Chelsea verdict: Super-sub Pulisic provides spark off the bench as Blues' Champions League hangover weighs heavy

CHRISTIAN PULISIC saved Chelsea from further questions over their Premier League motivation.

The American star came off the bench and turned super-sub to snatch a late winner against ten-men West Ham.

Chelsea showed grit and determination in the final 20 minutes to keep distance in third place.

But up until that point, the London derby resembled more of a pre-season friendly between two clubs going through the motions.

West Ham left key players out ahead of their Europa League semi-final first leg against Frankfurt on Thursday.

And Chelsea, who were two points ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal with two games in hand, looked like they were not playing for much.

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In truth, since the Blues lost ground on the title race for good, their league form has looked questionable.

But their European fightback against Real Madrid – which ended in heartbreak – and FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace proved they still have plenty to give.

Before West Ham's trip, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel admitted he feared for their top four place.

But it appeared his players didn't.

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And Jorginho's lifeless penalty looked to have provided evidence for that as he passed his spot kick into Lukasz Fabianski's palms.

No matter Chelsea's league position, club legend Frank Lampard would have hammered his penalty against any London rival.

Thankfully for the Blues, Pulisic's late winner did paper over some cracks to put his side back on track.

Up until then, Tuchel's men were heading for three home league matches without a win.

Judging by Chelsea's cup performances, this kind of showing won't be expected when they rematch Liverpool in the FA Cup final on May 14.

But they still have six league games left and need to buck their ideas up if they are to finish inside the top three for the first time in three seasons.

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