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Chelsea vs Bournemouth. Premier League.

Stamford BridgeAttendance40,046.

Chelsea 2

  • K Havertz (16th minute)
  • M Mount (24th minute)

Bournemouth 0

    Chelsea 2-0 Bournemouth: Kai Havertz and Mason Mount score but Reece James injured on comeback

    Match report and free highlights as Chelsea earn first league win in six games with 2-0 victory over Bournemouth; Kai Havertz and Mason Mount scored in first half for the hosts but Reece James was injured on his return after more than two months out; Chelsea up to eighth, Bournemouth 14th

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    FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Chelsea and Bournemouth.

    Chelsea earned their first Premier League win since October 16 as Kai Havertz and Mason Mount's goals secured a 2-0 home win over Bournemouth, but the hosts' day was soured when Reece James' comeback was ended by injury.

    James was named in the starting XI by Graham Potter as he returned from more than two months out with a knee injury and excelled for nearly an hour before going down in front of the head coach and having to be replaced. The right-back later left Stamford Bridge wearing a brace on his right knee.

    James' exit seemed to rock Chelsea, who loosened their grip on the game and allowed Bournemouth back into the contest, but the visitors lacked the quality to trouble the Blues, who had lost their last three games without scoring a goal.

    But strikes from Havertz (16) and Mount (24) before James' injury had put Chelsea in a commanding position and they were able to see out the win to relieve the pressure on Potter and close the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham to six points, with a game in hand.

    Player ratings

    Chelsea: Kepa (7), James (8), Koulibaly (7), Silva (6), Cucurella (7), Zakaria (6), Jorginho (7), Mount (8), Pulisic (7), Havertz (8), Sterling (7).

    Subs: Azpilicueta (6), Aubameyang (n/a), Gallagher (n/a), Chalobah (n/a).

    Bournemouth: Travers (6), Stacey (5), Smith (5), Senesi (6), Kelly (5), Zemura (5), Cook (6), Lerma (6), Billing (6), Solanke (6), Moore (5).

    Subs: Anthony (6), Christie (6), Dembele (n/a).

    Man of the match: Kai Havertz

    How Chelsea ended losing run against slumping Bournemouth

    Mason Mount celebrates after doubling Chelsea's lead against Bournemouth
    Image: Mason Mount celebrates after doubling Chelsea's lead against Bournemouth

    Neither Chelsea nor Bournemouth went into their clash at Stamford Bridge with much to shout about, given the Blues had not won in five Premier League games and the Cherries had just one victory from their last seven matches in the competition.

    Chelsea still went into the game as strong favourites and had gone a long way to wrapping up the result before the 30-minute mark thanks to Havertz and Mount, who provided the end product to some vastly improved attacking play by the previously profligate Blues.

    Team news

    • Reece James returned for Chelsea following the knee injury that had kept him out since October 11, while Kepa Arrizabalaga was back in goal and Denis Zakaria earned his first Premier League start in midfield
    • Captain Lloyd Kelly returned for Bournemouth after being sidelined since September with an ankle injury, while Kieffer Moore and former Chelsea striker Dominic Solanke started up front

    Havertz's goal came from an excellent right-wing cross by Raheem Sterling that the German forward simply had to slide past Mark Travers, and their second came when Mount bent the ball past the Bournemouth goalkeeper from the edge of the area.

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    Chelsea's improved performance came after Potter opted to deploy a 4-3-3 formation, having previously preferred a three-man defence, and the extra attacking player appeared to benefit his side.

    Reece James is forced off by injury during Chelsea's Premier League clash with Bournemouth
    Image: Reece James was forced off by injury less than an hour into his comeback

    The Blues' play became a little sloppy towards the end of the first half, with Thiago Silva almost playing his side into trouble with a couple of ill-advised passes across his own area.

    James' injury encouraged Bournemouth further and Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced to save from Ryan Christie, while Dominic Solanke headed wide against his former club in stoppage time, but the visitors' lack of cutting edge in the final third ensured Chelsea were able to see out a relatively comfortable win.

    Potter 'concerned' by James setback

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    Chelsea head coach Graham Potter admitted he is worried after England defender Reece James was brought off injured against Bournemouth

    Potter admitted he was concerned by James' setback, adding that any team would miss the quality provided by the England right-back.

    The head coach - who revealed he was planning to substitute James an hour into the match - said it was "too soon" to assess the extent of the 23-year-old's injury, but added: "Obviously it's the same area so we're concerned.

    "We'll have to see how the next 24 to 48 hours go. It was a sort of chopping action and then he felt something. We'll keep our fingers crossed. He's disappointed. We're just hoping it isn't as bad.

    "Reece is a world-class player. You see it from the outside but it's not until you work with him that you understand how good he is. He's an incredible player. He would fit into any team in the world so any team would miss him."

