Christian Pulisic Makes First Start in Chelsea No. 10, Provides Impact


Today was the very first day that you saw the Chelsea final third fully activated with Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech all playing together. Pulisic, lining up on the right instead of his usual place on the left side (occupied by Mason Mount today), made his first start in the famed Chelsea #10 shirt Saturday at home against Southampton FC.

Pulisic made his presence felt immediately, getting past opposing Saints defenders and drawing attention that opened things up in the Blues attacking third for everyone involved, and it was the Germans who provided the goals.

Timo Werner got his first Premier League goal on the books in the 15′ and then made it ZWEI! in the 28′. Obviously, the former RB Leipzig man was the hero of the day for the hosts. However, Pulisic was directly involved in helping to make the Kai Havertz goal happen in the 58′, providing the pass upfield into the box to Werner, who then delivered the cross that Havertz finished off.

The former Bayer Leverkusen man has now opened up his account in the Premier League. The Havertz goal came just two minutes after Che Adams had temporarily equalized for Southampton.

Then, in the 72′ Hakim Ziyech came on for Mount, marking the first time that Chelsea has had all three of their big money 2020 attacking player transfer additions on the pitch at the same time.

The future is now for Chelsea, as this has to be the preferred attacking group that manager Frank Lampard ideally wants in his 4-2-3-1 formation: Pulisic, Ziyech, Havertz and Werner. In order to win matches and silverware though, they’re going to have to be high flying.

Pulisic said over international break that he’s dreaming of big trophies, this season, and that’s only going to come if the southwest London side can overcome their issues and problems in goal. An injured Edouard Mendy meant that demoted and out of favor goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga got the start in between the sticks.

With Kepa, a howler or two often comes with the territory, and that’s exactly what happened on the first goal for the visitors. Danny Ings got one back, just before halftime, for the south coast club and Chelsea were up only 2-1 in a game that they absolutely dominated in the first half.

When they entered extra time, they probably thought they would go on to win on 3-2, but Southampton had other ideas. Jaanik Vestergaard found the back of the net in the second minute of stoppage time, and the final result was 3-3. It was a very different route to 3-3 than the draw with newly promoted West Bromwich Albion earlier this term, but the final scoreline is the same.

And again it probably feels like a defeat for the Blues and their fans.

Lampard has made it clear however, over and over again that it’s still going to take some time to get everybody that was brought in during the summer clicking on the same page.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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