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Pulisic returns to training with Major Leeds Soccer clash just 9 days away

We haven't seen Christian Pulisic in action since his latest injury setback at Chelsea on Jan. 5 when the American hurt his knee against Manchester City with "a couple of months" out prescribed as the recovery tonic.  

On Thursday, Pulisic shared a social media post of himself with Mason Mount from Chelsea's training session while confirming that he's "back outside boyz." Given the frailty of his muscles and testicles, you certainly wouldn't expect Graham Potter to rush a comeback. An appearance against Spurs on Sunday at Tottenham Stadium seems out of the question.

But the Blues have a rare week off before hosting Pulisic's legion of international compatriots on Saturday, Mar. 4, when Leeds United are in town with new boss Javi Gracia now in charge of getting the most out of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Brenden Aaronson. 

The two clubs met at Elland Road back in August during the halcyon days of Jesse Marsch's reign. Leeds won 3-0 with Aaronson scoring (his only goal of the campaign so far), Adams going the full 90 and Pulisic coming off the bench for the final 25 minutes.

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Before playing Chelsea, 19th-place Leeds host 20th-place Southampton on Saturday in a relegation six-pointer. Sitting 10th, the Blues are appropriately just as close to relegation as they are to the Champions League places (both an 11-point difference).

Despite only scoring once and providing two assists in 21 appearances across all competitions, Pulisic will be welcomed back to the fold with open arms. Since his injury, the Blues have managed only three goals in eights games and one victory.  

Chelsea have used new signing Mykhailo Mudryk (Pulisic's $75 million replacement) and Mason Mount on the left wing in Pulisic's absence, but Mount hasn't scored or assisted since Dec. 27 while Mudryk is yet to do either for the Blues.

After the Leeds match, Chelsea have their Champions League Round of 16 return leg against Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, Mar. 7. Dortmund won the first leg 1-0 behind Karim Adeyemi's stunning goal while Chelsea lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Pulisic will be desperate to get some minutes against his former club.

With the American out of contract after the 2023-24 season, it seems inevitable (even Fabrizio Romano said so) that he'll be leaving on a transfer this summer for as little as $35 million after costing $74 million in 2019. Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Newcastle and Atlético Madrid have all been listed as potential destinations. 

But three months in football is an eternity, and that's how long Pulisic has to save what's been — especially after all the success he had at the World Cup — a strangely terrible season.

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