The weather was absolutely frightful, but Chelsea’s performance was so much fun that we put in a solid Boxing Day +1 aggregate performance at Stamford Bridge tonight – certainly in the first half – and beat Bournemouth handily, 2-0.
Of course, we ‘must’ beat any newly promoted team, but given our form before the break, the same long international break, not to mention the Cherries’ habit of getting results against us (we’ve only won one of the previous five in the league against them) It was indeed a good win. And perhaps most importantly, it came as a result of good, proactive play on our part, rather than just opposition errors or lucky rebounds. The attacking quartet of Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic created countless chances, with the returning Reece James making his expected positive impact too. We even kept a clean sheet!
Graham Potter, who wasn’t oblivious to the growing discontent around the fan base, was certainly pleased with the outcome.
“Credit to the players. You never know how it will go with the break we had. The first half performance was good. The attitude was great. The players did their best. It was a deserved win. We had to hold on. Bournemouth made it competitive.”
“It’s a step forward for us as a team. We weren’t in the best moment [before the break]. You should use your breaks as best you can. Evaluate, reassess and recover injured players. We used it as best we could even with players coming back at different times.”
– Graham Potter. Source: BBC Sport
Unfortunately, this was our last game of the calendar year, 2022 still had time to get one shot before leaving for good, as Reece James appeared to injure his knee early in the second half. His return was the blessing of the feast; His stunned exit takes the shine off this score. At least he was able to walk under his power.
The hope is that he didn’t actually hurt the knee (or worse), but rather just modified something, which could happen in any kind of rehabilitation process. Not to paint the devil on the wall, but I do remember coming back from my ACL and feeling all sorts of weird and sometimes painful little twitches in that knee as the muscles get used to being used again and the tendons get back to where they need to be, and so on. James hasn’t had surgery (and hopefully he won’t need one now either), but rehab is very similar for any knee strain. So hopefully it was just a small tweak and we get to see Reecey again very soon.
“It’s the same area so we’re worried. We’ll have to see him in the next 24/48 hours.” […] There was that action, the cut, and a sense of something after that. We’ll have to see the extent of that and keep our fingers crossed.
“It’s frustrating, of course. But again, we’re now at a point where we’re hoping it’s not that bad and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.” […] You can see today with his quality what he brings to the team. He had to deal with the injury and try to get back in shape. I think he did it well.
“We were taking steps and the plan was for him not to play 90 tonight. He had to play 60/65 minutes which is based on what he did earlier. So now he’s disappointed and we just have to hope it’s not as bad as it was and he can recover quickly.”
“[…] To see him go, that affects the field, the team and everything. This is no excuse but we are human and he is someone we care about very much. There will be some worry and anxiety and I think that’s normal. Looking at our results as well, you want to try to hang on to your win and I think that affected our performance in the second half. Reese is a world class player […] An incredible player, someone who would fit into any team in the world. Any team will miss him.”
– Graham Potter. Source: Football London
Run out of fingers to cross!
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