make the appropriate adjustments.  I don't think he wants Pulisic to leave.  Chelsea went through a lot of injuries and players out besides CP and still found ways to win.  Chelsea's style of play from its 3-4-2-1 does not change much. High press, quick counters from turnovers and attacking centrally into the box.  CP playing with Mount, Ziyech, Hudson-Odoil, and  Havertz has made him a much better player.  He is pushed every single day and continues to become a better player.  One big difference (other than Mount maybe) is Pulisic's confidence he going to find a way to score.  You can feel it when he is on the pitch.  His knack for being in the right place and finishing it hard to teach. A lot of instinct here.

    He is best out wide taking on people 1v1, making penetrating runs into the box, and creating goal chances with good passing.  One thing that has changed if you have follwed him the last five years is his vision, movement off the ball and passing.  Often with the USMNT he has had to dribble and create all on his own over the last five years because of the lack of talent around him.  This will change if GB will adopt a true possession game. We have the players to do it, if he gets them all on the pitch together consistently.  I am curious who he will bring in for the December friendly?

  9. Santiago 1314, November 21, 2021 at 12:16 p.m.

    Can he Teach Sargent how to make things "Happen" in the Box.???

  10. P Van replied, November 21, 2021 at 12:29 p.m.

    Sargent would likely score more goals playing alongside and receiving service from Chelsea's players...

  11. John Sabala replied, November 22, 2021 at 2:47 a.m.

    You and I have said this in previous conversations.  If Sargeant is playing with the guys from the October and November window he is scoring goals for us, no doubt.  

    P Van,
    I said this in a previous discussion about Sargeant being left of the USMNT roster.  If Lewandowski is playing for Norwich, he would not be scoring either from a lack of service to him in dangerous positions.  GB puts too much weight in MLS guys playing minutes in MLS matches, not against the quality of training or league being played by other individuals. The USMNT should be 90% European based players and 10% MLS. Just the plain truth.

  12. P Van, November 21, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

    But I hear you--his movement and guile and agression is not Pulisician.

  13. Sam Bellin replied, November 21, 2021 at 2:37 p.m.

    Pulisic has incredible first-step acceleration.  That's why he frequently arrives in the box at just the right moment, and also why he is so dangerous as a 1 v1 attack dribbler.  He has many other good qualities as well, but it is his speed that separates him from other good players.  I know we have lots of readers on SA who downplay "turbo" players and minimize the usefulness of speed in soccer in general, but if you watch enough of Pulisic you will see that his uncommon speed and acceleration is what makes him such an asset.

  14. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 9:41 p.m.

    Right on Sam: Imagine CP at Farca.???

  15. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 9:43 p.m.

    PV... Pulisician. ???... That a classic, I'm gonna "steal It".!!!

  16. humble 1 replied, November 22, 2021 at 9:27 a.m.

    The acceleration and quickness of Pulisic are useless if he is does not think fast and smart.  This is his number one asset, his soccer brain.  He is in the class of player that is able to read fast and make good decisions lighting fast. It is often his movement off the ball, not with the ball, that you see this.  This is why Luis Suarez brought the trophy for AM last year, he still has his number one asset, his lightening fast soccer brain with all his experience and guile baked in.  Cheers!

  17. Stan Meihaus, November 21, 2021 at 2:18 p.m.

    Can you guys give us a break on the true 10s and the false 9s and the two 8s and the real 6? That shit is as played as parachute pants. The 80s called, they want their soccer terminology back.

  18. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 9:52 p.m.

    My Point Exactly Stan. In My Coaching. Since the 80s I never used #s... I felt with Total Soccer #s became Irrelevant... At any given Moment In The Modem Game, a player may be required to Be Lt Back or RT Wing... This Pigeon Holing of Players "BACK"into Fixed #Positions is stupid and Counter Productive To The Free "Beautiful" Game we would all like to see. !!!

  19. stewart hayes, November 21, 2021 at 3:51 p.m.

    We definitely want people like Christian in and around the penalty area.  How teams make that happen is the challenge depending on their personel.  He does not strike me as a player who will score much from long range or at the far post battling central defendes.  This is why we see him taking people on with great success around the panaltyd area.  He is very dangerous there for many reasons not the least of which one really has to foul him to get the ball.  He should work on his free kicks to become the go to free kick specialist on the USMNT.  GB has to modiy his 4-3-3 to get him in and around the penalty area for like a false 9 with freedeom to go anywhere his instintics tell him IMO. 

