Mason Mount scored his first goal for a year at Stamford Bridge to help Chelsea produce one of the most comfortable football scores of the Boxing Day action in the Premier League. Graham Potter selected James for the starting lineup as he made his knee injury comeback after more than two months. James performed admirably for over an hour before collapsing in front of the head coach and needing to be replaced. Later, the right-back exited Stamford Bridge with his right knee brace.
James’ departure appeared to shake Chelsea, who seemed to lose their composure and let Bournemouth back into the game. However, the visitors lacked the talent to pose a threat to the Blues, who had dropped their previous three games without scoring a goal. Prior to James’ injury, though, goals from Havertz (16) and Mount (24) had given Chelsea the lead, and they were able to hold on to win to take the burden off Potter and reduce the distance to fourth-place Tottenham to six points with a game remaining.
Given that Chelsea had not won in five Premier League games and Bournemouth had only one victory in their previous seven games in the division, neither team entered their matchup at Stamford Bridge with much to celebrate. Despite being the heavy underdogs, Chelsea had already secured the victory before the conclusion of the first half owing to goals from Havertz and Mount, who were the catalyst for the previously wasteful Blues’ dramatically improved forward approach. Raheem Sterling’s brilliant right-wing cross provided Havertz with his goal, and the German forward easily glided past Mark Travers for their second goal when Mount bent the ball past the goalkeeper for Bournemouth from the outside.
Chelsea’s improved play came after Potter switched from his previous three-man defense to a 4-3-3 configuration, and the extra attacking player seemed to help his team. Towards the conclusion of the first half, the Blues’ play was a touch sloppy, and Thiago Silva nearly put his team in trouble with a number of foolish passes over his own area. James’ injury gave Bournemouth more motivation, and Kepa Arrizabalaga had to make a save from Ryan Christie. Dominic Solanke then headed wide against his former team in stoppage time, but Bournemouth’s lack of creativity in the final third allowed Chelsea to finish the game with comparatively easy football scores.
“Since it is obviously the same location, we are worried. We must wait and watch how the ensuing 24 to 48 hours turn out. He sensed something after a type of chopping motion. We’ll cross our fingers for you. He is dissatisfied. Just hoping it’s not as horrible as we fear,” Graham Potter said. “Reece is a top-tier athlete. Although you can tell from the outside, you won’t truly appreciate how good he is unless you work with him. He is a fantastic player. Any team would miss him since he would fit into any team anywhere in the world.”
“We had trouble understanding how they got started. It’s hard to get back into it after the beginning since it kills us so much. The boys tried their best. When Chelsea moves the ball in the manner they did while leading 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, it’s extremely simple for the score to rise to three, four, or five,” Gary O’Neil said. “We appeared more likely to score after the break than they did. They occasionally launched dangerous counterattacks since they have elite players. There are explanations for why it didn’t appear as good as it ought to have and advantages to the second half as well. The boys persisted, and for the most part, we were competitive.”
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