It was exactly the kind of start that Christian Pulisic needed in his English Premier League season with Chelsea.
The 22-year-old American started and scored a goal in the club’s Premier League opener to put his team up 2-0 against Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge en route to a 3-0 win. His 40th-minute goal helped pad a comfortable lead in a dominant performance by the Blues.
Pulisic, who was subbed off in the 82nd minute, also debuted a new celebration for the new season, showing off his tiger tattoo:
It was a bright performance for Pulisic, who played in more of a central position with wingback Marcos Alonso singlehandedly covering the left flank. Pulisic was consistently making runs into the box, connecting with an 11th-minute header on goal that was saved by the Palace goalkeeper. His 40th-minute goal also came on one of those crashing runs, following up on a cross in the box that spilled out to him. It was his fifth tally in five matches against Crystal Palace.
The goal comes at an opportune moment given the arrival of $135-million transfer signing Romelu Lukaku. It’s unclear what his arrival could mean for Pulisic’s playing time, given the riches of attacking players at the club. During last year’s Champions League run, Pulisic had expressed his frustration at coming off the bench. Of Pulisic’s 53 Premier League appearances, 38 have been starts. He also has seven starts in 14 UEFA Champions League appearances for the club.
Christian Pulisic starts for Chelsea today. 🇺🇸
It’s his 53rd Premier League game, passing Joe-Max Moore for 15th-most by a U.S. international.
— Paul Carr (@PaulCarr) August 14, 2021
Magical run for Pulisic continues
Pulisic is already well on his way to improving on his production compared to last season’s six goals in 43 appearances for Chelsea. And the goal comes three days after Pulisic helped the Blues win the European Super Cup, converting the sixth kick in a dramatic penalty-kick shootout win over Villarreal.
The Super Cup was the latest trophy for Pulisic in a magical summer. On the heels of his Champions League triumph with Chelsea in May, he led the U.S. men’s national team in an incredible comeback victory over Mexico for the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League trophy.
Chelsea acquired Pulisic in January 2019 on a $73 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund, and in his two-and-a-half years with the English giant, he has accumulated a total of 17 goals and 14 assists in 78 total appearances. More importantly, he contributed in a significant way to the team’s UEFA Champions League conquest, figuring prominently in the semifinal series against Real Madrid.
Pulisic is expected to be called up to the U.S. men’s national team’s World Cup qualifying matches in September as the USMNT kicks off play in the CONCACAF octagonal, hoping to secure one of three automatic berths to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.