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10. Christian Pulisic


nachikethas
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What a lovely little ball for the 4th that was.

Read an article today that shows at present his productivity with and without the ball is overall pretty poor compared to the other players in his position. He averages fewer tackles per 90 mins

I see he wears No. 22. Hopefully he will keep it at the Bridge.  You know what I mean.

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1 minute ago, Jason said:

Cox: Pulisic often at his best when he does NOT dribble past players

https://theathletic.com/1946997/2020/07/24/christian-pulisic-dribbles-chelsea-goals-werner-ziyech-havertz/

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It’s been a peculiar first campaign for Frank Lampard at Chelsea. With one Premier League game remaining, his side only need a draw from their home match with Wolverhampton Wanderers to secure a top-four finish, a position that would have surpassed most people’s expectations at the start of of the season.

Yet questions remain about Lampard’s Chelsea. Not merely because of some obvious failings, particularly at the back, but because it’s difficult to work out what Lampard has built this season that will remain intact for 2020-21. The imminent arrivals of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, and perhaps Kai Havertz, mean Chelsea will be a completely different force going forward. In defence, none of Lampard’s centre-backs have definitely nailed down a place in the side for next season while Kepa Arrizabalaga seems likely to be moved on. Ben Chilwell looks set to arrive at left-back and in midfield, there are doubts about the precise roles of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.

In short, it’s difficult to find many members of Lampard’s regular XI this season that will definitely be part of his first-choice XI next season.

One player who has surely confirmed his place, however, is Christian Pulisic. The 21-year-old American was initially forced to play his way into the side at the start of the season and suffered from injury problems after Christmas but there have also been standout performances that have gone some way to replacing the contributions of Eden Hazard. His contribution as a substitute in Wednesday’s eventful 5-3 loss at Anfield felt particularly Hazard-esque. Just look at his assist for Tammy Abraham’s goal.

 

That was typical Pulisic; a brilliant dribbler capable of beating opponents through both trickery and speed — he stormed past four Liverpool players before squaring for Abraham’s tap-in.

It’s perhaps something of a surprise that Pulisic isn’t higher up in the list of the Premier League’s most prolific dribblers, even when adjusting the list to dribbles per 90 minutes played. He’s in 13th, behind the likes of Pedro Neto and Nicolas Pepe. But one of the keys to Pulisic’s game is that he doesn’t feel the need to beat opponents every time. Often, his most effective dribbles have come when he doesn’t dribble past opponents but instead attracts them and passes the ball past them.

Here’s an example from early this season in Chelsea’s 3-2 victory at Norwich City. Mason Mount switches the play to the right to find Pulisic, who is now in the type of situation in which he’s particularly comfortable.

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Having isolated the opposition full-back, Jamal Lewis, we’d expect Pulisic to pick up speed, roar past him, and have an attempt at goal. Instead, there’s a more measured approach. Pulisic holds onto the ball without actually looking to beat Lewis, simply holding him up and waiting for the overlapping run — from quite some distance behind — by Cesar Azpilicueta. Many other young wingers would barely be aware of Azpilicueta in this situation but Pulisic has made his decision based around the Spaniard’s run.

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By the time he releases the pass, Lewis has been shifted backwards into the box, opening up the space for Azpilicueta to gallop into.

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Azpilicueta hangs up a cross for Abraham to volley home. Meanwhile, Pulisic hasn’t simply admired his pass — he’s sprinted into the box and ends up almost in front of Tim Krul, waiting for a rebound that doesn’t come.

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Here’s a similar situation from a couple of weeks later, in a 2-2 home draw with Sheffield United. Pulisic receives the ball from Ross Barkley in the centre circle and dribbles forward. Again, you might expect him to take on the Sheffield United centre-backs, driving into space on the outside in the manner he did recently against Manchester City. Instead, the key defender here is Sheffield United’s left-wing-back Enda Stevens, highlighted. He’s not obviously in a position to stop Pulisic.

