Christian Pulisic misses Chelsea FA Cup tie, trip to Club World Cup after USMNT qualifiers

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US international Christian Pulisic will not be available for Chelsea’s fourth round FA Cup match against Plymouth Argyle and will instead join the squad for their FIFA Club World Cup commitments next week.

Pulisic was featured in each of the USMNT’s three World Cup qualifiers during the international break, which for most of Thomas Tuchel’s squad was given over to halftime and recovery. That was not an option for the US Chelsea international, who led his side against El Salvador, played the full 90 minutes in Canada before scoring against Honduras as a substitute in the freezing cold of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Of particular interest to Chelsea and Tuchel is Pulisic’s involvement in that final game and the fact that he will have gone from the blistering cold of Minnesota to the winter heat of the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi. The mercury reached zero degrees Fahrenheit at Allianz Field, with two Honduras players being substituted amid fears of hypothermia as the US won 3-0. In Abu Dhabi, temperatures reach an average temperature of 77 in February.

Tuchel said: “I understood it was a bit of revenge from the US for the hot temperatures in Honduras. I don’t know if I would have been there as a coach, I’m not very good at these kinds of temperatures and the chill factor. I I’m glad I wasn’t involved, it would have been worse if I had been in the stands.

“To be serious, for him it’s quite an adjustment to play at -16 degrees and then go to Abu Dhabi and play at +24 degrees. For him and Thiago Silva [who was involved in Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers], they didn’t have a break, they now have a few days off. Christian will arrive tomorrow to travel with us to Abu Dhabi and see how he adapts to these kinds of extreme changes.”

In addition to Pulisic and Thiago Silva, goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is still absent and will play for Senegal against Egypt in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday. Whether he will travel to Abu Dhabi remains to be seen.

Chelsea will also have to be without Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Reece James and Ben Chilwell for Saturday’s game against League One Plymouth Argyle. The Blues were unable to get cover for the last duo – Tuchel’s favorite fullback – but the head coach insisted he wasn’t frustrated that the January window passed with no new signings. Instead, Kenedy was recalled from Flamengo on loan and will have a clean sheet as he competes with Marcos Alonso for a spot on the left wing.

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