    James denied perfect return by cruel injury

    Reece James impressed against Bournemouth before going off injured
    Image: Reece James impressed against Bournemouth before going off injured

    James looked like he'd never been away.

    Injured since October 11 with a knee issue that required surgery, James made an impressive return to competitive action only for it to end after 53 minutes.

    The majority of Chelsea's attacks came down their right through Reece James and Raheem Sterling before the right-back came off injured
    Image: The majority of Chelsea's attacks came down their right through Reece James and Raheem Sterling before the right-back came off injured

    James had been key to Chelsea's 2-0 lead, tormenting Bournemouth down their left side and linking up flawlessly with Sterling. The right-back was even denied a goal by Travers late in the first half.

    But soon he was trudging down the tunnel after suffering an issue in "the same area" as the problem he'd only just overcome.

    Chelsea stuttered after James went off. Cesar Azpilicueta - James' replacement - was unable to provide the same attacking threat on the right.

    Fortunately for Potter's side they already held a commanding lead, but they will have a bigger problem should James be set for another long spell on the sidelines.
    David Richardson

    O'Neil bemoans slow start

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    Bournemouth manager Gary O'Neil believes a failure to predict and react to Chelsea's impressive early display cost them after the Cherries lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge

    Bournemouth head coach Gary O'Neil admitted his side paid the price for failing to match Chelsea's quick start at Stamford Bridge, with the Blues scoring both of their goals within the first 25 minutes.

    "We struggled to get to grips with how they started," said O'Neil, who was taking charge of his first Premier League game since being handed the Bournemouth job on a permanent basis. "The start kills us really and it's difficult from that point to wrestle your way back into it.

    "The boys gave it a good go. To be 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea moving the ball in the way they were, it's very easy for it to get to three, four, five.

    "From half-time we looked more likely to score than they did. They had a few counter-attacks where they are dangerous - they have top players. There's reasons for why it didn't look as good as it should have and positives as well from the second half.

    "The boys stuck to it and we were competitive for a large part."

    Potter rewarded for conventional thinking

    Kai Havertz celebrates after giving Chelsea an early lead against Bournemouth
    Image: Kai Havertz lined up a No 9 in a front three, with Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic on the wings

    Sky Sports' Joe Shread at Stamford Bridge:

    A theme throughout Chelsea's wretched run of form before the World Cup break was Potter's penchant for deploying players in unfamiliar - and potentially unsuitable - positions.

    The head coach's line-ups became increasingly difficult to predict as he searched for solutions to his side's slump, with Sterling, Christian Pulisic and Conor Gallagher all asked to do stints at wing-back.

    But after being handed several weeks to work with his squad as the Premier League paused for the World Cup, Potter opted for a more conventional XI for Chelsea's first game back and was rewarded with a more fluid and cohesive performance from his side.

    Sterling and Pulisic looked vastly more comfortable as wingers than they had at wing-back, while Marc Cucurella put in one of his better performances in a Chelsea shirt after being moved to left-back.

    Mount also seemed to benefit from being played as a No 8 rather than as part of a front three, and rewarded Potter for his selection by scoring in a match for just the second time this season.

    The way in which Chelsea's performance regressed in the final 30 minutes against Bournemouth means Potter won't be able to get too carried away with the display, and a better side would have punished the Blues, but the three points could - and maybe should - convince the head coach to stick with a more recognisable line-up over the next few weeks.

    Opta stats: Travers propping up Premier League

    Referee Simon Hooper, left, discusses with Bournemouth's goalkeeper Mark Travers during the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge Stadium in London, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
    Image: Mark Travers was unable to help Bournemouth earn any points at Stamford Bridge
    • Bournemouth's Mark Travers has conceded a goal every 30 minutes on average in the Premier League (34 in 1,035 minutes); the worst ratio of any goalkeeper with 10+ appearances in the competition.
    • After going unbeaten in their first six Premier League games under Gary O'Neil (W2 D4), Bournemouth have since lost five of their last six in the competition (W1). The Cherries are also winless in their last five away league games (D2 L3), after having won their first one under O'Neil (3-2 vs Nottingham Forest in September).
    • Chelsea have only lost one of their last 11 Premier League games at Stamford Bridge (W6 D4), with that lone defeat coming against the current leaders Arsenal in November (0-1).
    • This was the first time Chelsea had scored more than once in the first half of a Premier League game since April (vs Arsenal), with their two goals against Bournemouth as many as they had netted in their previous seven first halves in the competition combined (2).

    What's next?

    Chelsea's next fixture is away to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports - kick-off 4.30pm.

    Live Super Sunday

    The Blues then travel to Manchester City on Thursday January 5 for another Premier League clash - also live on Sky Sports - with kick-off at 8pm.

    Live Premier League

    Bournemouth's next task is a home Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace on Saturday - kick-off at 3pm. The Cherries then travel to Manchester United for their next league game on Tuesday - kick-off 8pm.

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