Christian Pulisic deserves more time at Chelsea

Christian Pulisic deserves more time at Chelsea

Name a more iconic duo than Chelsea and underwhelming forwards. I’ll wait.

Pedro, Willian, Falcao, Alexandre Pato, Michy Batshuayi, Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain have all flown the disappointing flag over the past six years, but there have been plenty of new members at the concerningly unexclusive club this season.

Timo Werner, Kai HavertzTimo Werner, Kai Havertz
Timo Werner & Kai Havertz are yet to meet expectations | Julian Finney/Getty Images

2020/21 has burdened Chelsea fans with poor performances from Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, and the latest man to take a seat in the rickety clubhouse is American winger Christian Pulisic.

In 25 appearances in all competitions so far this year, Pulisic has contributed just two goals and one assist – form which is yet to endear him to new manager Thomas Tuchel.

Rumoured to be frustrated by his lack of minutes under the German, Pulisic has seen his name linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge recently, but Chelsea would be foolish to act so abruptly and cut ties with the American after this of all seasons.

2020/21 has pretty much been a write-off for everyone on the planet, inside and outside of football. Everything has been turned upside down, and we’ve seen countless players struggle to deal with the intense schedule that has come from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Christian PulisicChristian Pulisic
Pulisic has struggled more than most | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

As a player whose injury struggles were clear to see even before this all started, Pulisic has been hampered more than most this year, and it has led to some genuinely disappointing performances. He’s yet to start in the Premier League under Tuchel, and you can’t really argue with that. He hasn’t deserved it.

Pulisic’s problem is that he is so wedded to the left side of the pitch, where he has been competing with Werner. While Twitter might have you believe the German has flopped this year, his return of ten goals and nine assists shows he still has worth at Stamford Bridge. That’s what Pulisic is up against.

The frustrating thing about Pulisic is that his ability to surpass those kinds of numbers is painfully clear to see.

Post-lockdown, he was among the best players in the Premier League. Four goals and four assists in nine games almost single-handedly dragged Chelsea into the top four, and his form was utterly terrifying.

Maintaining that level has been tricky for Pulisic, for whom injuries have played their part, but Chelsea fans should not ignore what they saw from the American last year. He was truly special, looking every bit the Eden Hazard replacement we all know he was meant to be.

That game-changing creativity is exactly what Chelsea have lacked this year (and ever since Hazard left), but that’s the key part of this whole debate. No Chelsea forward has done particularly well this year. Not a single one.

If Pulisic was the anchor dragging this team down, then wishes to see him leave would be fair, but that’s not the case. Sure, he’s been the most underwhelming forward this year, but he’s just the smallest fish in a small pond. He’s the most-bruised banana in a bunch which fell off the delivery truck.

Werner and Havertz have started to turn things around because they were afforded the time to do so, and Pulisic should get the same treatment from a manager who knows Pulisic better than most.

Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen KloppThomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp
Tuchel knows Pulisic well | Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

It was under Tuchel that Pulisic exploded onto the European scene with Borussia Dortmund, so the boss will not be blind to his talents. He’ll know they’re deep in there somewhere, but unfortunately, he’s got too many big names who are drowning.

Tuchel needs to save Havertz and Werner, and then he can turn his attention to Pulisic. The American will have to play the waiting game, but once it’s his turn to shine, the results could be special.

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