Chelsea Back To Winning Ways Against Bournemouth But James Injured On Comeback  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 2 AFC Bournemouth 0

Kai Havertz 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's 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.

How Chelsea ended losing run against slumping Bournemouth

Neither Chelsea nor Bournemouth went into their clash at Stamford Bridge with much to shout about, given the Blues had not win 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 Havertz and Mount, who provided the end product to some vastly improved attacking play by the previously profligate Blues.

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.

Chelsea's improved performance came after Potter opted to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation, having previously preferred a three-man defence, and the extra attacking player appeared to benefit his side.

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 rewarded for conventional thinking

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 earned may convince the head coach to stick with a more recognisable line-up over the next few weeks.

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.

Click Here For Official Team Sheet


Chelsea Kepa, James (Azpilicueta 53), Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella, Jorginho (c), Zakaria (Galagher 82), Mount, Sterling (Chalobah 88), Havertz, Pulisic (Aubameyang 82)
Subs Not Used
Bettinelli, Humphreys, Hall, Chukwuemeka, Hutchinson
Goals Havertz 16, Mount 24

Bournemouth Travers, Smith, Kelly (c), Senesi, Zemura, Cook, Stacey (Anthony 46), Lerma, Billing (Christie 66), Solanke, Moore (Dembele 85)
Subs Not Used Plain, Stephens, Marcondes, Lowe, Rothwell, Pearson

Attendance 40,046

Referee Simon Hooper

VAR David Coote