When the USMNT marches into Columbus to square off against Mexico this Friday, they’ll do so with the knowledge that their teenage wunderkind Christian Pulisic is one of the most productive attackers in Europe.
This is pretty impressive - Minutes per Goal involvement in Top 5 leagues, best are Messi, Ribery, Robben, Morata & Neymar (reddit) pic.twitter.com/vVJ7pGPA6u— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) November 7, 2016
Bayern Munich media guru Cristian Nyari dug up this statistical graph (originally created by John Burn-Murdoch), which put into visual perspective the top 40 attackers in Europe’s top 5 leagues, and how those attackers ranked according to their direct goal involvements per minutes played, discounting penalties. Essentially, Burn-Murdoch counted assists and goals from the run of play, and then divided them by minutes each person played in order to determine how often a player contributed to a goal in such a way that his name ended up on the scoresheet. The usual suspects are all here, such as Lionel Messi, Franck Ribery, Alvaro Morata, Neymar, Luis Suarez, and more, all crowded around the top of the list. There are some lesser known names the further down you go, but the list is still a “who’s who” and “who’s next” of attacking players in Europe.
Oh, and Christian Pulisic just happens to rank 34th, right behind one Robert Lewandowski.
Obviously, this graph isn’t a holistic way to see a player’s contributions. There are many, many goal that happen because of a player who does not get on the scoresheet for it, and leagues aren’t weighted at all by relative prestige (arguments can be made for England, Spain, and Germany all having the more difficult league of the bunch; most would agree the same cannot be said for Italy and especially France at the moment).
On the other hand, this is still an impressive reminder of just how good Pulisic is, especially with how many minutes he’s played with Dortmund this season. It’s not like he’s made his living grabbing handfuls of minutes at the end of games and just racking up his status here because he has so many goals and assists in a tiny amount of time played. He’s been one of Dortmund’s most consistent contributors.
Only Götze, Aubameyang & Dembele have played more minutes than Pulisic this season out of Dortmund's starters.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) November 5, 2016
What does all this mean? The kid is for real, and he should be starting for the U.S. early and often. Also, when faced with the choice between taking Theo Walcott and Christian Pulisic for your dream squad, take Christian Pulisic. Always take Christian Pulisic.