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Pulisic Watch: USMNT wing influential for Chelsea, stymied by Ramsdale

Christian Pulisic

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea shoots whilst under pressure from Aaron Ramsdale of Sheffield United during the Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final match between Chelsea FC and Sheffield Untied at Stamford Bridge on March 21, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Christian Pulisic was back in Chelsea’s Starting XI in Sunday’s FA Cup quarterfinal versus Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge, going 80-plus minutes of the Blues’ 2-0 win.

The USMNT winger was influential but not perfect in his 82 minutes, leaving with Chelsea’s only two shots on target as the Blues held a late 1-0 lead over the Blades.

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Pulisic saw more of the ball in the first half but brought plenty of danger in the second half. His intense chemistry with Olivier Giroud did not produce anything, while a pair of Aaron Ramsdale saves kept him off the score sheet.

Read on for all of his stats and the minute-by-minute account of his day.

Pulisic Watch, FA Cup versus Sheffield United

2nd minute: Dispossessed on the left edge of the 18 after team leaves him challenged by two Blades.

3rd minute: Drops deep to pick up the ball and beats his man with a turn before laying off for Olivier Giroud.

14th minute: Tackled by George Baldock but the ball goes to another Blues player, who is fouled by Baldock.

15th minute: Switches the play to the right for a cross that’s cleared by the Blades.

17th minute: Rescues a wayward Chelsea long ball and settles it to keep possession en route to a Ben Chilwell-won free kick near the left corner flag.

28th minute: Chelsea now leads 1-0 off an Oliver Norwood own goal, and Pulisic is involved in some incisive combination play before the final pass is well behind the American deep inside the six and the Blades clear the danger.

41st minute: There’s life as Pulisic drives the heart of the midfield with plenty of space, but the American hits a pass behind Chilwell to ruin the rush.

42nd minute: Pulisic picks off a bad pass and navigate a slip on the turf only to see Ramsdale make a fine in-tight save on the American, who nods the ball back to Mason Mount. The matchday captain can’t manufacture a shot on frame.

44th minute: Perhaps that terrible pass to Chilwell woke Pulisic up, because he’s within an inch or two of heading a cross on frame. The question will be whether an exasperated Thomas Tuchel can get the errant pass out of his head?

HT stats: Two shots, one saved. Three-of-four dribbles converted and 80 percent passing with a total of 42 touches. Pulisic drew three fouls and won 7-of-11 duels while picking up an interception and a tackle. (SofaScore).

46th minute: A terrific dribble nearly delivers a prime chance for Chelsea as Pulisic begins the half brightly and forces a fine save out of Ramsdale.

52nd minute: Now mainly on the right side of the formation, he’s central to pick up the ball to drive the middle and dish right to Callum Hudson-Odoi. The English right wingback flashes over the goal.

54th minute: The usual Pulisic-Olivier Giroud chemistry hasn’t connected much and the American tries a scoop pass to the French forward, cut out by a sliding Blades defender.

73rd minute: Chelsea had been out-worked by Sheffield United and the Blues made some subs but let Pulisic keep working, with bids to set up Hakim Ziyech for a shot and Cesar Azpilicueta for a big cross his first notable time on the ball in a spell.

74th minute: Crosses toward the back post off a fine 1v1 move but there’s no one there with Giroud having made way for Reece James.

83rd minute: Subs off for N’Golo Kante as Chelsea tries to close down the game.

FT stats: Four shots, two saved. Six-of-seven dribbles converted in 82 minutes and 82 percent passing with a total of 62 touches. One key pass, four fouls drawn, won 10-of-17 duels while picking up an interception. (SofaScore).

Follow @NicholasMendola