Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth for Chelsea ended a terrible run of five Premier League games without a victory. Kai Havertz and Mason Mount scored early goals to help Chelsea cruise to the victory.
Graham Potter’s team struggled before the World Cup but shone against the struggling Cherries on their return to Stamford Bridge to move up to eighth place, six points behind the top four with a game left to play.
The defender Reece James, who missed England’s World Cup campaign due to a knee injury, hobbled off after returning from his injury.
Before collapsing to the ground and being replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta early in the second half, James signaled for a replacement and pointed to his knee.
Potter gave Denis Zakaria his Premier League debut in an effort to keep Chelsea from suffering their fourth straight league defeat for the first time since 1998.
In the first half, the Swiss midfielder made a strong forward run to propel Chelsea up the field, while Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic’s exuberant partnership sent the Bournemouth defense into a joyful dance.
In the 16th minute, Havertz slipped in to score the first goal after Sterling delivered a sharp low cross to the back post.
When he was hauled back, Pulisic had a clear shot at getting a penalty, but referee Simon Hooper ignored his pleas.
In the 24th minute, Mount added to the advantage with a powerful shot from the edge of the box as Chelsea cranked up their play, and Pulisic then had a goal disallowed for a foul on Havertz in the build-up.
The Blues were determined to halt their poor skid and restart their season after going three games in all competitions without scoring a goal.
After a quick dash forward, Bournemouth goalkeeper Mark Travers did well to stop James. He then produced an even greater save to stop Sterling just before halftime to keep his club in the game.
As Chelsea attempted to put the game out of reach, Havertz shot wide and Mount pressured Travers into a deft low stop.
In the event, they didn’t have to because Bournemouth only posed a threat from a late free-kick that Jaidon Anthony saw Kepa Arrizabalaga turn away.
Gary O’Neil’s team is now 14th in the league, three points above the relegation zone after suffering their fifth loss in six league games.