It’s taken misfiring strikers and a whole host of positive coronavirus tests for Christian Pulisic to be handed his chance in the Chelsea starting XI.
Injuries have severely hampered his time at Stamford Bridge since he made the move to Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in 2019. Having notched double figures in his maiden season in west London, the youngster has since struggled to cement his place in the side.
Pulisic led the line as a false nine during Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday evening, though Romelu Lukaku’s second-half introduction saw the American winger shifted out to his preferred position on the flank where he looked much more comfortable.
When asked in the pre-match press conference whether Pulisic would have gained confidence from his performance in the 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Brentford in midweek, Thomas Tuchel replied: “It is good to have minutes for him.
“Is it his very best position [up front] where he feels most comfortable? Maybe not. It is the way at the moment but he is very positive about it and he is fighting for his confidence and for the flow. While he is fighting, we’re supporting him.”
Evidently, Tuchel is aware of the fact Pulisic is struggling to adapt to his new role in the side, and the Blues’ victory at Villa Park showcased exactly why the Chelsea boss needs to stop asking him to play as the focal point of the attack.
As soon as Lukaku was brought off the bench and Pulisic was moved into his preferred position, the former Dortmund man looked a totally different player and he suddenly started playing with more freedom.
Of course, Chelsea have had their problems in the striker department this season given Timo Werner’s struggles and Lukaku’s stop-start opening to the campaign, and while Pulisic can undoubtedly help out his teammates in that respect, he can help them out by playing on the wing.
Pulisic’s movement and pace can be the key to creating chances for the aforementioned frontmen, while his direct style of play will help create space for Lukaku and Werner by dragging defenders towards him.
He doesn’t have to prove what he can do in a wide position – he’s already done that at Dortmund – but it’s clear he struggles with the weight of expectation that comes with being asked to be the main man in the team.
Using such a dynamic player like Pulisic in the wrong position and ultimately nullifying his threat is nonsensical. You can understand why Tuchel has looked to experiment given the circumstances, but Pulisic isn’t the answer to Chelsea’s striker woes.
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Source by Football London