Football News

Lampard hints at potential Chelsea striker role for Pulisic

By Ben Green

Published: 18:15, 3 December 2019

Frank Lampard has hinted at a potential false 9 role for Christian Pulisic after the American superstar moved centrally in Chelsea’s 1-0 reversal to West Ham. 

The Blues fired a blank for the first time in the Premier League since their curtain raiser against Manchester United – the 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

Why did Pulisic play up front? Five things to know… 

  • Chelsea were uncharacteristically lukewarm as West Ham won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
  • Lampard was without the injured Tammy Abraham, meaning Olivier Giroud started up front.
  • However, after 71 minutes Chelsea had failed to breach West Ham’s net.
  • As such, Lampard turned to Callum Hudson-Odoi for Giroud and moved Pulisic centrally – snubbing Michy Batshuayi.
  • West Ham’s goal remained intact, but Lampard was impressed with Pulisic’s brief stint through the middle.

Lampard was forced to contest the match without star striker Tammy Abraham, who picked up an injury in the 2-2 Champions League draw against Valencia last week.

As such, fringe forward Olivier Giroud took up the starting striker berth, but with West Ham’s goal unscathed after 71 minutes, Lampard looked to shuffle the pack and find solutions elsewhere.

Instead of introducing Michy Batshuayi, the Chelsea legend took off Giroud for Callum Hudson-Odoi and shuffled Pulisic across to the No. 9 position, with the American impressing during his short spell in uncharted waters.

When asked if Pulisic is a future option through the middle, Lampard replied: “We’ll see.

“He’s got an ability to run behind the line and to be sharp in central areas, which will naturally get him more goals but I’m not going to say right now that’s the solution. We’ll see going forward.” 

Frank Lampard on Christian Pulisic’s positional switch in Chelsea 0-1 West Ham

Lampard dissects striker quandary

With Giroud firing a blank and Batshuayi unable to get any minutes in the defeat to West Ham, Lampard took time to reflect on the issues he has in the striker position without Abraham.

The Chelsea boss added: “It was a difficult game for him. He didn’t get enough of the ball and then the couple of chances he had didn’t go in for him.

“It was a tough match for him but he wasn’t the only one who came into the team and the performance was slightly off it. It was not the easiest game.

“We train hard. Some players, with the nature of how squads are in the modern game, we have to train hard to be at a level to come in. I wouldn’t want to point it to match fitness.

“Michy has had a lot of performances to come on lately and has made a difference in certain games but it was just a choice for this game.”