Having gone winless in their past five Premier League matches, Chelsea enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the Blues’ return from their World Cup break.
Chelsea took the lead in the 16th minute when a sweeping move was capped by Kai Havertz converting Raheem Sterling’s perfectly weighted pass. Eight minutes later, Mason Mount made a second goal with a fine finish.
A Christian Pulisic goal was disallowed before half-time, but two early goals sealed the score as Chelsea put in a positive display that saw the Blues move up a place to finish eighth. premier league table.
Chelsea themselves assured the game almost immediately and, after going five Premier League games without scoring in the first half, scored twice in the space of 24 minutes.
There was plenty of quality to the ball for manager Graham Potter to be happy with, and his team often pressed well too. They continued to impress as they greatly dominated the second half, even if they didn’t add another goal, while there was also defensive solidity in periods when they were under pressure.
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The bigger concern was that the Blues surrendered the ball in dangerous positions, which didn’t come cheap on this occasion, but they will need to do without when they face Manchester City twice in early January.
It would be hugely disappointing for Chelsea to see Reece James injured, and Potter would have liked to score a goal in the second half to remove any doubt, as Chelsea’s kicking has often been such a disappointment.
Manager rating (out of 10)
Graham Potter, 8 years old Potter’s team looked well organized after the World Cup break, and will likely be pleased with their overall performance. With Mateo Kovacic not returning to Chelsea’s ranks after being with Croatia, the decision to play Denis Zakaria in midfield has paid off.
Player ratings (1-10 with 10 = best)
GK Kepa Arrizabalaga, 7 – He produced a decisive display, chipping the ball wide after a poor pass from Kalidou Koulibaly, which turned things around as he often consisted of the ball at his feet. Gaydon Anthony’s deflected shot was collected from a good distance.
DF Thiago Silva – 7 – In his 100th appearance for Chelsea, the Brazilian was clearly suffering from an injury in the very early stages, though he continued to move the ball well, despite playing one poor pass that was clipped into his box. He crossed well to stop Dominic Solanke, then did well to cut in Zemora’s late cross.
Defender Kalidou Koulibaly, 6 – Put in some well-timed challenges, though, and he did drop a couple of bad passes in dangerous positions. He delivered a superb header to clear Zemura’s cross, then came agonizingly close with a header of his own.
DF Mark Cucurella, 8 years old He overcooked an early free kick from a promising position, but continued to show plenty of quality on the ball. He put in a strong defensive display and deftly tapped the ball away from Jack Stacey into his box.
DF Reese James, 8 years old He nullified his early shot after a creative corner kick, but continued to progress and produced real quality with his passing. He had a good shot after he beat Jordan Zemora in the penalty area.
MF Jorginho, 7 – He played a good compound pass in building up the opening game and often moved the ball well in the middle of the field, while also being well positioned to win back possession.
MF Mason Mount, 9- Show a lot of cleverness to pick up nice pockets of space and make good use of them. Sterling fired in the run-up to the opener, then scored Chelsea’s second goal with a fine finish after doing a great job keeping the action alive. He hit a series of shots after a great burst forward.
MF Denise Zakaria, 8 – He had to wait until his Premier League debut, but put in an impressive performance full of energy, putting in some impressive defensive work as he notably challenged Zemura in his own box. He couldn’t quite apply the finish when two chances arose in the second half.
FW Kai Havertz, 9 – He missed his header after a nice Cucurella cross, but soon scored by applying a clinical finish to Sterling’s shot. He looked solid while also delivering quality, as encapsulated when he gave Mount a good chance of his goal, while defending well from the corners. He cut inside Lloyd Kelly well but pulled his shot comfortably.
FW Christian Pulisic, 6 – He often looked frustrated as he shot wide after Adam Smith pulled his shirt, then had a goal disallowed after Havertz deemed it had fouled Smith. He made a poor flick attempt after James’ shot was saved by Travers, then hit a wild try from a promising position in the second half.
FW Raheem Sterling, 8 – She provided a lot of energy and quality on the right, particularly linking up well with James. He delivered a perfectly weighted pass for Havertz to score the opening goal and it was denied by a powerful left hand from Mark Travers. He did admirably to pick Zakaria in the second half, although some of his shots were disappointing.
Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes do not get a rating)
Cesar Azpilicueta (James 53d) 6 – Wedged comfortably in the backline, he made his way back to Kepa from a potentially dangerous Bournemouth ball, although there were times when he struggled when Bournemouth ran at him. He made an accurate cross for Coulibaly’s chance. He used his experience to help run around the clock.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Pulissique, 82 in.), N/R He played a good ball but then Marcos Senese made another attempt to kick the ball forward.
Connor Gallagher (Zacharia, 82″), N/R – Kelly hit his shot after having a great chance.
Trevoh Chalobah (sterling, 88 in.), N/R – He was solid to help see the game through as he smashed the ball clear.