Chelsea returned to winning ways in the Premier League in their first match back since the resumption of domestic action as the 2-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth marked a first league win since October.
The game was arguably won in the first half, as goals from Kai Havertz and Mason Mount gave Graham Potter’s side a two-goal advantage after just 24 minutes as Bournemouth struggled to get into the game.
Christian Pulisic then had a goal disallowed just before the break and the Stamford Bridge side went in at the interval in a healthy position.
Shortly after the restart, Reece James had to be substituted with an injury and Potter will hope it isn’t serious, especially since this was his first match since the middle of October.
Chelsea couldn’t extend their advantage despite dominating possession and having 15 shots in total during the tie. Havertz was excellent, scoring and assisting while making two key passes during the encounter, however, it was Raheem Sterling who got back to his best after a wonderful display on the right wing.
Sterling was superb
The winger hasn’t set the world alight since joining Chelsea in the summer, scoring five times across 19 matches, yet he returned to form last night and this will give Potter a massive boost going forward.
The Englishman received a Sofascore rating of 7.6/10 for his performance, which included an assist for Havertz to score the opener – with Ben Jacobs describing the cross as “delightful” – one shot on target and three key passes made during the tie.
He also succeeded with two out of his three dribble attempts while taking 52 touches and completing 33 out of his 36 passes at a success rate of 92% and creating one big chance.
Statman Dave claimed Sterling was “enjoying himself” following a first-half performance that lit up Stamford Bridge and will be a major confidence boost for him heading into 2023.
It was a much-needed three points for Potter as he looks to stabilise his side and regain some momentum from the embryonic stages of his reign, and although many will be thinking a 2-0 win at home to Bournemouth shouldn’t be anything to be excited about, the result could well be the catalyst for the Blues to embark on a solid run of form.