Not often it happens that a player scores a perfect hattrick by scoring with his right foot, left foot and his head. Not often it happens that such a player happens to be a player playing his debut season for Chelsea. Not often it happens that this player also happens to be the youngest ever Chelsea player to score a hattrick altogether.
Records were broken, tears were shed, happiness was felt and 3 points were won. A perfect night for Christian Pulisic who has been going through some tough times, often looking as if he was buckling under the pressure. The pressure of being his country's hope, the pressure of the huge price tag that he had.
Speaking after Chelsea's 4-2 win over Burnley, Frank Lampard expressed happiness at what Pulisic had achieved, who can now afford to breathe a little easier. Even Lampard himself must have breathed a sigh of relief after seeing tonight's performance as Pulisic has not only shown that he can survive under pressure but he has shown he can thrive under it.
“I’m absolutely delighted for him. A lot of talk around Christian for the big price tag, the fact he’s quite rightly a star in his country and plays for the US so well and captain of, so you get asked questions about it.
“I’m delighted to see him do that today. I know the backstory and the pressures of a move like that. I also know he played for his country through the summer and had one week break this summer to come back after that.
“Then you get the pressure of can you settle in the Premier League, so I’ve tried to deal with it in the way I see best which is to give him minutes. He’s played games this season already, but I’ve also got competition in that area. I need them all on edge, I need them all trying to perform when they get in the team and play. Christian has been doing it recently, he’s been doing it from the bench. He fully deserved his start today and it was a fantastic match-winning performance.”
For a while there it seemed as if Pulisic would be another big money flop at Chelsea or at least one who would be subject to a harsh life at Chelsea whether it's Torres and Morata's bad luck, Jorginho's booing due to closeness with Sarri, Kepa's controversy due to standing up against Sarri.
Chelsea's big money signings seem to struggle with the price tag, the ensuing expectations. controversies or even just the league itself. Pulisic, on his part for now, has shown that he is like the latter two of Jorginho and Kepa rather than the former two of Torres and Morata.
Lampard too seems to believe that Pulisic not only had a good performance today but can get even better and has the right physicality for the Premier League.
“I know what a good player he is, I see that closehand. There are things he has to learn and improve because he’s just turned 21, it’s the same with all young players. There are things that he’s going to work on and I think he knows it and he knows that I’m driving that daily in training. The way he’s trained in the past few weeks, and the impact he’s had when playing, he’s said to everyone ‘here I am’ and what talent he does have. I’m really pleased for him today. It’s what we need from all our attacking players; to be a threat, to play like that, have a ruthless edge about how they finish and he showed the full package today.
“Exactly. He’s got that and when you talk about the Premier League one thing there is is physicality, particularly at places like Burnley. When he moves the ball so quickly like he can do, he can cause a lot of problems. It’s a great thing to watch when people have balance like that. The first goal when he waits, then a step over and then moves away again from the player, that stuff is brilliant. I hope it gives him the confidence that it should do, and I’m pretty sure it will do, that will do him great going forward.”
Of course it wasn't all amazing in Chelsea's win over Burnley. We did concede two stupid goals and looked as if we had fallen asleep but thankfully had a four goal lead to fall back on but Lampard would rather focus on the positives than dwell on the negatives.
“It was really pleasing because it’s a worry when you travel back and you are aware the other team doesn’t have that situation. That was a really taxing game on the legs tonight, it wasn’t an easy game and it was our toughest most physical game of the year.
“Credit to the medical staff and the people that work around the players because they put a lot of hours in in the last two or three days. The players have been professional in how they’ve recovered and professional in how they’ve picked themselves up and come to Burnley, which we knew was going to be a really tough match.
“It’s easy to take small gloss off it with two late goals, but it doesn’t take any gloss off it for me today. For 95% of the game we played some outstanding football at such a tough place to play is what made me very, very happy today.”
Another blip in what was otherwise a rather great night was Hudson-Odoi's penalty call which resulted in a booking for simulation after CAR cancelled the initially allowed penalty. Here is what Lampard had to say about the issue.
“If I feel like it was a dive I would speak to Callum and say that’s not what we’re about. When you’re moving into the box at pace and cutting across defenders, whether VAR decides if it’s a penalty or not is one thing.
“I thought there was a lot of things going on in the game with people going down under no real contact. Their bench wanted everything that was happening. Ashley Barnes every time he has a contest in the air he falls to ground to get a free-kick to stick it in the box.
“Let’s be clear, these things do still happen all over football when it’s a fast game and people are trying to win. If it was a dive I would address it for sure. I need to look it back but I actually don’t think it’s a clean cut an argument as that.”
Another issue was Tammy Abraham's lack of goalscoring. Tammy, for the second game in a row, managed to not have a single shot on target. In fact, in the last two matches, the young striker has only managed one off-target shot.
That could be due to the lack of rotation as Tammy Abraham has started 11(!) of Chelsea's last 12 matches. Lampard definitely needs to do better in that regard especially since Chelsea seem to continuously be playing a match every three days and he says that that's exactly what he'll do.
“Yeah, that[rotation] is always in my mind. I have a good squad and obviously you need to keep people happy in the squad. The first thing is results and I think the momentum recently means that there has not been many changes, only a few here and there. When the moments come players need to stay fit and ready and support the team when not playing. It’s not nice and it’s a hard part of my job telling people they aren’t playing.
“I know the quality in the squad and there will be moments in the coming weeks or over the long haul of the season when I’ll rely on someone else than today. I think it’s so important to keep a real spirit as a group whether you’re a starter or whether you’re someone coming on and making an impact.”
-Frank Lampard; Source: Football.London
7 matches, 7 wins. 21 goals scored, 5 goals conceded. Chelsea's run in recent weeks has been nothing short of astonishing especially considering that N'Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger have been unavailable for most of these games. Hopefully this continues as the Blues go deeper into this season.