Now seems like a good time for a rating on Christian Pulisic based on his first Premier League season as the USMNT star is well and truly in the news for his displays.
[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – Analysis ]
With his debut PL campaign for Chelsea in the books and an FA Cup final and UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg left for the USMNT star in the 2019-20 season, it’s safe to say Pulisic’s first season in England has been a rollercoaster.
From a decent start to being left out, then a hot streak in the fall followed by an injury and an even hotter streak to finish the season, Pulisic, 21, has pretty much experienced all of the highs and lows the Premier League has to offer and has consistently been in the news.
All season long we’ve followed the journey the USMNT star has been on during our weekly ‘Pulisic Watch’ analysis which looks at how he’s fared in each game and the latest injury news and updates, plus comments from Lampard and his teammates.
He’s an overall look at how he performed in the Premier League and a Pulisic rating out of 10.
- Hat trick at Burnley – The moment the world stood up and took notice of Pulisic as he was truly big news to the rest of the planet. Up until that point he hadn’t scored in the PL, or for Chelsea, but his treble at Turf Moor ignited a purple patch which saw him put in fine displays and score against Palace and Watford soon after.
- Goal v. Man City – After the restart he was majestic and this goal underlined his incredible form. Picking the ball up on the halfway line after a Man City mix up, he ran at goal with his searing pace, dropped his shoulder and finished across goal. This was pure Pulisic.
- Sub performance v. Liverpool – With Chelsea losing 4-1 at Anfield, he jumped off the bench and had an amazing assist, missed a big chance and scored a beauty. All in the space of a few minutes. Jurgen Klopp, the man who bought him to Borussia Dortmund, had to stand there and laugh as Pulisic ran the show. Against Liverpool. At Anfield. On the night that hoisted the PL trophy.
- General restart displays – His form since the June restart has been wonderful. Four goals, two assists, two penalty kicks won and ripping apart defenses time and time again. Lampard worked with him on his midfield runs during the break and he is popping up in more dangerous positions, plus looks fitter and stronger. Finally having a break did him the world of good. Lampard said he can reach the levels of Mane, Salah and Sterling. Woah.
- Being benched for 5 out of 6 games straight in the fall – This was pretty much as low as it has been for Pulisic in recent years. I spoke with him in September after he was an unused sub for five games in a row following the home win v. Brighton. He said it was ‘very frustrating’ and that Lampard hadn’t really given him any feedback, as Pulisic was upset but determined to prove the doubters wrong. A few weeks later he was assisting off the bench and building his way back into the team.
“I knew it was going to be tough coming here. It is never going to be easy. I’ve got to grind it out,” Pulisic said. “I want to be back and be a part of the team and help the team win games. I want to play as many minutes as I can, that is really my goal, I want to be on the field… It is tough for me right now. I just have to continue to learn. Like I said, I want to be on the field really bad, I have to continue to work and prove myself to be there.”
- Injury in January – Just when Pulisic was firing on all cylinders he suffered a nasty adductor injury in January which was then aggravated as Chelsea tried to rush him back. The injury kept Pulisic out from January 1 to March and then the pandemic arrived to shut down the league. In hindsight it forced Pulisic to have a long break as he’d been playing year-round for many years due to his USMNT commitments. The injury was very frustrating for Pulisic, and Chelsea, as their form dipped with him out of the team. Lampard and Chelsea’s players admitted they missed his creativity.
- Champions League campaign – Not directly linked to his Premier League displays, but missing a big chunk of the Champions League games due to not being in the team in the fall, then injured for the first leg Round of 16 clash agains Bayern Munich was a bummer for Pulisic. He started three of Chelsea’s seven UCL games this season, so far.
Generally, this has been a very good first Premier League season for Pulisic who scored nine goals and added four assists in 19 Premier League starts. His form since the restart has left Chelsea fans salivating at what he can go on to achieve and he truly seems like he can have a similar impact to Eden Hazard, not just with his style of play but with the goals and assists.
Rating out of 10
I’m going to give Pulisic a 7.5 out of 10. If we base this rating purely on his form since the restart it would be 9.5 out of 10 but we have to take all of the ups and downs into account and there’s no doubt it took Pulisic a while, as expected, to adapt to the Premier League. Now that he’s physically at the top of his game we are seeing his skill and talent shine through. The USMNT star has a huge future ahead of him at Chelsea and although many believed Frank Lampard wouldn’t get the best out of him, the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history is certainly teaching the American sensation how to time his runs into the box to perfection and helping him with his finishing.
Where does he already rank in USMNT stars in the Premier League
There’s a lot of talk in the news about Pulisic already being the best-ever American player in Premier League history. I hear you, I really do, but he’s played one season. He has a little way to overtake Clint Dempsey but he’s on the way and he’s having a huge impact at a huge club. Pulisic’s potential is greater than any other American goalkeeper or outfield player who has graced the Premier League before.
Here is where I would currently rank Pulisic in terms of the greatest USMNT players in Premier League history:
1. Clint Dempsey
2. Tim Howard
3. Brad Friedel
4. Christian Pulisic
5. Brian McBride