Christian Pulisic: Chelsea's Rising Star
By: Charles Xue
COVID-19 has cancelled the Premier League for about 3 months, and Christian Pulisic came out guns blazing.
After 21 year old Christian Pulisic has been playing extraordinarily well, with three goals, 19 shots, and 37 completed dribbles (a completed dribble is when a player successfully dribbles the ball and ends the dribble with a shot, or pass). Similarly, Christian Pulisic has carried his team Chelsea F.C., securing a top three spot in the Premier League.
“Christian handles the pressure very well,” Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger said. “You
can see that when he is fit, he’s such an important player for us.”
Christian Pulisic was transferred from Dortmund to Chelsea in the summer of 2019 for $73 million, tripling the record for the highest transfer price on an American player. However, Christian had a hard time fitting in with the group of attackers at Chelsea. He slid in and out of the starting lineup until an injury in January ended the season for him. Luckily for him, the lockdown happened just two months later, and this gave Pulisic the time he needed to reboot.
Now, Frank Lampard, a former player and Chelsea manager, compares Christian Pulisic to a club legend Eden Hazard.
“Christian is possibly more direct,” said Lampard, who also played with Hazard. “He has a real ability to break a line and run forward which is a great trait in the modern game.” A line breaking run refers to a tactic used in soccer when a player passes a ball behind the opponent’s defensive line for another player to run onto.
Although it is a little early to make the comparison to Hazard, Pulisic shares one of Hazard’s gifts: the ability to get fouled. This may sound crazy, but it’s true nonetheless. . Pulisic shares the same dribbling style as Hazard, which entails running full tilt straight at the defender, and doing one quick fake or change of direction. Because Pulisic is so fast, even the slightest touch can send him flying. Currently, Pulisic is the only player in the Premier league to have drawn two penalties for his team.
However, part of Christian Pulisic’s ground breaking perfocmances comes down to the way the system works. Because COVID-19 cancelled so many matches, the matches are now being played one after another, often only giving players a day to rest before putting them into another match. On the other hand, before the lockdown, players would get at least one week of rest before playing another game. This factor eliminates careful planning about who should play and when, so basically anyone who is fit can play. This results in younger players (sometimes even teenagers) playing more games than the older players.
Christian Pulisic has surprised the audience with his back-to-back ground-breaking performances. Hopes that he can continue playing at the standard he set for himself are high.