Graham Potter’s deadly duo under threat as Chelsea beat Bournemouth

Chelsea V Bournemouth in pictures

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Graham Potter’s hopes of bringing Chelsea back into the Premier League’s top four at the end of the season may rest on two players after Tuesday’s comfortable win over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge. The Blues went into the match chasing a much-needed victory after losing four of their last five league games and were duly rewarded with all three points thanks to first-half goals from Kai Havertz and Mason Mount.

Chelsea quickly gained control of the match and managed to break the deadlock early on when Havertz tapped home from close range after a sustained period of pressure from the hosts. They went on to double their advantage eight minutes later through Mount, who found the bottom corner with an exquisite first-time finish from the edge of the area.

The hosts managed to hold on to claim an important victory over Bournemouth, although they will be sweating over the fitness of Reece James after his return to action from a knee injury was brought to a premature end. He went down with a knock shortly after the interval and walked straight down the tunnel for additional treatment, leaving Chelsea to mull over whether he might have suffered an immediate setback after spending two months on the sidelines.

Express Sport takes you through four of the biggest talking points from Chelsea’s routine win over Bournemouth…

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James and Sterling run riot

Chelsea’s two best performers were not among the goals, with James and Raheem Sterling combining excellently down the right-hand side to cause problems for Bournemouth on a consistent basis. James had not featured since picking up a knee injury in October but was back like he never left for the visit of the Cherries, with the 23-year-old carrying a constant threat with the ball while helping to keep things tight at the back in equal measure.

James managed to team up with Sterling to form a hugely effective partnership out wide, which Potter would be silly to overlook in his efforts to bring Chelsea back to the upper reaches of the Premier League table over the coming weeks. The pair will have the ability to punish any side in the division if they can keep working in tandem to carve out scoring opportunities, although it remains to be seen whether James is still fit enough to play after he was hauled off with an apparent knock just after half-time.

Havertz can lead Chelsea’s attack

Havertz has always been a clutch player for Chelsea when he is firing on all cylinders and managed to produce his best form on Tuesday with a goal and a cheeky assist for Mount’s long-range strike. Chelsea have been heavily linked with a January move for Joao Felix to strengthen their forward line but could potentially get away with saving their pennies if Havertz continues to impress over the next few weeks.

The Germany international was in all the right positions against Bournemouth, racing into space to latch onto Sterling’s cross for his goal and remaining heavily involved in the majority of Chelsea’s build-up play for the rest of the contest. He will now be looking to convince Potter that the Blues do not need to splash out on a forward before the January transfer window closes and the 23-year-old will seemingly have a great chance of doing so if he manages to stay on top of his game for the foreseeable future.

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Silva scare highlights transfer priority

Chelsea were sweating over the fitness of Thiago Silva during the early stages of the contest, with the Brazilian defender picking up a slight knock that forced him to limp for much of the first half. He eventually managed to run it off but the mere prospect of losing a first-choice central defender will have given Potter a wake-up call regarding his options in the January window, which is now less than a week away.

The Blues are thought to be in the market for a new centre-back between now and the end of next month, with Monaco ace Benoit Badiashile widely reported to be in advanced talks over a mid-season move to Stamford Bridge. It will be crucial for Chelsea to get a deal wrapped up quickly in order to ensure that they have adequate cover at the heart of their defence as Potter looks to avoid being left in the lurch by any more high-profile injuries in the not-too-distant future.

No room for complacency

Although Potter will be delighted with Chelsea’s dominant showing against Bournemouth, he will also be painfully aware that his players must stay firmly grounded ahead of a hugely difficult period of Premier League fixtures. The west Londoners will face Liverpool, Manchester City and high-flying Fulham before the end of January and will need to avoid any preventable slip-ups in order to stay in the hunt for Champions League qualification when the campaign draws to a close.

Bournemouth were distinctly average for the vast majority of the match against Chelsea and offered next to nothing until the closing stages, while their back four was simply no match for the attacking might of the Blues. Potter’s side will undoubtedly need to step things up against better opposition in the coming weeks, although Tuesday’s performance may have been a positive indicator of things to come if the Chelsea boss manages to steady the ship and instil some much-needed confidence within his ranks.

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