Chelsea showed no signs of World Cup rustiness as they brushed past Bournemouth courtesy of a 2-0 win.
Graham Potter’s side scored both goals before the break as they put in a dominant display, avoiding a fourth-straight Premier League defeat in the process.
It took the Blues just 16 minutes to open the scoring, as Raheem Sterling burst down the right before sliding an inch-perfect cross to Kai Havertz, who could not miss when sliding home from close range.
From then on the hosts did not look back, with Mason Mount doubling their lead shortly afterwards as he brilliantly curled into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
It could have been 3-0 before the break, only for Mark Travers to save at his near post first from Reece James and then Sterling, while the keeper also denied Mount after half-time, diving low to his right to palm away a low shot after the England midfielder’s marauding 40-yard dart forward.
Chelsea seemed to lose some momentum when James limped off injured in the second half, while Bournemouth finally started to create some chances late on, including Ryan Christie seeing a fierce effort saved by Kepa at his near post.
In truth, though, the Blues were never truly troubled as they eased to an important three points that could well kick-start their season.
TALKING POINT – CHELSEA BACK TO THEIR BEST?
Chelsea lost their final three games before the World Cup, failing to score in each of them, so Graham Potter will be hoping this dominant display signals a return to form.
Havertz’s 16th-minute goal marked the end of a near six-hour goal drought for the Blues, and, like London buses, the second was just around the corner when Mount made it 2-0 shortly afterwards.
This was a controlling and composed performance from the hosts, and after that pre-international break blip, things look much more positive for Potter and his side as they attempt to get back into the Champions League places.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Mason Mount (Chelsea). After an up-and-down World Cup, the midfielder looked back to his best as he drove Chelsea to victory.
The 23-year old, making his 150th start for the Blues, scored a brilliant goal in the first half, calmly stroking into the back of the net from 20-yards to pretty much put the game to bed.
He also made numerous other darts forward, forcing a further save out of Travers, and rarely gave the ball away as he proved a crucial cog in the Chelsea attacking wheel.
CHELSEA: Kepa 6; James 8, Koulibaly 6, Silva 8, Cucurella 7; Zakaria 7, Jorginho 6, Mount 8; Sterling 8, Havertz 7, Pulisic 7. Subs: Azpilicueta 6, Aubameyang n/a, Gallagher n/a
BOURNEMOUTH: Travers 7; Smith 6, Senesi 6, Kelly 5, Zemura 6; Stacey 6, Cook 5, Lerma 5, Billing 5; Solanke 6, Moore 5. Subs: Anthony 6, Christie 5, Dembele n/a
16’ GOAL! CHELSEA 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH (Havertz). There’s the opener! It’s a delightful goal, as Sterling makes a brilliant break down the right, timing his run on to a through pass perfectly before teeing up Havertz, who can’t miss from close range. 1-0!
24’ GOAL – CHELSEA 2-0 BOURNEMOUTH (Mount). What a brilliant goal! Chelsea were almost queuing up to score there, but eventually the ball gets pulled back to Mount, who marks his 150th start for the club with a delightful curling effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
64’ TRAVERS SAVES FROM MOUNT. The midfielder drives forward 30 or 40 yards without a Bournemouth player attempting a challenge. He eventually unleashes a shot from just outside the box, which Travers pushes around the post.
79’ CHRISTIE SHOT SAVED. That’s as close as Bournemouth have come to scoring. Lerma plays in Christie, but the angle is always against him and Kepa does well to save at his near post.