Can Spurs or Chelsea challenge for the title?
Frank Lampard has explained that he could not risk playing Christian Pulisic against Everton on Saturday as the winger continues to recover from a muscular issue. The 22-year-old suffered a serious hamstring injury during last season’s FA Cup final and has struggled to maintain full fitness during the current campaign.
Pulisic, who has only played five times in the Premier League this season, featured against Tottenham and Leeds United but was ruled out of Saturday’s defeat at Goodison Park.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s early penalty sealed all three points for the hosts, handing Chelsea their first league defeat since September’s loss at the hands of defending champions Liverpool.
Speaking prior to kick-off, Lampard admitted that Pulisic was still having issues but could be in line to return in midweek when the Blues face Wolves on Tuesday.
“Christian has a bit of awareness in his hamstring,” he said. “He’s been training through the week but he felt some awareness and we simply can’t risk him.
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“We have seen two wingers go down recently, Ziyech last week and Callum [Hudson-Odoi] in training. We are coming up to a busy period in the season. As we keep saying, players are getting a lot of muscle injuries.
“Christian wasn’t quite ready, but hopefully for Tuesday night, we will find out next week.”
Pulisic joined Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund in January 2019, spending the first six months on loan at the German outfit before returning to Stamford Bridge in the summer.
He has made 42 appearances for the Blues, scoring 19 goals and creating another 26 in the process.
The USA international has impressed on the occasions he has been deployed by Lampard, despite the Chelsea boss claiming earlier this week that he is not yet the finished article.
“Christian is a work in progress,” Lampard said on Thursday. “I don’t want to call this an injury he had in midweek. If the game had been a different type of game then maybe I would have used him.
“We know his abilities, that’s very clear, he showed them when he came on against Leeds last week.
“I just have to find the right way to get the best out of him regularly and consistently.”
Chelsea have the Champions League knockout stages to look forward to after they qualified as Group E winners.
The draw for the next round is scheduled to take place on Monday at UEFA’s headquarters in Switzerland.
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