Christian Pulisic aka ‘Captain America’ was bought to Stamford Bridge because he was an exciting prospect in the Bundesliga. But so far, he barely has had a chance to establish himself for the new side. Chelsea signed the American on a pre-contract in January which meant he would join the Blues in the summer. Following the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, it was the ideal scenario that he would slot in on the left-hand side of midfield after the Belgian’s departure.
However, this has not been the case. At the moment, the American is struggling for game time at his new club as he is behind the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian and Mason Mount. All three are in fine form for Chelsea as they have won their last six matches in all competitions.
Although the 21-year-old is struggling to get in Frank Lampard’s XI, he has shown his worth when introduced from the bench as in the last two games he has provided assists which have resulted in his side winning the match. Coming off the bench at the weekend at home to Newcastle United where he shone and started the attack which led to Marcos Alonso scoring the winner. He continued to show his worth from the bench as Lampard introduced the American early in the second-half in the Champions League as Chelsea lacked the cutting edge against a well-drilled Ajax side. But, Pulisic once again changed the match as he produced a low cross where Michy Batshuayi fired in the winner in the 86th minute to give Chelsea a vital away win in Europe.
Lampard must surely be debating whether or not to start Pulisic on the weekend as Chelsea host Burnley in the Premier League. Although his other attackers have shown their worth so far this season, Pulisic is surely in contention to feature from the start, but the question is… who does he replace in Lampard’s XI?
Most people would agree that the young Englishman isn’t a winger, but he has been excellent when used on the flanks. His most preferred position is through the centre behind the striker where he is exceptional at pressing the opposition. However, Lampard has opted to a 4-3-3 formation where he has been utilised out wide.
He began the season in brilliant form and has continued that throughout the early stages of the season. Sometimes in games, he has been missing and that is where Pulisic can be used with his pace and his ability to attack players because he is more direct that Mount. Ideally, Lampard would love to have both of these young players in his XI as both are quality players and both offer different aspects to this Chelsea side.
The one player who will defiantly keep his place in the XI. Having only just returned from a lengthy spell on the side-lines, Hudson-Odoi has already shown the Chelsea fans how vital he is to the club for now and the foreseeable future.
He prefers to play on the left-wing so he can cut in on his favoured right foot – a trait his predecessor Hazard was consistent at doing. The 18-year-old might not be 100% fit to start on a Saturday and then the same in a midweek fixture and so this may give Pulisic a greater chance of starting in upcoming fixtures.
For now, Hudson-Odoi is proving to be one of Chelsea’s best players this season and won’t be losing his place in the side, unless he is rested. He did endure a frustrating night at the Johan Cruyff Arena but will have learned a lot after becoming Chelsea’s youngest Champions League starter in nine years in win over Ajax.
The oldest of Chelsea’s main starters in the attacking three. At the start of the season, Willian was one player that was tipped to lose his place in the Chelsea side. However, he has scored vital goals that have proved crucial. So far this season he has played to the level that we all know Willian can play at, although he does have it in him to be anonymous during matches. Against Ajax was a perfect example of that as other players in the attacking phase showed their worth to the side, especially Pulisic.
If there was a player that ‘Captain America’ can replace at this moment in time it would be Willian. Most Chelsea fans see Pulisic being the long-term solution to an ageing Willian and with the Brazilian having under a year left on his contract, the time is now for Lampard to select Pulisic ahead of Willian.