What Chelsea fans can expect from Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic will complete his move to Chelsea in the summer after the London Club agreed on a £58m deal with BVB over the 20-year-old winger. With the increasing speculation of Wilian’s move away from the club as well as the age of Pedro, it seems as though Chelsea have decided to invest in future talents who can be potential replacements.
However, 20 years old Christian Pulisic is someone with so much experience for his age. After making his first team debut for Dortmund and the U.S national team at the age of 17, he has since featured in over 100 games for both club and country.
Only Dortmund’s goalkeeper Roman Burki and the now Arsenal defender Sokratis played more minutes than Pulisic last season. This makes him to be rightly lauded as the future of American football, whom for a long time have not produced a world-class star.
Style of play
Despite regularly playing as a central attacking midfielder for the USMNT, Pulisic has spent most of his career as a wide forward. He is a typical winger who possesses the pace and directness to run at defenders and provide a direct threat to the opposition goal.
He can play in both wings owing to his ability to use both feet. However, he has mostly been used behind the striker for the U.S national team because of his creativity and awareness to create opportunities for the striker.
Pulisic likes to use his dribbling and pace to run at defenders and this makes him a player who always demands the ball and take the responsibility of creating something out of nothing.
He has an incredible work rate and has the willingness to attack as well as press for the ball high up the field. This might seem as one of the reasons as to why he will quickly adapt to Maurizio Sarri’s style of play.
Sarri likes to use inverted wingers who have the ability to take on players when they have the ball as well as pressing the ball intelligently high up the pitch when out of possession. This is similar to the styles of Pulisic’s previous coaches as both Tuchel and Lucien Favre have shown their preferences to inverted wingers of this nature.
Strength and Weaknesses
Dribbling is Pulisic’s biggest strength. Blessed with quick feet and a low center of gravity, he is always the sought of player very hard to take the ball off him. He constantly looks for a way to drive the ball forward by using his dribbling to beat his marker. He is brilliant in 1 v 1 situations.
This is the type of player who can be of help in destabilizing defensive structures especially to the teams that defend with low blocks. A style that many mid-table teams in the English Premier League like to apply.
Eden Hazard is one of the few dribblers in that Chelsea team and most of the time the team has been relying on the Belgian to produce the magic when there is need to break deep defensive blocks.
Pulisic might help to take some of those responsibilities away from Hazard since he is a dribbler who can create goal-scoring chances. He has managed to complete 2.1 dribbles per game in 33 appearances for club and country since the beginning of the season.
One thing that Pulisic needs to improve is his end product. The American International lacks the final ingredient to his all-round play and this is the reason as to why he has been limited to only 5 Bundesliga starts so far this season.
The presence of Jadon Sancho who boosts incredible goal contributions has made it hard for him to get into the team. Chelsea fans’ complains over Wilian have always been on his end product and although Pulisic can offer more in terms of his all round game, his needs to better his goal contributions to be considered one of the finest wingers in the EPL.
He has only managed to score 19 times in 104 appearances for club and country since making his senior debut. In an era when the demand for wide players has shifted to providina g direct threat on goal, Pulisic needs to improve massively in this area.
On some occasions, his biggest strength can also be his weakness. His willingness to drive the ball forward most of the time has resulted to loss of possession in dangerous areas something that can be very risky when playing against a team that relies on faster transitions to create chances. His close control and first touch also sometimes lets him down. On an average, he has lost the ball 2. times as a result of poor touches and 2.4 times per match as a result of unsuccessful dribbles.
As much as it might appear irrelevant to point it out, the fact that Pulisic has more experience at his age than both Messi and Ronaldo had when they were 20 years old, shows you that he is good for his age and has a massive room for improvement.
At 20 years neither Messi nor Ronaldo had featured in more than 60 senior appearances for Sporting and Barcelona respectively. Pulisic has already played in over 80 appearances for the German club. £58m might seem too much now but for a 20-year-old with so much potential, it might be a bargain by the time he reaches the peak of his career.