In our first competitive game since mid-November, Chelsea gave our fans a Christmas present with a comfortable home win.

Kai Havertz scored his fifth goal of the season after a slick team move early on before turning assist-maker for Mason Mount to net his third of the campaign.

That brought a 2-0 half-time lead and with wingers Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling, who assisted for the first goal, causing our opponents from the South Coast problems, and Denis Zakaria energetic in midfield, more goals looked possible and we had two penalty appeals turned down.

Eventually, the Blues had to settle for a two-goal win with a Mount effort and a Zakaria header the closest we came to a third on the night.

There was less good news from our final game of 2022 however with Reece James, who started the game at right-back, being forced to leave the pitch with an injury shortly after half-time.

The selection

Graham Potter had been able to put Reece James back into the side for his first competitive action for 11 weeks. Denis Zakaria was given his first taste of the Premier League and Thiago Silva made his 100th Chelsea appearance.

On the bench for the first time was development squad captain Bashir Humphreys while Lewis Hall, Omari Hutchinson and Carney Chukwuemeka added to a youthful collection of substitutes.

Taking control

Before the Premier League broke for the World Cup, Bournemouth had beaten Everton comfortably at home but prior to that had lost four straight league games. They had two players in Qatar in contrast to our 14.

The Blues were aiming to bring an end to a run of three defeats in the Premier League and in this game were called upon to defend an early free-kick after Dom Solanke, ex of this parish, was fouled. The save was comfortable for Kepa. Chelsea’s first real opening was from a curling Marc Cucurella cross. Havertz headed over.

Then came a strong Blues claim for a penalty. Zakaria sent a pass forward to Mount and although the England man could not bring it under his control, the ball broke to Pulisic in full flight. As he shaped to shoot, there was a pull by Adam Smith and our no.10 sent his shot just wide. The officials decided there was not enough there to award a spot-kick. That was disappointing but with the next attack we would score.

There had been an incisiveness to the Blues moves down the wings in the early stages, and on this occasion Mount sent Sterling away on the right. Meanwhile, Havertz was gliding through the middle and when Sterling sent over the perfectly placed low ball, the German slid to send it into the back of the net. There was just over quarter-of-an-hour played.

Mason at the double

Less than 10 minutes later it was Chelsea 2 Bournemouth 0 and again there was quality football on show. Mount was involved before he scored, Zakaria tried to find a way through the Cherries backline but when he could not, Havertz laid the ball back to Mount to find the bottom corner expertly from the edge of the area.

Bournemouth looked to respond but they came up against Thiago Silva in determined form in his 100th Chelsea game. Zakaria also made a clean and strong challenge inside our penalty area.

It was Chelsea who looked more likely to add to the scoring as half-time approached, with Pulisic lively, even though he had been the recipient of some painful tackles. A challenge on a different player, Havertz, had Chelsea calling for a penalty again, but the decision went the other way. James and Sterling brought saves out of Mark Travers in added time.

James down

The unfortunate start to the second half came when James made it clear that he needed to be replaced, clearly upset by the turn of events. When Cesar Azpilicueta came on, he went equal with Petr Cech for the most games played for Chelsea by an overseas player.

With the game back underway, Zakaria saw a goal-bound strike deflected over by Lloyd Kelly and Havertz dragged a shot wide after a powerful run.

With just over an hour played, Mount came close to his second goal of the game when having slipped his marker, he was allowed to run from his own half to sting the hands of Travers from 20 yards out.

It was likely the Bournemouth keeper would have been beaten by a towering Zakaria header from an Azpilicueta cross had the Swiss international not sent it inches wide.

At the other end, it had been a relatively quiet game for Kepa but he was briefly busy, saving well at the near post from Ryan Christie, tipping away a dangerous cross and then punching a late free-kick over to preserve the team’s clean sheet.

What's next?

In this less-crowded than often Christmas programme, the Blues are next in action on New Year's Day when we play away against Nottingham Forest. Kick-off for that one is 4.30pm.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa; James (Azpilicueta 53), Thiago Silva, Koulibaly, Cucurella; Zakaria (Gallagher 82), Jorginho (c), Mount; Sterling (Chalobah 88), Havertz, Pulisic (Aubameyang 82).

Unused subs: Bettinelli, Humphreys, Hall, Chukwuemeka, Hutchinson.

Scorers: Havertz 16, Mount 24

Bournemouth (4-4-2): Travers; Stacey (Anthony h-t), A Smith, Senesi, Kelly; Cook, Lerma, Billing (Christie 66), Zemura; Moore (Dembele 85), Solanke.

Unused subs: Plain, Stephens, Marcondes, Lowe, Rothwell, Pearson,

Referee: Simon Hooper

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