Despite Chelsea racking up a three-goal lead on AC Milan by the 61st minute, and manager Graham Potter making five substitutions, Christian Pulisic did not see the pitch at all in Chelsea’s victory in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League Group E match.
The development raises another question mark regarding Pulisic’s uncertain future with the club. There was hope that a changing of the guards at manager would boost the American striker’s playing time, but that has not been the case.
In the three matches with Graham Potter in charge as Chelsea’s new manager, Pulisic has played in only two, has come on as a substitute, and played just twelve minutes total. In that small sample size, he has created two chances, logged an assist, and completed 85% of his passes.
In Chelsea’s Last Premier League Match, Christian Pulisic Recorded Game-Winning Assist in Brief Playing Time
In Chelsea’s recent match against Crystal Palace, Pulisic took advantage of his brief opportunity to create the game-winning assist. He was subbed into the match in the 84th minute, replacing Mason Mount as the left attacking midfielder.
In the 90th minute, with the match level at 1-1, Pulisic received the ball on the left wing of Chelsea’s attacking half. The 24-year-old American dribbled toward the edge of the penalty box with pace. After splitting two defenders, Pulisic laid the ball off to Conor Gallagher who took a couple of touches, then curled a brilliant shot around Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, and into the top corner of the goal.
Sebastian Salazar joined Herculez Gomez on Futbol Americas to debate which USMNT player had the best bounce-back game after a disappointing pair of results for the United States in international play. Salazar commented on the Chelsea substitute, “This was a huge weekend for Christian Pulisic as far as his future at Chelsea is concerned.”
Salazar praised Pulisic’s play, saying, “This is a great, great play from Christian Pulisic and it is exactly why he is on the field. He can drive at a defense when they’re packed in, he can break that defense down… He makes a huge play and I think it proves to Graham Potter that this guy can make the difference in a game.”
In response, Herculez Gomez suggested that Christian’s performance is “going to make Graham Potter think, ‘what do I need to do to get this kid on the field if he’s going to produce things that make goals happen?’”
Lack of Playing Time and Trade Rumors Loom Over Chelsea, Pulisic
Unfortunately for Pulisic, he was held out of the game altogether. There have been rumors that Chelsea is looking to trade Pulisic, with the most likely destinations being Juventus, AC Milan, and Leeds United. At this point, a move for Pulisic would be beneficial for both parties.
Leeds United is interested in signing him and further building the team’s American connection. Leeds manager and former MLS Coach of the Year, Jesse Marsch, would value Pulisic and put him in a position to be successful. If he does make the move to the West Yorkshire club, Pulisic will join fellow USMNT players, Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams.
We will have to wait and see if and how Potter further utilizes Pulisic, who started playing with the U.S. national team when he was 16 years old, has already won a Champions League, and is about to go to his first World Cup. From the looks of it though, it appears Pulisic’s time at Chelsea may soon be coming to an end.