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Christian Pulisic digs deep as Chelsea win Club World Cup

Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle review Saturday's Premier League slate, from Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Southampton to Manchester City's 4-0 demolition of Norwich City.

Christian Pulisic played a big part in Chelsea winning the FIFA Club World Cup, as he became the first-ever American to lift the trophy.

Over the last 12 months he has now won the UEFA Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the CONCACAF Nations League. Not bad.

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Christian Pulisic, 23, has been through a rough run of form (and admitted as much during the USMNT’s recent World Cup qualifiers) and started on the bench in both of Chelsea’s games in Abu Dhabi.

He has since also said he’s been putting too much pressure on himself when playing for the USMNT, but he didn’t play like that in the Club World Cup final. After not appearing in the semifinal, Pulisic was called into action just 30 minutes in gainst Palmeiras.

Mason Mount picked up an injury and Pulisic was the man Thomas Tuchel turned to. The American didn’t let him down.

How did the American get on?

Straight away Pulisic was picking the ball up in dangerous areas, twisting and turning and cutting inside from the left like he likes to do. He caused Palmeiras all kinds of problems.

He curled a superb shot just wide in the second half, then could have done better as he side-footed another effort wide soon after, and he was on free kick duty for much of the game.

Pulisic almost scored in extra time to put Chelsea ahead, as Timo Werner’s cross found one of his well-timed runs into the box but his effort was well defended and appeared to deflect off a Palmeiras defender and looped up to hit the crossbar.

That effort may have been chalked off due to Werner being offside, but it showcased Pulisic’s willingness to get into the box. That was something which was missing in recent Chelsea appearances. He also dug deep and played left wing-back for a brief period during extra time as Chelsea subbed in plenty of players and Pulisic has shown time and time again he is willing to do whatever the team needs him to do.

Good signs for USMNT heading into March qualifiers

Perhaps it did Pulisic good to be left out of the team for a few games before the January World Cup qualifiers, then get away with the USMNT for a bit.

Yes, he struggled when he played for the USMNT and was left out against Honduras, but this is a player who hasn’t played consistently over the last two to three years due to injuries, and he was just coming off the back of a stretch of playing pretty much every game through December and early January for Chelsea.

With the USMNT playing at Mexico and Costa Rica and hosting Panama in March, these final three qualifiers are crucial as the U.S. could seal a World Cup spot by the time they play Panama at home in the second game.

Pulisic being back to his best will be huge for the USMNT and whether or not his future remains at Chelsea, that will be figured out in the summer. Until then, he looks happy, fired up and has added another trophy to his growing collection.

USMNT fans will be hoping he will be adding another type of World Cup to round off 2022...

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