The news came just ten minutes before kick-off. Christian Pulisic has been pulled from the game due to injury, and has been replaced by Timo Werner, who was due for a well-deserved rest after starting the last seven in a row in all competitions. (Werner has now started all but 1 of our 11 games this season, missing only the Barnsley match in the League Cup. He and Havertz lead the team with 10 starts each.)
Pulisic is nowhere near 10 starts on the season; last night was going to be only his fourth. He missed the first month of the season while still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in early August. Now he might be set to miss a bit more time, with a similar injury, if not the same — it’s unclear if it’s the right leg again like in the FA Cup final.
Eternal injury-optimist Frank Lampard is hoping that it’s just a minor tweak, but is there ever such a thing as a “minor” hamstring injury?
“He felt something on his hamstring. We tried to manage him in midweek, but we’ll see what happens in the next 24 hours. We’re talking minor, nothing serious.”
In fact, even Lampard himself would admit in a later interview that scans are needed and that’s not exactly a good omen.
“Christian had a small sensation in his hamstring. So, we had to pull him. He couldn’t play the game and he felt that in part of the warm up.
“We will have to scan it, he is frustrated as he got fit and we rested him in the week where he comes on and scores. He is so keen to do well for us but we have to scan him and see how it is so I can’t give you a time on that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
With an international break coming next weekend, Pulisic has three weeks to recover before the truly grueling stretch of the season begins — wall-to-wall games from mid-November to late March — and three weeks to recover well enough to shed the ever stickier “injury prone” label.