Christian Pulisic scored his first two goals in a Chelsea uniform on Wednesday, putting in a superb performance for the Premier League side in a 5-3 victory over Red Bull Salzburg in Austria.
Pulisic was transferred from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea in January, but stayed with the German side on loan until the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Lampard ‘Impressed’ by American Winger
The €64 million transfer was the most expensive ever for an American player. But Chelsea fans had seen little of Pulisic, who joined the team late this summer after participating in the Gold Cup for the United States.
That made his performance on Wednesday all the more promising for supporters who hope to see him have a big year at Stamford Bridge. Not only did Pulisic score twice in the first half of the friendly, but he set up a third goal by drawing a penalty that was converted by Ross Barkley.
Christian Pulisic so far:
20' – GOAL
22' – Won a penalty
28' – GOAL pic.twitter.com/gYWHPDOzfy
— ESPN (@espn) July 31, 2019
The fact that all three of those goals were scored in an eight-minute span helped show the potential for Pulisic to create an explosive offensive threat for Chelsea in the seasons to come.
“I was very impressed with the way that he took the goals,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard told Goal after the match. “As a winger in the Premier League, he has to adapt to that league. He is young but with huge potential, and I am happy for him.”
If Chelsea wants to be competitive with the top EPL sides this season, the 20-year-old winger will have to convert some of that potential to results in short order.
Pulisic Has Big Shoes to Fill
Earlier this year, FIFA banned Chelsea from signing players during the next two transfer windows based on the club breaking rules related to registering players under the age of 18. That meant that the team couldn’t go out and look for a replacement for Eden Hazard, who transferred to Real Madrid.
Instead, players already on the roster will be expected to pick up the slack, with Pulisic being counted on to make up for some of the 16 goals and 15 assists Hazard contributed last season.
It’s far too early to know how successful Pulisic will be in the EPL, especially in his first campaign. But the American was happy to get on the scoreboard for his new club on Wednesday.
“Really happy to come out here and get the win and to score my first goals for Chelsea,” Pulisic told Chelsea TV after the match. “Maybe three [would have been better] but I was pretty happy with the performance and it was a good win.”
As a member of the “Big Six,” Chelsea has been given an outside chance of contending for an EPL title, though most bookmakers expect a two-way race between Manchester City and Liverpool. Chelsea is a 28/1 longshot according to William Hill, with Man City (4/9) slightly favored over Liverpool (11/4) to earn the 2019-2020 title.
Of course, those odds could shift if Pulisic has a breakthrough year, and while few are expecting him to be among the best players in the Premier League right away, the possibility isn’t being entirely dismissed. William Hill is offering 66/1 on Pulisic leading the EPL in goals in the upcoming season, though he’d have to outscore stars like Harry Kane (7/2) and Mohamed Salah (5/1) to do so.