  20. Wooden Ships replied, November 21, 2021 at 4:14 p.m.

    Agree with you Stewart although with the Senior team, not sure the formation will matter, CP will chase the game regardless. Players need to recognize each other's positioning and respond accordingly. The strict adherence (hopefully the youth development is understanding it's limits) to formation dogma is stifling creative-attacking movement. CP is not a central attacker he needs to stay wide. He is also injury prone so he's not one that should have the ball at his feet for very long. You mention working on his restarts, definitely agree, but also work on his shots from outside the box. With respect to Berhalter, Christian doesn't hold him in high regard and he needs to be careful and understand he's one guy on a team. We don't need him to carry a nation which is preposterous, we need him to play smart a d help his teammates be successful. 

  21. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 10:06 p.m.

    No Stewart, No False #9... We Need a 3 man Front to GegenPress... We are Not Good ENOUGH to Play Out of the Back, Long Slow Tiki-Taka Build Up... It conterintuntive To The American Psyche....Press High and Play off other Teams Mistakes... Look what happend To Adams at RB this Weekend... Almost happened to Busio Also....and These are our 2 Best Ball Handers in the Midfield.... CP has not shown that he can play In Between the Lines as a False 9 with Pressure Coming from 4 Directions... Why would we want to wreck a good thing... Don't FIX WHAT AIN'T BROKE!!!

  22. Santiago 1314 replied, November 21, 2021 at 10:14 p.m.

    Yes Wooden, USA Players are Best When They "Chase The Game"... Run at People, Go Find the Game... MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN... Thats when we are at our Best... This "painting by The #s" way of Playing is Un-American!!!

  23. frank schoon, November 22, 2021 at 9:11 a.m.

    There were some good comments made from you guys but what I miss which is usually the case when we see videos of our boys scoring a goal in Europe is the LACK of insight about the pass that led up to Pulisic's goal. Everybody gets excited about the goal scored but we need to begin to give  more  attention to the pass , and how it was given. If we are going to develop our soccer we have to begin to view soccer with a little more sophistication, rather than usually 'OH Wow, nice goal'.  Begin to look at the WHY's and HOW's more so for that would bring about more interesting discussions and more importantly it will also aid to education of the non-sophisticated fan of which we have many of. 

    Sam Bellin had mentioned that some posters, like myself, look down their noses at Turbo. I think those who interpreted that way miss the point. It is like someone saying that I don't like long balls because he's not a fan of English soccer. The point is long balls are NECESSARY when needed, just like Turbo is NECESSARY when needed. But when it becomes a style of play that's when I criticize it, for it becomes PREDICTABLE. Pulisic's style ,Turbo, has become a "MINDSET' with him. He's been in Germany where 'running' ,energy ,fight, turbo has definitely played a big part in his development.

    Visualize, Pulisic receiving the ball and what first comes to mind???....he's off to the races with the ball. Even when he doesn't have the ball like at the two attempts at scoring a goal, he's in a running mode.  But this time his turbo run is 'right on' and employed properly. But it seems like all his actions  are framed around turbo....And therefore, he's become very predictable thus making it easier for the defender to expect what he's going to do next and that might also play a part in why he gets injured so much.

    Look at Ziyech ,the former Ajax winger, he can run, but his action could be a run or a pass into an empty space for Pulisic to run into to or simply a pass back. You don't know what he's going to do but I do know he won't outrun someone on speed but will use his speed, like when he zig- zagged his opponent putting him off balance creating the pass to Pulisic. BINGO....
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  24. frank schoon, November 22, 2021 at 10:02 a.m.

    You notice how Ziyech creates space for himself through creating options for himself by how he plays and thus the opponent won't fully commit because he knows Ziyech is not going turbo at the opponent unless there is a case for it. And this is why Ziyech has the effect of creating some nice passes into the box leading up to goals...That is why Frank Lampard brought Ziyech to Chelsea. Pulisic instead gets the ball and goes at his opponent and the opponent knows it.

    Pulisic, is not the type, once receiving the ball, to look around, lay it off, put the defender to sleep and pick his moment by waiting till the defender's eyes move away to look at the ball and quickly strike and make a turbo run to receive the ball. Pulisic instead needs to EXPAND his options that doesn't entail having to beat the opponent 1v1. A great cross with the left foot that bends away, outsight of the foot pass, more jab passes...etc...He has to move away from this NEANDERTHAL , ONE DIMENSIONAL STYLE OF SOCCER for he won't last otherwise...

