Pulisic Watch: How U.S. star is doing at Chelsea, game by game

Chelsea, Christian Pulisic, Clubs, English Premier League, Story, United States
E:60 looks at United States soccer player Christian Pulisic’s next big step from wonder kid at Borussia Dortmund to world star at Chelsea.

Welcome to the Christian Pulisic Watch, as the U.S. international starts the next phase of his career after his $73 million move to Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund. ESPN FC will be tracking the American’s progress here all season.

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Opponent: Manchester United; Aug. 11, 2019; 4-0 (L)

Stats: 36 minutes played, 12 completed passes of 12, three successful take-ons of six, zero shots on goal, one chance created.

How he performed (out of 10): 5 — All told, Pulisic was by no means overwhelmed as he entered from the substitutes’ bench, but the fact remains that he wasn’t that impactful, and the chance he created came long after the game had been decided. That said, Pulisic walked into a team that fell apart defensively after he entered the match, so Lampard will have far bigger concerns about his side than Pulisic’s performance.

Highlight: Normally, making your debut with your new club would rank as a highlight, but a 4-0 away defeat tempers this considerably. Pulisic did have one sequence where he shook loose from Aaron Wan-Bissaka only to be fouled by Paul Pogba after he released the ball. Pulisic’s best moment came in second-half stoppage time when he set up Emerson Palmieri for an attempt at goal that forced a sharp save from United goalkeeper David De Gea.

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Lowlight: The team performance was one to forget given the scoreline, with Chelsea’s defense looking highly suspect. For Pulisic, he started the game on the bench, which counts as a disappointment given the anticipation attached to his debut. Frank Lampard, who was making a league debut of his own as the club’s manager after starring for the Blues as a player, preferred Ross Barkley and Pedro in the wide positions that Pulisic would have been expected to occupy.

Lampard told NBC Sports afterwards that, “I just felt coming to Old Trafford, the type of game it was, I knew we needed bodies in midfield because it’s a busy area for them … So Ross coming in off the line, bringing a bit of stability in midfield and around midfield would be good for us.”

After entering the match in the 58th minute, Pulisic did have a few chances to run at the defense but wasn’t able to threaten the United goal off the dribble. He also had a chance to pick out fellow substitute Olivier Giroud with a cross in second-half stoppage time, but couldn’t connect.

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