Chelsea: Two Key Returns From Injury Can Finally Kickstart the Blues’ Season

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on October 03, 2020 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 Visionhaus)

After all of the money spent towards improving the squad, Chelsea and manager Frank Lampard cannot have been satisfied with the early start.

A gritty 3-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion was followed by a loss to the champions Liverpool and a 3-3 draw against West Bromwich Albion. The Blues conceded three goals in the opening 30 minutes, then came back to equalise at the death.

However, following a cup exit to Tottenham Hotspur, a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace certainly boosted spirits and put Lampard’s side in seventh going into the break.

It’s undoubtedly been an inconsistent start so far from Chelsea, but that could be about to change with the returns of two critical players – Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea: Two Key Injury Returns Can Kickstart the Season

Pulisic: Incredible Restart Last Season

The American’s form last season before the hiatus was still largely impressive, but the restart took it to a whole new level. Pulisic was simply unstoppable from June to August, causing fear in every opponent he faced.

His combination of pace, immaculate dribbling and daring incisiveness made him a nightmare for opposing defenders, as they could simply do nothing to stop him. More often than not, whenever he got the ball, he had one thought – drive forward.

And drive he did. He successfully took on defenders, beat them one-on-one, created space for a cross, or whatever else he wanted to do. Without him and Olivier Giroud, it’s possible that Chelsea may not have finished in the top four.

Ziyech Brings Exactly What Chelsea Need

One of the people who should be thanking Pulisic for his performances last season is Ziyech, who will now get to showcase his skills in the Champions League. Having played some exceptional football for Ajax, he will now look to spread his talent and quality to the Premier League.

The Moroccan is an excellent dribbler, distance shooter, and trickster, and he doesn’t lack pace either, but he has one quality which sets him above the rest. That is his ability to create something out of nothing.

Usually, his chance creation stems from his world-class passing, with his vision being equally impressive. He’ll see a pass that only a select few footballers would even contemplate, and deliver it on time and on target with perfect execution.

This becomes especially useful in breaking down low blocks, which is something Chelsea struggled immensely at last season.

There is only one thing that can break down these teams – creativity. Pulisic has it through his driving ability and his pace, and Ziyech has it through his eye for a pass. He already showed it in his first match for Chelsea, delivering a mouth-watering pass to Callum Hudson-Odoi for the first goal before hobbling off with an unfortunate injury.

However, he has since recovered, and even played 40 minutes in a friendly for Morocco this past week. Pulisic also played a few minutes in the Blues’ last league game against Palace, so both should be good to go this weekend.

Time to See the Gala Eleven

With the signings of Ziyech, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, plus the emergence of Pulisic last season, this new-look front four looks deadly.

They seem to complement each other very well, but there’s only so much we can say without having seen them all play together. Pulisic and Ziyech’s injuries not only affected them but Werner and Havertz as well.

The shortage of wingers meant that both Havertz (a natural number 10) and Werner (a natural striker) shifted wide to make up the numbers. However, they struggled in those positions, or at least weren’t at their best.

The duo’s timely return, plus Hudson-Odoi’s reintegration into the side, means there is no longer a need for Havertz or Werner to play wide. Now, we can finally see this front four that Chelsea fans have been waiting for.

With Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante behind them, they have sufficient defensive cover, so their main focus can be creating attacks. Lampard will no longer have to rely on the magic of one player to break down a low block, he’ll have four superstars ready to do just that.

Having the attacking potential of Ben Chilwell and Reece James on the flanks, plus Kovacic’s creative ability from deep and the likes of Mason Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham off the bench makes for a very talented, deep Chelsea squad.

On Saturday, we may get our first glimpse of this front four playing together for the first time. Hopefully, it doesn’t disappoint, and this is what will truly kickstart Chelsea’s season.

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