Stats compared: Nicolas Pepe, Daniel James and Christian Pulisic
Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe is the most high-profile signing of the three, given they smashed their transfer record to signed him from Lille for a reported £72m. But there are also big things expected of Daniel James at Manchester United and Christian Pulisic at Chelsea.
With a transfer ban and Eden Hazard’s departure, Chelsea were clever in securing Pulisic’s services early, while James is one of many young talents to be scouted from the Football League, having turned heads at Swansea. It’s been mixed performances for the three arrivals – who’s making the most impact?
A country of over 300 million people are pinning their hopes of the US national team’s future on Pulisic, so there’s naturally plenty of interest on where he features in Frank Lampard’s plans at Chelsea.
The bench, mostly. Things started out promisingly enough for the 21-year-old American, starting the European Super Cup against Liverpool and three consecutive Premier League games against Leicester, Norwich and Sheffield United back in August.
But it’s been downhill from there, and he’s not featured in the league for over a month, having to take an opportunity in the League Cup against Grimsby and being left out of the Champions League squad for the Lille match altogether.
Pulisic has played just 277 Premier League minutes for Chelsea and 441 competitive minutes in total.
In comparison, Pepe has been given five league starts at Arsenal, totalling 498 minutes in the Premier League and 553 in total.
While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called upon future prospect James more than anyone might have expected. He’s started six of seven Premier League games to date, playing 555 minutes in the league and 648 in total.
Goals and assists
James leads the way in terms of goals – he’s scored three goals from seven Premier League appearances. He averages a goal every 185 minutes in the Premier League.
Whereas Pulisic is yet to score a competitive goal for the Blues, and Pepe has struck the back of the net just once for the Gunners, and that was from the penalty spot. It’s early days, but the Ivorian isn’t quite living up to his goalscoring stats at Lille last season.
One area in which Pulisic has delivered is in terms of service. He’s provided three assists in his cameo appearances so far, one from 277 Premier League minutes, one in the Super Cup against Liverpool and one against Grimsby in the League Cup.
Dan James is yet to provide an assist in the league or cup appearances, while Pepe has registered one in the league – setting up Alexandre Lacazette in the North London derby against Tottenham. He also registered an assist the 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Dan James' goal for United pic.twitter.com/NhMYEekkdB
— Gareth Baker (@garethbakery) August 24, 2019
Pulisic is the tidiest passer, averaging a pass completion rate of 85%, a bit above Pepe (79%) and James (77.5%) and he’s also the most involved with passes, averaging the most per game at 26.8, inching just ahead of Pepe’s 26.6 average and James’ 21.6 passes per game.
But Pepe stands out in terms of key passes – the final pass before a team-mate takes a shot – 1.6 per game. Pulisic averages exactly one key pass per game so far, while James is way down on 0.4.
The Arsenal man is also on top in a couple of other areas. Averaging 3.3 successful dribbles per match, he’s ahead of Pulisic (averaging two dribbles) and way ahead of James (averaging 0.4 dribbles). The Ivorian averages 2.9 shots per game, James averages 2.1 and Pulisic exactly one.