Graham Potter’s hopes of bringing Chelsea back into the Premier League’s top 4 at the top of the season may rest on two players after Tuesday’s comfortable win over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge. The Blues went into the match chasing a much-needed victory after losing 4 of their last five league games and were duly rewarded with all three points due to first-half goals from Kai Havertz and Mason Mount.
Chelsea quickly gained control of the match and managed to interrupt the deadlock early on when Havertz tapped home from close range after a sustained period of pressure from the hosts. They went on to double their advantage eight minutes later through Mount, who found the underside corner with an exquisite first-time finish from the sting of the world.
The hosts managed to carry on to say a crucial victory over Bournemouth, although they can be sweating over the fitness of Reece James after his return to motion from a knee injury was delivered to a premature end. He went down with a knock shortly after the interval and walked straight down the tunnel for extra treatment, leaving Chelsea to mull over whether he may need suffered an instantaneous setback after spending two months on the sidelines.
Express Sport takes you thru 4 of the most important talking points from Chelsea’s routine win over Bournemouth…
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James and Sterling run riot
Chelsea’s two best performers weren’t among the many goals, with James and Raheem Sterling combining excellently down the right-hand side to cause problems for Bournemouth on a consistent basis. James had not featured since picking up a knee injury in October but was back like he never left for the visit of the Cherries, with the 23-year-old carrying a continuing threat with the ball while helping to maintain things tight on the back in equal measure.
James managed to team up with Sterling to form a hugely effective partnership out wide, which Potter can be silly to overlook in his efforts to bring Chelsea back to the upper reaches of the Premier League table over the approaching weeks. The pair could have the power to punish any side within the division in the event that they can keep working in tandem to carve out scoring opportunities, even though it stays to be seen whether James continues to be fit enough to play after he was hauled off with an apparent knock just after half-time.
Havertz can lead Chelsea’s attack
Havertz has all the time been a clutch player for Chelsea when he’s firing on all cylinders and managed to provide his best form on Tuesday with a goal and a cheeky assist for Mount’s long-range strike. Chelsea have been heavily linked with a January move for Joao Felix to strengthen their forward line but could potentially get away with saving their pennies if Havertz continues to impress over the subsequent few weeks.
The Germany international was in all the best positions against Bournemouth, racing into space to latch onto Sterling’s cross for his goal and remaining heavily involved in the vast majority of Chelsea’s build-up play for the remaining of the competition. He’ll now be trying to persuade Potter that the Blues don’t have to splash out on a forward before the January transfer window closes and the 23-year-old will seemingly have an important likelihood of doing so if he manages to remain on top of his game for the foreseeable future.
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Silva scare highlights transfer priority
Chelsea were sweating over the fitness of Thiago Silva through the early stages of the competition, with the Brazilian defender picking up a slight knock that forced him to limp for much of the primary half. He eventually managed to run it off however the mere prospect of losing a first-choice central defender could have given Potter a wake-up call regarding his options within the January window, which is now lower than every week away.
The Blues are regarded as out there for a latest centre-back between now and the top of next month, with Monaco ace Benoit Badiashile widely reported to be in advanced talks over a mid-season move to Stamford Bridge. It should be crucial for Chelsea to get a deal wrapped up quickly with the intention to be certain that they’ve adequate cover at the center of their defence as Potter looks to avoid being left within the lurch by any more high-profile injuries within the not-too-distant future.
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No room for complacency
Although Potter can be delighted with Chelsea’s dominant showing against Bournemouth, he may even be painfully aware that his players must stay firmly grounded ahead of a hugely difficult period of Premier League fixtures. The west Londoners will face Liverpool, Manchester City and high-flying Fulham before the top of January and might want to avoid any preventable slip-ups with the intention to stay within the hunt for Champions League qualification when the campaign draws to an in depth.
Bournemouth were distinctly average for the overwhelming majority of the match against Chelsea and offered next to nothing until the closing stages, while their back 4 was simply no match for the attacking might of the Blues. Potter’s side will undoubtedly have to step things up against higher opposition in the approaching weeks, although Tuesday’s performance could have been a positive indicator of things to come back if the Chelsea boss manages to regular the ship and instil some much-needed confidence inside his ranks.
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