Christian Pulisic Out vs. Arsenal After Testing Positive for COVID-19

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 20, 2021

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on August 14, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel announced United States international Christian Pulisic will miss Sunday's Premier League match against Arsenal after testing positive for COVID-19.

"Unfortunately, [he] had a positive test and needs to follow the protocols," Tuchel told reporters Friday. "He's not been training and is not available for the game." 

Pulisic started the Blues' Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on Saturday. He played 82 minutes and scored a goal as part of the club's convincing 3-0 win.

He posted a statement on his Instagram story saying he's fully vaccinated and hasn't dealt with any coronavirus symptoms so far:

Grant Wahl @GrantWahl

Pulisic posts on IG that he’s fully vaccinated and isn’t experiencing any symptoms after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week. <a href="https://t.co/q1ygT2PAjG">pic.twitter.com/q1ygT2PAjG</a>

His strong start to the campaign for Chelsea came after a summer where he led the USMNT to the Nations League championship with a clutch 114th-minute penalty kick to beat rival Mexico in June.

The 22-year-old Pennsylvania native's positive COVID-19 test result comes less than two weeks before the U.S. kicks off World Cup qualifying. The U.S. is scheduled to face El Salvador on Sept. 2 followed by fixtures against Canada on Sept. 5 and Honduras on Sept. 8.

Although the U.S. national team showcased some impressive depth by also winning the Gold Cup earlier this month with what amounted to its "B" team, being without Pulisic for the qualifiers would be a major setback for the side as it attempts to exorcise demons from missing the 2018 World Cup.

Chelsea has one more match, an Aug. 28 clash with Liverpool, before the three-match international break. Tuchel didn't provide an update on the winger's potential availability beyond Sunday.

Pulisic faced transfer speculation following the 2020-21 season, during which he played an unsteady role for the Blues, but he told ESPN FC's James Olley in May he was focused on earning a more consistent spot in the club's starting XI.

"People have always doubted and said: 'Oh, he's not playing. Does he want to go here, does he want to go there?' I'm always up for a challenge, I love competing, I love the position I'm in, and I'm enjoying my time here," he said.

Hakim Ziyech, who's recovered from a shoulder injury, is among the options to replace Pulisic in the Chelsea lineup against Arsenal.