American soccer fans were thrilled at the idea of Christian Pulisic playing for Chelsea when the news broke last winter. Pulisic officially joined the team over the summer but hid impact has been marginal, with just four appearances (three starts), four shots (one on target) and one assist in the Premier League. He’s failed to find the back of the net thus far in his first season playing for one of England’s biggest clubs, and Chelsea is off to a terrible start, with just eight points out of 18 possible through six matches.
He was an unused substitute in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool, and that came after he was left on the bench in the Champions League opener last week — a 1-0 loss to Valencia. He has yet to step on the field for an official club match in September.
One of the biggest reasons for Pulisic not playing has been the emergence of Mason Mount. The 20-year-old English midfielder had two successful loan spells at Vitesse (2017-18) and Derby County (2018-19), and much like Tammy Abraham, he’s become one of the team’s young stars this season. He’s been lively with his quality passing and has three goals in eight games. He got the start against Liverpool despite being the victim of a nasty tackle just days prior in UCL. Still, that wasn’t enough to give Pulisic the start over him. Manager Frank Lampard touched on the situation following the loss to the Reds which saw the Blues once again fail to win at home — something they haven’t been able to do this season.
“I have a squad to pick from. I decided to go with Mason today,” Lampard said, according to The Daily Mail.
“These are my choices to make. Christian is a young player as well. His chances will come. There are people on the bench.”
Pulisic has shown quality in some of the minutes he’s played, while at times struggling a bit with the pace and physicality of the league. There’s no denying the talent that he has and that he can be an impact player for the club, but it will take time. Simply put, early on, Mount has just been better and has cemented the starting role for now, leaving Pulisic relegated to the bench until further notice.
Chelsea plays Grimsby Town at 2:45 p.m. ET in the EFL Cup third round on Wednesday. Perhaps that might be where Lampard decides to give the young American some playing time.