Chelsea and Christian Pulisic won’t have to wait long to get a crack at the champs.
Upon Thursday’s unveiling of the 2020-21 Premier League schedule, the Blues and their American talisman learned that just five days after opening the new season at Brighton and Hove Albion on Sept. 14, they would welcome title-holding Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea will take on at least one high-profile foe in each subsequent month for the rest of the calendar year, culminating with a Boxing Day match against Arsenal Dec. 26. Chelsea will travel to Manchester United Oct. 24 before hosting north London rival Tottenham Nov. 28.
Pulisic is still working his way back from the hamstring injury he suffered after scoring Chelsea’s only goal in a FA Cup final loss to Arsenal earlier this month. He was a revelation for Frank Lampard’s squad last campaign — the 21-year-old’s first in the EPL after four years with Borussia Dortmund — especially during the season’s stretch run in June and July following an unplanned three-month shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s not clear if Pulisic will be ready to go by the time the Reds come to town; Lampard said Aug. 8 that the winger could miss “the first one or two games” of the new season. Pulisic had perhaps his best game for Chelsea in last month’s loss to Liverpool, scoring and adding an all-planet assist after slaloming through defenders in just 31 minutes off the bench at Anfield.
On a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter said that was recovering well by all accounts.
“I talked to Christian,” Berhalter said. “The leg is doing really well, it’s recovering, it’s healing and he’s in good spirits. The club is focused on getting him back as soon as possible.
“We have a lot of confidence in Chelsea, a lot of confidence in their medical staff and a lot of confidence in Christian. He’s a guy that has exploded on the scene in this last year in the Premier League and it has been great to watch.”
Pulisic scored nine goals and set up seven more in 25 league appearances despite dealing with several nagging ailments last term, helping Chelsea to a fourth-place finish and the coveted Champions League berth that comes with it. Afterward, he was nominated for the Premier League’s Young Player of the Season award that was ultimately won by Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Despite establishing himself in Lampard’s first-choice lineup by the end of last season, Pulisic will have to continue to excel to keep his place with the summer arrival of former Ajax attacker Hakim Ziyech.
Chelsea’s full 2020-21 Premier League slate is as follows:
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