Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic has excelled so far this season from a wide position. Yet Chelsea manager Frank Lampard sees the 21-year-old as a back-up striker to Tammy Abraham.
Pulisic is currently a first-team regular after struggling to break into Lampard’s XI during the early stages of the season. He is deployed on the left-hand side of the front line where he is able to cut inside on his favoured right foot. However, where the American is versatile across the front line, Pulisic could be used as a central forward. Chelsea are currently looking to cover the club’s top goal-scorer Abraham following the injury he picked up in the Champions League.
Abraham was substituted during a dramatic draw against Valencia as he suffered an awkward fall and injured his hip at the Mestalla. The absence of Chelsea’s number nine was clear to see on Saturday as the Blues suffered a disappointing 1-0 loss to London rivals West Ham.
When the English international hasn’t featured for Chelsea, Lampard’s back-up strikers Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi aren’t bad replacements to have. But when they are included from the start, both have failed to deliver the cutting edge that Abraham gives Chelsea, especially the goalscoring exploits this season.
The Chelsea boss is most likely hoping that the club’s transfer ban will be lifted so he is able to find a solid acquisition in the event that Abraham suffers another injury this season. Lampard knows that Giroud and Batshuayi can’t offer what Abraham does and so he may have to look at other players to play in the central striker role.
Pulisic has been mentioned following the events that happened at Stamford Bridge this weekend. The American has been in good goalscoring form recently and Lampard could utilise an unfamiliar striker role to compensate for Abraham’s absence.
Previous Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri did something similar last season where he used Belgium international Eden Hazard in the lone striker role, where at times it paid off. Moreover, Pulisic is a direct runner and makes clinical runs in behind the opposition’s defensive line. Knowing that this element has worked to good effect, Lampard might be tempted to try Pulisic through the middle if Abraham isn’t ready to feature.
It’s now back-to-back defeats for Chelsea in the Premier League who still remain fourth in the table. With the busy Christmas period beginning to take full flow, Lampard will need to rotate his young squad to enable that his players don’t get injured along with maintaining their aim for this season which is to secure a top-four finish.