Christian Pulisic scores goal in rare start for Chelsea

Christian Pulisic scored his first goal of the English Premier League season Saturday, chipping a second-half shot into the back of the net in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge.

Pulisic’s goal came as he continues to fight for minutes under new coach Graham Potter, who has largely excluded the U.S. men’s national team star from his early-season lineups as the World Cup approaches next month.

Pulisic entered Saturday having logged just 167 minutes in seven Premier League matches this season. He started one of those games, against West Ham last month, and produced an assist off the bench against Crystal Palace last Saturday. Of his appearances before Saturday, when he was substituted in the 72nd minute, only one lasted longer than 27 minutes.

Pulisic sought to leave the English side this summer in search of more minutes after struggling at times to break through under former coach Thomas Tuchel — despite playing a critical role down the stretch of Chelsea’s 2021 Champions League run. Under Potter, who replaced Tuchel last month, Pulisic has continued to come off the bench, playing a secondary role even before the September signing of forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

“It doesn’t look like he’s going to be at his best in terms of fitness, energy, sharpness or rhythm going into the World Cup,” former Liverpool star and CBS analyst Jamie Carragher said this week. “So I think it’s really worrying for him. I just don’t see how he’s going to get the games as there are so many players in those attacking positions. The most he’s going to get is minutes coming off the bench, and I don’t think that’s going to be enough for him to show his best in the national team at the World Cup.”

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