Christian was left out of the match day squad for Chelsea’s Champions League match against Lille Wednesday. Pulisic has only appeared once in Chelsea’s last six matches, their 7-1 Carrabao Cup win over Grimsby Town, and the American media is starting to lose their collective minds.
This is all comes after US Soccer sent Pulisic back to Chelsea instead of having him play in a second September friendly. A match where they could have used to brew chemistry between Pulisic and his new coach and national teammates. The fact that they sent him back just shows that US Soccer is still afraid of European clubs and they’d rather suck up to them than develop their own team.
Here’s the thing about Pulisic. Part of me is confused by what Lampard is doing too. He made four apperances in August and his underlying numbers were not just OK, they were pretty good. 0.18 xA/90, 1.29 KP/90, 0.27 xG/90. It’s a very small sample size but everything suggests Pulisic was settling into England quite nicely. It may have only been Grimsby Town but Pulisic was the best player on the field in that match.
The thing that wasn’t nice were Chelsea’s results. One win in the four games he played. That prompted Lampard to change things up against Wolves. He moved to a back three and the new formation didn’t really accommodate Pulisic.
Chelsea then ran ragged against a Wolves team that was still considered good by everyone, which meant that Lampard was going to stick with that formation. They’ve won three of the five games using that formation so can’t really blame him there.
I’m not totally shocked by this development. I started having real alarm bells go off in my head last March (again, it stemmed from US Soccer opting not to use him to try and develop their team to the best it can be) about Pulisic’s development.
Pulisic lost his place in Dortmund’s team early on last season. It wasn’t totally his fault. He was great in August, picked up an injury in September, and Jadon Sancho was so good right away that he made himself undroppable.
As good as Sancho was, when Pulisic did get chances he never really made it look like BVB had a made a mistake by dropping him. He finished the season with four goals and four assists, not terrible for a 20 year old winger, but not great when the team scored a whopping 81 goals.
Considering Borussia Dortmund’s track record for selling players, the fact that they were willing to sell him in January should have been a red flag enough. They knew something. Maybe it was that he wasn’t going to get better. Maybe it was that the club couldn’t help him anymore. Maybe they just knew it was time to take the money and run.
As for Pulisic, he’s not blameless here. In fact he’s getting exactly what he deserved.
When the £60 million move to Chelsea was completed, Pulisic stated that he chose Chelsea because he liked Maurizio Sarri’s style of play, and he felt that he would get a chance to prove himself there. What?
Choosing Chelsea because of Sarri shows an astonishing amount of homework that Pulisic didn’t do. By the time the deal went through in December, there were already very loud grumblings that people at Chelsea weren’t happy with Sarri. Day by day it was becoming more clear that Sarri wasn’t going to last long term at Stamford Bridge.
That should come as a surprise to nobody. No manager lasts more than two years with Chelsea. If you’re a player contemplating a move to West London, the deciding factor CANNOT be the manager because there’s a good chance within 18 months there will be a new guy in charge and you may not fit his system.
This isn’t just a disgruntled United fan upset at the player who has the creativity United desperately need for snubbing the club he grew up supporting. Earlier this season a report came out that Pulisic’s father had ruled out a move to Manchester United because Jose Mourinho doesn’t give youth a chance.
His father is absolutely right about that. I wouldn’t sign for Mourinho if I were Pulisic either, but again do your homework. By the time Chelsea were in discussions with Pulisic, Mourinho was burning bridges at Old Trafford left and right. It was obvious that Mourinho wasn’t going to last.
If Ed Woodward was serious about signing you, why not wait a little longer to see what happens? Even if you did end up signing for Mourinho, odds are he wouldn’t be there at the end of the year.
Given Pulisic’s and Manchester United’s current situation, Ed Woodward should get on the phone with Chelsea right now and try to take the kid on loan for the second half of the season. I’m only half kidding about that.
Instead Pulisic chose Chelsea and trotted out that bullshit about wanting to play for Sarri. When Sarri later admitted that he had never even met Pulisic it unveiled what really happened here.
Chelsea signed the kid for financial reasons. It gives them a foot into the US market and opens up a lot of doors for them. For Pulisic, he took the money and ran into a situation that was always going to be unstable and probably not the best for his growth. Now, he’s getting what he deserves.
The US media may want to recognize that.