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Pulisic delivers another Man of the Match outing to help Chelsea reach UCL semis

Christian Pulisic has gone from struggling to get into the Chelsea lineup to regaining the excellent form he enjoyed last season in what feels like a blink, and his latest outing only served to confirm the fact that the American star is on a roll again.

Pulisic earned Man of the Match honors in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg against FC Porto. The Blues lost the match, 1-0, but the result helped Chelsea advance to the semifinals after a 2-0 first-leg victory.

Pulisic was instrumental in Tuesday’s match, providing a constant threat and generating dangerous moments that led FC Porto to foul him a whopping 11 times. That number was the most fouls suffered by a player in a Champions League match since Lionel Messi was fouled 11 times by Real Madrid in 2011.

Pulisic finished with a game-high three shots, four successful dribbles and two key passes, earning him UEFA’s Man of the Match Award, which came just three days after he was named Man of the Match following his two-goal performance in a 4-2 win against Crystal Palace.

Pulisic played 90 minutes for the second straight match, enduring the steady stream of abuse from FC Porto defenders to finish out the match and secure Chelsea’s place in the Champions League semifinals against the winner of the Real Madrid-Liverpool quarterfinal.

Whether the wear and tear suffered against Manchester City keeps him out of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City remains to be seen, but it is clear Pulisic is playing with real confidence at the moment and Thomas Tuchel has been rewarded for his patience in bringing Pulisic along slowly in his plans.

Comments

  1. Pulisic was fouled once every 8.5 or so minutes factoring stoppage time. This is an absolutely ridiculous statistic, and the referee should absolutely be ashamed for allowing that kind of targeting. Normally, even if the fouls aren’t overly harsh, the card starts to come out after 2-3 consecutive fouls on a particular player. To allow THAT many with only (I think) a single yellow card is just disgraceful. If they’re going to allow matches to look like 1980s ice hockey matches, then they should allow fighting and enforcers to deter it. What an absolute load of crap to have to watch.

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    • For what it’s worth, he actually drew three yellow cards. It’s hard to say what the ref could have done differently (none were red-worthy). Perhaps could’ve broken out the cards a little earlier.

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  2. Not sure its fair to say Tuchel was rewarded for his patience. He overcame his own stubbornness in trying to get other players to be his starter and finally gave CP10 a run of games and poof he was better than Werner. What a huge surprise.

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    • I’d dispute this a bit. Pulisic hasn’t been fit throughout much of Tuchel’s tenure, and he has given the player opportunities. Now that he’s fully-fit and producing, he does seem to be paying dividends, so I think there’s a definite point that Tuchel was patient in letting Christian get fit and then inserting him into the side both as an impact sub and later as a starter when his performances were clearly good enough to demand his inclusion in the XI.

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    • That’s your theory, which isn’t based on anything at all factual. Tuchel was pretty transparent throughout, and one thing Tuchel has always been is open about how he sees things. He had real concerns about Pulisic’s fitness and him needing to build that up.

      There was plenty of bad info that made the rounds, and it’s pretty clear you bought into all of it. The reality is Tuchel gave Pulisic a run when he felt Pulisic could handle it physically, and here we are.

      The reality is Pulisic was worn down and had been in bad form when Lampard was fired. Lampard kept playing him every game even when his form didn’t merit it and his form suffered and it impacted his physical status. Tuchel is a very detail-oriented manager, and took all that into account when he made the decision to give Pulisic a rest and chance to recharge. Pretty sure Tuchel knows Pulisic pretty well, but go ahead and keep buying the clickbait BS that made the rounds.

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      • And thank goodness for Tuchel’s good sense. Had he played much more when he was obviously on shaky ground physically and we could easily be talking about him being out long term, complaining about how poorly his fitness was managed.

      • I recall when Tuchel had Pulisic as a young teenager at BVB and remarked to the press that good young footballers develop fatigue vary quickly and need periods of rest. People forget that Pulisic is still only 21-22 nd is still young. Fatigue varies from player to player with some affecting more than others. Tuchel (and BVB) knows how to handle young players and I think you will see that, as Pulisic really starts to blossom and stays injury free.

  3. Pulisic was fouled 11 times. I lost count of how many were yellow card-worthy after six, and I was only half watching the game while working. If this keeps up he will be walking with a permanent limp by the time he’s 25.
    The referees have to do a better job of protecting the creative players.

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