    I agree with Santie, that we need 3attackers up front of which two of them need to be on the flanks, the centerforward can be a false #9 or whatever for it depends on the how the backline plays ,and who plays centerback. As far as playing by the #s, I do think a #10 is one of the better players on the team for it began with Pele. I think every kid wanted a #10shirt.

    Today, with the 'garanimals' type of mindset coaches, who need computer programs, laptops, satellite systems who talk of 'double sixes' , 'double tens', 'false #9';adding to our lexicon of terms, 'double 10', 'false 9' , 'Zone 14', 'box to box', 'skillset'. Why even bother with coaching a team buy a soccer game board  to coach using the roll of the dice to move the pieces; having watched some of the college play offs, what i've seen is that many of these players look like they came right off the game board as set pieces.
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  25. frank schoon, November 22, 2021 at 11:05 a.m.

    Rinus Michels, never mentioned his players by name but by numbers, only. He'll say go in for #7 or #4,etc, for example, so you better know the ROLE of that position. Soccer is not about playing tactical system 4-3-3, 5-3-2 scoobie doo, 3-4-3 or whatever. To say play system 4-3-3 is meaningless without the necessary 'concepts'. For it is the 'concepts' that you follow to play with system 4-3-3. But when do you ever hear discussing  the concepts that are necessary. Instead all we hear are the LEXICONS, and all the other meaningless generalities.

    Total soccer has brought about some fallacies of thinking and that is everyone plays everybody's positions ,willy nilly. That is wrong! First of all there never was Total Soccer, and it can never be played for every player has different expertise and therefore are limited to the positions capable of being played. Therefore we employ numbers for positions.   The term 'Total Soccer' is another one of those meaningless terms created by nitwits as part of the soccer lexicon.

    Take the term double #6, what does that entail??? Well, it means the cross pass from the back to the opposite wing is almost eliminated. It definitely means Pulisic will receive the ball to his feet with his back facing downfield around midfield which is useless. He as a result will gives more space away to the opponents.

    It means more running from the back going forwards for we have no intermediary outside other words there is a huge gap between wing and back. This dynamic can result into the team breaking up into two halves, the front line along with the #10, and possibly a #6 as well and the other half.
    The two centerbacks and both #6 clog things up for the centerbacks to be able to move forwards to help out at mid. for numerical superiority.

    This means the backs will be receiving the ball more which eliminates your other flank in the run of play. That is why the back should not be employed in the build up but only for attacking purposes.
    Also the back along with #6's have less forward passing options. 

    I'll stop here but there so much to deal with when deciding a system that is comes down to the concepts of play. To throw in terms like double 6, really does no justice for you throw away  the most meaningful aspect of each player's ability(s)

  26. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2021 at 11:36 a.m.

    Besides the cross pass elimated from the back to the opposite wing, more importantly the pass from the #6 to the opposite wing.....

  27. Santiago 1314 replied, November 22, 2021 at 2:20 p.m.

    Did RM Ever SAY: Go In For #14.???

  28. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2021 at 2:59 p.m.

    I wonder if he ever said #14 meaning #9 position.... :)

  29. Santiago 1314 replied, November 22, 2021 at 5:05 p.m.

    I'd have to go back and see when Cruijff started wearing #14,(Did anyone EVER go IN for Him.???) and What Position did #13 Muller Play.???? (Trick Question.. He played Der Bomber.!!!)

  30. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2021 at 5:23 p.m.

    He wore it while playing for Ajax. When he was hurt, Gerrit Muhren the best technical player wore Cruyff's shirt while he was recuperating. When Cruyff came back Muhren was wearing the #9shirt, so Cruyff decided to wear another jersey number which turned out to be #14. In those days the player names were not placed on jerseys and numbers were not identified with the players like they do now.....No one ever went in for Cruyff, but realize Ajax played first  424, four strikers, then switched to 433. In the European cup of 1971 against the Greek team Panatinaikos which Puskas coached, Ajax played with 4strikers.

    The players at Panatinaikos once challenged Puskas to juggle a watermelon seed. The most any player could do was 14x.....Puskas 43x.......

  31. frank schoon replied, November 22, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.

    Der Bomber played CF the point man. The Bayern played 433. or rather 1-3-3-3

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