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But he’s the man Pulisic heads towards, committing him and ensuring he’s dragged out of position. Then, once again, there’s a pass out to Azpilicueta on the right.

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Again, Azpilicueta has space to cross for Abraham…

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…whose header is saved but he smashes home the rebound at the second attempt. Once again, Pulisic has darted into a goalscoring position and actually finds himself on the goal line, having been bundled over in his attempt to get onto the rebound.

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Here’s another example, from the 1-0 home victory over Newcastle United. Pulisic receives the ball from Jorginho in an inside-right position.

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From here, Pulisic beats no Newcastle players. This dribble won’t show up on Opta’s statistics. There have been no successful “take-ons”. But Pulisic does attract three opponents and again has the presence of mind to realise there will be space elsewhere. This time, he switches play the opposite way, to Callum Hudson-Odoi…

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…who tees up Marcos Alonso to smash home the game’s only goal.

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And here’s one final example of his ability to commit defenders, from Crystal Palace away a few weeks ago. What a coincidence: we have another seemingly perfect chance for Pulisic to steam past the centre-back (Mamadou Sakho in this case) on the outside. Instead, the key defender to watch here is Joel Ward on the near side. Just like against Sheffield United, Pulisic decides to dribble diagonally across goal and commit the full-back on the opposite wing, forcing him out of position.

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This results in Ward being sucked infield, opening up space for Willian. The pass is played at the right moment and Willian’s low drive is tipped around the post by Vicente Guaita.

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Arguably the biggest positive from Pulisic’s debut Premier League campaign has been his goalscoring return. He’s scored nine times from just 24 appearances — 18 of which have been starts — and is Chelsea’s joint-second top goalscorer behind Abraham on 15 (the other man in second is Willian — his tally having been boosted by four penalties, two of which were won by Pulisic’s trickery). Considering Pulisic never managed more than four goals in a Bundesliga campaign, it’s been something of a bonus.

And while a couple of his goals have been spectacular — that dribble against Manchester City springs to mind again — they’ve more often been about being in the right place at the right time. Pulisic is scoring repeatable goals: his xG tally of 8.9 matches his goalscoring return. As detailed earlier, a key part of this is Pulisic’s determination to get himself into rebound positions having played a good pass, and this goal in the home victory over Palace demonstrates it well — a dribble inside from the left and a good pass to Michy Batshuiayi is followed by another determined run into the six-yard box.

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When Batshuayi’s attempt is blocked and loops up into the air, Pulisic is in a position to head home.

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Young wide players often need to be coached to arrive at the far post when the ball is on the opposite flank — they rarely have the instinct to get into those positions, and it takes a while before they become prolific from the flank. Pulisic seems to have that mentality already. His recent equaliser against Aston Villa showed that: when Azpilicueta crosses, the two Villa defenders at the far post are both marking Chelsea attackers…

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…which leaves Pulisic free to tap home a deep cross, the type of goal Cristiano Ronaldo has made his trademark over the last decade.

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There’s also a striker’s instinct in terms of Pulisic’s movement. This situation, away at Watford, is different because Pulisic is the only option in the box, with the entire Watford back four in a position to intercept the imminent pass or block Pulisic’s run. The key defender here is Christian Kabasele, who glances over his left shoulder and is probably content that he’s aware of Pulisic’s run behind him.

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But as soon as Pulisic sees Kabasele checking that side, he changes his run and goes to the near post — the type of run from which Olivier Giroud has made a career.

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By the time Abraham plays the low pass into the six-yard box, Kabasele has completely lost Pulisic and the finish is simple.

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Such intelligence belies the fact he’s a 21-year-old playing in his first Premier League campaign. While the likes of Abraham, Hudson-Odoi and Mount will be fearing for their place in Lampard’s XI with the arrival of so many players, Pulisic’s position seems secure. The best, you suspect, is yet to come.

