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22. Christian Pulisic

Started by nachikethas,

1,229 posts in this topic
1 hour ago, BlueLyon said:

But we all know Edens play is way more than just goals and statistics so is that even a strong comparisson?

Bats was at one point scoring plenty per minutes, doesnt make him prime Ronaldo.

That said, Pulisic is doing well, but IMO pointless to compare just stats vs Hazard who is obviously the better player.

Hazard is individually shit and right now in Madrid they ask themselves: how the hell he become pro!? But it's to late we already sold you fat Belgium player. Hazard is disability for Madrid. 

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5 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

Hazard is individually shit and right now in Madrid they ask themselves: how the hell he become pro!? But it's to late we already sold you fat Belgium player. Hazard is disability for Madrid. 

HAHAHAHAHAHA LOL men don't write here drunk :whistling:

BlueSunshine, Yeboii and killer1257 like this

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10 hours ago, Jason said:

Deja vu...

Yeah I remember when Hazard came and we try to play the false 9 with RDM. It did not work and will never work. 

Nothing can replace a true striker. 

LAM09 and Johnnyeye like this

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Lampard on Pulisic...


‘He is playing really well. He can score more, we have a player in Christian who is someone who is really exciting us but when you see this type of player, you see another level which is goals and assists and he has the ability to go on to that extra level which is the top level of world football.

‘At the moment he is doing really well and hopefully that will be the next part of the progression.’

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Attacking the box ‘like Sterling’ is making Pulisic a key figure at Chelsea – despite frustration against Villa


It wasn’t quite the ovation that Tammy Abraham had received three minutes earlier from Chelsea and Aston Villa supporters alike but as Christian Pulisic walked over to the touchline to be replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi, the applause that rippled around Stamford Bridge was warm.

There were no goals or assists for ‘Captain America’ as Chelsea marked John Terry’s return with Villa by battling to a 2-1 win, but those present recognised that no one in blue had tried harder to make the margin of victory more comfortable. Three times Pulisic ended up in the net himself after charging into the six-yard box, hoping the ball would somehow evade the inspired Tom Heaton.

On another occasion, his fierce drive brought a low save out of the England goalkeeper, who was only beaten by Abraham’s point-blank header and a brilliant Mason Mount volley. But even if the scoreline didn’t reflect his influence, the pattern of Chelsea’s play underlined just how integral Pulisic has come to be within Frank Lampard’s attacking system.

Much of the post-match focus was on Abraham, and understandably so. The 22-year-old Cobham graduate showed no ill effects from the hip injury that prematurely ended his night against Valencia, nodded in his 11th goal of the season from a pinpoint Reece James cross and showed remarkable improvisation and awareness to cushion the ball to Mount with his chest for the winner.

Abraham’s link-up play and intelligent movement tormented Villa for all of his 83 minutes on the pitch, even if he tried to soften the blow by not celebrating. But buzzing constantly around him was Pulisic, who has quietly emerged over the past six weeks as one of the Premier League’s most consistently dangerous wide forwards, and the potent second punch in Chelsea’s attack.

“I’m really impressed,” Lampard said of Pulisic after the game. “I think he’s playing really well. Since he got himself into the team against Burnley and got his goals, he’s carried on his form.

“He’s scoring but he can score more. We’ve got a player in Christian who is really exciting us. When you see this type of player in the modern day, you see their quality and you also see another level, which is goals and absolute assists.

“He’s got all the ability to go to that next level, which is the top level of world football. At the minute, he’s doing really well and hopefully that’ll be the next part of the progression.”

Lampard’s praise hinted at what he values most in his wide players, and why — having not featured at all in September bar 90 minutes of Carabao Cup action against League Two Grimsby Town — Pulisic has started all of Chelsea’s last nine matches across all competitions since coming off the substitutes’ bench to set up Michy Batshuayi’s dramatic winner against Ajax in October.

Eden Hazard was the beginning and end of Chelsea’s attacking system under Maurizio Sarri. Tasked with being both the primary scorer and primary creator in a limited team, his singular talent made the difference more often than not and resulted in a spectacular individual campaign, registering 16 goals and 15 assists in 37 Premier League appearances.

There is no such talisman in this Chelsea squad, so instead Lampard has empowered all of his attacking players within specific roles in his overall system. In the case of his wide players, the archetype is not Hazard, but the kind of dynamic, goalscoring wide forward that has become an increasingly common feature of Europe’s most dominant teams in recent years.

