Christian Pulisic’s red-hot play is showing no signs of cooling down.
In Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday, the 21-year-old American scored his third goal in five games since the Premier League returned last month following a three-month, coronavirus-caused hiatus. The victory leapfrogged the Blues into third place over Leicester City, moving Frank Lampard’s team that much closer to clinching a top-four spot and a berth in next seasons’s UEFA Champions League.
Pulisic has now scored or drawn the fouls that led to six of the 12 goals Chelsea has converted since the Blues’ 2019-21 season resumed on June 21. His left-footed, top-corner strike in the first half against Palace was among the best of the lot:
Veteran forward Olivier Giroud had opened the scoring for Chelsea after just six minutes. Tammy Abraham notched the eventual winner for the Blues after Lampard summoned him from the bench in the second half.
The visitors looked as if they’d cruise to their fifth win in six games after Pulisic made it 2-0 in the 27th minute. London rival Palace, however, proved to be no easy out at Selhurst Park. Wilfried Zaha signaled as much when he quickly cut his side’s deficit in half on a spectacular long-range effort:
The hosts would again pull within a goal when Christian Benteke found the net just 82 seconds after Abraham had made it 3-1. And the 14th-place Eagles — who narrowly outshot Chelsea on Tuesday — came within a hair of getting a stoppage-time equalizer with a furious attack in the final seconds.
Goal-bound shots from Benteke, Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt were saved or blocked before they got to keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. On the final chance of the contest, Joel Ward couldn’t put van Aanholt’s cross on-frame.
“We should have killed the game off,” Lampard said afterward.
Still, the manager only had good things to say about Pulisic and his lights-out form. The U.S. national teamer now has eight league goals in 21 matches during his maiden season in England. Chelsea has won every game in which he’s scored.
“I knew the talent that Christian has,” Lampard said. “He has come in and been great for us. The quality for us — and the end product — is great.”
Chelsea now has just four Prem games remaining, starting with a trip Saturday to plucky minnow Sheffield United. The Blues will also face Manchester United July 19 in the FA Cup semifinals.
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