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On 7/24/2020 at 3:10 PM, King Kante said:

The thing with the States though, is as a club we only need an incredibly small proportion of them to start becoming Chelsea/Puli followers to absolutely coin it in. This is owing to their income levels and also the nature of advertising income in the States. 

Just out of interest, as I have recently started in the past 5 years or so to get into the NFL, what is your feeling about participation in A.Football at junior/youth level? Is it starting to tape off or has the whole concussion thing been overblown? If it hasn't would you say football/soccer participation is starting to increase? 

No doubt, the move was shrewd from a marketing standpoint.  I don't think the enthusiasm for A. Football is waning at all.  It is far too popular and lucrative for safety to get in the way.  That said I think the concerns about concussions are real and are manifesting in changing protocols at all levels of the sport.  Still a lot of kids playing A. Football.  Football/Soccer participation has been on a steady rise for the last 20 or so years.  The MLS is getting more attention domestically, the women's NT has drawn a number of fans and turning out a player of Pulisic's caliber should register at some point.  We'll never be a football power as long as the current sports hierarchy exists, but many folks who have grown up in the last two decades are excited about the sport.  And I honestly think we'll have what passes for a golden generation here peaking in time for the 2026 world cup.  Pulisic and Reyna are, for us, transformative talents.  Adams, Dest and McKennie are top end talents by American standards.  I'm optimistic for the US national team and Leeds.  It's a good time to be a football fan

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19 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Canada also has two top talents in Davies and Jonathan David. They will be 25 and 26yo for the WC 2026.

I really hope both teams qualify.  Davies and David are exciting

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1 minute ago, mshnd06 said:

I really hope both teams qualify.  Davies and David are exciting

Since Canada, USA and Mexico are all hosts I dont think they need to play qualifications. 

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36 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Since Canada, USA and Mexico are all hosts I dont think they need to play qualifications. 

I was referring to 2022, sorry I was unclear

 

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Became the youngest scorer in an FA Cup final since Cristiano Ronaldo.

Became the first American to score in an FA Cup final (hardly a surprise).

Scored a great goal.

And then picked up a hamstring injury.

Seriously...FUCK THIS SHIT MAN! 😭

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It seems he really is made of glass. I hope the lad can overcome this plauge of injuries. He could be soo special for us if he remains healthy. 

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if he is going to be injured all the time, its game over. Too unreliable then. 

Shame because against my expectations, he looks amazing when fit. Hopefuly he recovers.

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51 minutes ago, BlueLyon said:

if he is going to be injured all the time, its game over. Too unreliable then. 

Shame because against my expectations, he looks amazing when fit. Hopefuly he recovers.

Let’s talk about your avatar 

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6 hours ago, DDA said:

It seems he really is made of glass. I hope the lad can overcome this plauge of injuries. He could be soo special for us if he remains healthy. 

 

5 hours ago, BlueLyon said:

if he is going to be injured all the time, its game over. Too unreliable then. 

Shame because against my expectations, he looks amazing when fit. Hopefuly he recovers.

Arjen Robben would like to say 'hi'.

(Obviously hope Pulisic doesn't become like Robben in regards to injury...)

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35 minutes ago, Special Juan said:

MRI scan on Monday, he's not in a good way.

Is this inside info again or what?

Apparently, he was standing without crutches at the end of the game yesterday. So maybe it's not too bad? :cry:

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1 minute ago, Jason said:

Is this inside info again or what?

Apparently, he was standing without crutches at the end of the game yesterday. So maybe it's not too bad? :cry:

Yep, sounds like it could be an 8-10 week lay off, or that is what the early prediction is.

Scan tomorrow will confirm everything, could be worse than that.

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1 minute ago, Special Juan said:

Yep, sounds like it could be an 8-10 week lay off, or that is what the early prediction is.

Scan tomorrow will confirm everything, could be worse than that.

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