Asked who Callum Hudson-Odoi should look to as an example for his development in September, Lampard’s choice was telling. “I don’t like to talk about other club’s players but Raheem Sterling is an incredible example of a player with great talent, whose work-ethic added to that talent and improvement in a short period of time, through absolute dedication, has seen him become a complete player who we are all wowed by,” he said.

Lampard regards Sterling as a tactical benchmark as well as a role model, and not just for Hudson-Odoi. He has instructed Pulisic to attack the penalty area with a similarly single-minded determination to score at every opportunity, and the numbers beyond his six goals in nine starts since October 26 underline that the message has been taken to heart.

Pulisic is averaging 7.68 touches in the opposition box per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, more than Abraham (5.81) or any other regular Chelsea starter. The below touchmap shows that he was on the ball in penalty area no fewer than 11 times during the win over Aston Villa.

His average of 3.12 shots per 90 minutes in the Premier League is second among Chelsea regulars, and not far off Abraham’s 3.77. He has led the team for both touches in the opposition box and shot attempts in three of the last six league games, including the one in which he spectacularly announced his arrival into English football with a perfect hat-trick against Burnley at Turf Moor.

So many of Chelsea’s most threatening passages of play in recent weeks have featured the ball being worked out to the right wing while Pulisic darts into the penalty area to join Abraham in attacking the cross when it comes in. Even if he doesn’t directly connect himself, his mere presence causes panic in opposition defences and can create space for others, as shown below against Valencia in the Champions League last month.

At other times, Pulisic picks the ball up on the left and slices infield (as shown in the below example against Crystal Palace), making the most of his speed and close control in tight spots to carry the ball himself into the penalty area, where his quick feet require minimal space to unleash a shot. Chelsea funnelled 40.8 per cent of their attacks down Pulisic’s flank against Villa, with 34.2 per cent coming down the opposite side.

Hazard, the man Pulisic has nominally replaced on the left of Chelsea’s front line, averaged a similar 7.38 touches in the opposition box per 90 minutes in the Premier League last season. But once he got there, the Belgian was markedly less aggressive in looking to score himself — averaging just 1.82 shots per 90 minutes — preferring instead to try to supply team-mates.

This resulted in Hazard registering an expected goals per 90 minutes (xG90) value of 0.32 in last season’s Premier League. So far this season, Pulisic’s xG90 is 0.62, only a little shy of Abraham (0.66) and marginally better than the Premier League’s two most prolific wide forwards of the last two years, Sterling (0.61) and Mohamed Salah (0.6).

Pulisic has not completely abandoned being a creator; beyond his two Premier League assists this season and vital cross for Batshuayi in Amsterdam, his average of 1.83 key passes per 90 minutes in the league is second only to Willian (1.97) among regular Chelsea starters.

But it is noticeable that he and Abraham tend to function independently of one another in Lampard’s attack. They combined for four passes or fewer against Villa, Crystal Palace, Watford and Burnley — a pattern that underlines the head coach’s emphasis on both to be the ones providing the finishing touch to attacking moves, rather than the final ball.

Abraham did assist Pulisic for Chelsea’s winning goal against Watford in November, and the pair often complement each other in more subtle ways. It’s rare to see both of them attack the same spot in the penalty area and in fact, it was Pulisic’s clever decoy run that lured Tyrone Mings towards the front post, away from Abraham, in the build-up to the opener against Villa.

Lampard’s point about the need for Pulisic to be more clinical in front of goal is a valid one. His shot conversion rate of 22.7 per cent in the Premier League this season compares favourably to that of Salah (20.7), but lags significantly behind the likes of Sadio Mane (26.5) and Sterling (30.8) — though it is worth remembering that all three operate within better attacking teams.

Ultimately, it’s hugely encouraging for Chelsea that Pulisic, at 21, is producing at a level that invites such lofty comparisons. He has already made a huge leap as a scorer. Having averaged a goal every 395 minutes in the Bundesliga during his time at Borussia Dortmund, he is finding the net on average every 166.4 minutes in the Premier League.

There will be more frustrating days like Wednesday against Villa, and more goalkeepers who have a good day at Stamford Bridge like Heaton, but there will also be more ovations. It’s already clear that beyond simply cementing himself as a regular starter, Pulisic will be every bit as important as Abraham to the success Chelsea do have in attack this season.

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