Christian Pulisic is becoming undroppable for Chelsea - Breaking News

Christian Pulisic is becoming undroppable for Chelsea

When Chelsea made Christian Pulisic the most expensive American soccer player ever last January, his road to the top seemed forthright, inevitable even.

Then he actually arrived in West London.

By the time Pulisic got to Chelsea, the manager who had overseen his purchase (Maurizio Sarri) was no longer there. At one point, he went five straight league games without starting, only appearing in two of them. This January, as he was finally finding his footing in England, he suffered an abductor injury which sidelined him until the league’s eventual June return.

Since that restart, though, Pulisic has been influential for Chelsea, starting all five league matches and looking every bit the part of the superstar Chelsea forked over $73.1 million to purchase.

“Earlier on in the season, at the start, he came here, difficult conditions in terms of [he] hadn’t really had a break early in the season,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told ESPN, “but he started to play really well for us, and now he’s moved his game on another level, not just in how he’s going by people but real end product.”

On a team littered with offensive talent — and without a clear hierarchy — Pulisic has begun to cement himself as a surefire starter. Since Chelsea’s first Premier League game back on June 21, Pulisic has scored three goals and won two penalties (which were both converted), consistently wreaking havoc from his inside-left position.

His June 25 goal in a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in particular felt like an arrival of sorts. With Chelsea craving a win to stay in the race for Champions League spots, Pulisic carried the ball from inside his own half and scored, scampering past two defenders in the process. It was a massive goal against a massive team, with nearly the whole soccer world watching.

Even when Pulisic is not scoring, it’s become clear that he’s capable of impacting games. He’s extremely direct, consistently gets into good positions and is a nightmare for defenders when running at them. His eight league goals this season are a nice mark of his early success but it’s the less-visible numbers — like shots and’s “shot-creating actions” (“the two offensive actions directly leading to a shot, such as passes, dribbles and drawing fouls”) — that show his current vein of form is not merely a fluke.

Despite starting just 16 out of a possible 34 games, Pulisic is 30th in the league in shots (53) and his 68 “shot-creating actions” rank 46th in the league — ahead of other attacking players like Miguel Almiron, Daniel James and Ryan Fraser in far fewer minutes (everyone ahead of him in this category has played more minutes than him).

Pulisic’s numbers are reflecting consistently aggressive attacking play. Goals and assists dry up at some point for nearly everyone, but Pulisic profiles to be the type of player that the numbers always find a way to catch up to.

At this point, it’s not hyperbole to already call Pulisic one of the greatest American men’s soccer players ever. Landon Donovan was a supreme force for the USMNT, and Clint Dempsey had a few very prolific years at Fulham. But Pulisic is the first American attacker to be thriving at a European superclub like Chelsea. He’s already the second-most prolific American in Champions League history.

At just 21 years old, Pulisic will almost assuredly get even better. But don’t be afraid to appreciate the player he already is.