Christian Pulisic must prove he is not another talent lost to injury

Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea fitness HELL: After 11 injuries and a total of 342 days out since moving to Stamford Bridge in 2019, the promising American winger now needs to prove he is not one of the Premier League’s injury-hit talents

  • Christian Pulisic has endured a nightmare injury record at Chelsea since joining
  • The American has suffered 11 injuries since joining for £60million two years ago
  • Pulisic has missed 41 Chelsea games and spent 342 days on the treatment table
  • Time is running out to prove Pulisic is not another top-flight talent lost to injury 

Christian Pulisic was Eden Hazard’s £60m replacement at Chelsea and, for a brief moment, the American looked like he was set to step into the Blues legend’s shoes. 

Hazard was Chelsea’s big-game player and in August 2020, Pulisic had taken over that mantle. Five minutes into the FA Cup final with Arsenal at Wembley, the American jinked past a couple of defenders to put the Blues in front.  

It was Pulisic’s fourth goal in nine matches, his 11th in his debut season at Chelsea. There was a new hero at Stamford Bridge, but then a cruel twist of fate struck. 

Christian Pulisic has suffered 11 injuries and spent a total of 335 days out since joining Chelsea

Pulisic suffered a major blow by damaging his calf during the 2020 FA Cup final with Arsenal

Having just come back from six months out with an adductor problem, Pulisic was running through on goal in the second half – with the scores tied at 1-1 – when his calf gave way. His cup final was over. 

That moment could summarise Pulisic’s two years in west London so far: plenty of promise and quality, until the next injury comes along.

The 23-year-old has suffered 11 injuries since he arrived at Stamford Bridge back in the summer of 2019, spending an accumulative total of 342 days on the treatment table. 

Pulisic’s Chelsea nightmare – in terms of injuries – has been going on for nearly 18 months now. Sportsmail’s graphic shows exactly how long he has spent out with each ailment

Pulisic has missed a total of 41 Chelsea games since then – more than the length of an entire Premier League season. No wonder Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel sympathises with a player who just cannot catch a break. 

‘Once these players with quick movements like Christian, once they feel this pain and they are not free in the movement the recovery is not happening,’ Tuchel said when providing an update on the American’s fitness last week.

‘You start all over again and you reach a certain point and the pain comes back. And you have to do a little pause and start all over again.

‘So right now we are very, very close. He was so close to coming to team training last week and had a little setback and reaction, with pain. Nothing serious. From there on we go.

He has had several more blows since the cup final loss and has not played since August 2021

‘He is very impatient, of course, and he does everything and we can see him suffer in every meeting,’ he added. ‘And every time we meet him here (at training) he is really suffering and wants to be on the pitch and help us. Everybody is doing their very best. Unfortunately the injury takes its time.’  

Pulisic was signed by Chelsea when Maurizio Sarri was manager, though Frank Lampard was hired by the time the American arrived on west London soil, before the English boss was then replaced by Tuchel in the winger’s second season at the Blues.

Both Lampard and Tuchel have rated Pulisic highly: the former handed Hazard’s old No 10 shirt to Pulisic straight after the Arsenal cup final setback, while Tuchel knew the winger at Borussia Dortmund and made him a key player last term.

Thomas Tuchel (back) revealed Pulisic is suffering from impatience but is still in great pain

The German head coach arrived in west London in February of this year and Pulisic was Chelsea’s key man come April. Back-to-back goals against West Brom and Crystal Palace helped the American’s cause, as did a goal in Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final tie at Real Madrid. 

Pulisic started all but one of Chelsea’s final ten Premier League games of the season as they secured a top-four finish, while the winger was on the field when the Blues won their second Champions League title against Manchester City in Porto. 

Better things were expected this season and Pulisic knew that. The American told Chelsea’s official website that ‘staying healthy was a big goal of mine’ – but that goal lasted just two matches.

Pulisic (holding trophy) was a key player when Tuchel’s Blues won the Champions League title

Pulisic has showed a great deal of promise and quality but cannot catch a break at Chelsea

Pulisic started Chelsea’s UEFA Super Cup win over Villarreal, then played and scored in the Blues’ opening Premier League match of the season against Crystal Palace, but has not been seen since following a coronavirus diagnosis and an ankle issue.  

Both Pulisic and Tuchel know that his time at Chelsea is far from over, even though the Blues’ squad depth makes the American’s absence just a minor blow.

But another setback for the 23-year-old and questions will be asked about whether Pulisic is the latest Premier League hotshot to have a career plagued by injuries. 

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