Chelsea beat Bournemouth to go fifth
First-half goals from Kai Havertz and Mason Mount helped Chelsea end a streak of five games without a win in the Premier League as they beat Bournemouth 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues could have put the Cherries to the sword but Havertz, Raheem Sterling and second half substitute Conor Gallagher could not convert.
The win takes Chelsea to fifth and within touching distance of the top four although a win for Manchester United against Nottingham Forest will take the Red Devils above the Blues.
Bournemouth have now lost four of their past five league games and remain in 14th place on 16 points.
Havertz had Chelsea ahead after 16 minutes at the end of a swift move through the middle, started by Jorginho, helped on by Mount and then with Raheem Sterling delivering a perfect cross to the back post for the German to stretch into the net.
The quick movement of the ball was characteristic of the home side’s approach as they overwhelmed Bournemouth in all departments.
Chelsea extended their lead in the 23rd minute at the end of another storming forward drive, with several players involved before Havertz laid it back for Mount to hit a right-footed curler into the net from outside the penalty area.
Chelsea, with seven players from the World Cup in their starting line-up, had Reece James back after the knee injury that made him miss out on the tournament in Qatar and the England right back wasted no time in reminding of his qualities.
But he had to go off early in the second half, visibly upset as he looked to suffer fresh knee trouble.
Bournemouth, whose manager Gary O’Neil was marking his first league match in charge since being handed the job on a permanent basis, took almost an hour before testing Kepa Arrizabalaga with substitute Jaidon Anthony’s shot easily saved by the Chelsea goalkeeper.
The Spaniard made a much more vital stop in the 78th minute to deny midfielder Ryan Christie.
Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers made several good saves too — from Sterling on the stroke of halftime and Mount after the break. He also watched with relief as Kalidou Koulibaly’s header from a 73rd minute set piece went narrowly wide.
Bournemouth did finish lively, looking dangerous in the final 10 minutes and might have got a consolation goal as former Chelsea player Dominic Solanke missed with a close range header in stoppage time.
“The first-half performance was good. The attitude was fantastic. It’s a step forward for us as a team,” said Chelsea manager Graham Potter, who will feel some pressure off his shoulders.
Bournemouth will now look to the January transfer window to strengthen their squad, said O’Neil. “As with everybody we’ll look at areas that we can improve,” he said.