POTT LUCK MASON MOUNT rediscovered his goal touch and found love again to ease his World Cup frustration.
The Chelsea midfielder was the sacrificial lamb after England sent the tournament to sleep in their goalless draw with the USA in Qatar.
Kai Havertz’s fourth Prem goal of the season put Chelsea ahead
Mason Mount doubled the lead with a fine long-range strike
The Chelsea man superbly beat Mark Travers from distance
Mount celebrated his first goal since the middle of October
He did not start another match and returned home with the same old questions surfacing about his effectiveness.
Back in Chelsea blue Mount showed precisely why he was straight back in the starting line up for his club with the goal that secured a much-needed victory for boss Graham Potter.
He also played a key role in teeing up the first for Kai Havertz as Potter’s team returned to duty with a win that ended a run of five Premier League games without a win stretching back to October 16.
That was the day Chelsea beat Aston Villa 2-0 away when Mount grabbed both.
England boss Gareth Southgate may have his doubts. But Potter needs no convincing of his player’s value and was rewarded with a win that eased much of the tension swirling around this club.
Starting the day in ninth place and 12 points worse off than this time last season, Potter’s own worth has been questioned with results falling away and performances deteriorating at the same time.
Beating Bournemouth with one win from their last six does not mean the teething problems experienced by Potter since he took over in September are behind him. But it’s a step in the right direction against a team which has given Chelsea surprising problems in the recent past.
The World Cup is a mixed bag of memories among the Chelsea squad.
For the vast majority it was a source of great frustration due to lack of game time, lack of success or not even making it at all in the case of returning right back Reece James.
But their was more heartbreak for the 23-year-old, who was forced off early in the second after suffering a knee injury.
Havertz is a rarity – a German who can report back from Qatar with positive vibes.
He didn’t even get a full 90 minutes during the disastrous campaign that ended at the group stage yet he still scored twice in a 12 minute spell after coming off the bench in the final match against Costa Rica.
Potter must have been watching and taken that on board, preferring the lanky forward to Chelsea’s only fit out and out striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was on the bench despite having had the past six weeks off.
There is still a need for Potter to address his centre forward issues. Particularly with improving Armando Broja out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
They have still scored only 19 goals this season – the least of all the top ten teams in the Premier League.
Havertz had the simple task of tapping home Raheem Sterling’s cross
The win was a big one for Graham Potter
But Havertz at least looks on an upward curve having enjoyed Qatar on a personal level whilst his country sunk without trace.
He took his goal as clinically as he did his double in the desert – rounding off a four man move carried out at top speed.
Jorginho threaded the ball through to Mount, who found Sterling with a weight pass wide to the right.
Sterling’s only touch was guiding the ball diagonally across the area where Havertz arrived, sliding in to poke the ball under the body of Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers.
Eight minutes later, Havertz, having just been the team player and cleared the danger from a Bournemouth corner with his head, set up the goal which pretty much sealed it.
An attacking move spearheaded by midfielder Denis Zakaria in his first Premier League game, appeared to have broken down in the visitors’ box.
But ice-cool Havertz shielded the ball for long enough to find Mount advancing on the edge of the box and teed him up for a first time shot that arced beyond Travers’ dive and into the net.
It is still only three goals for Mount this season when he expects to hit double figures every year so there is a long way to go but just like Chelsea, there seems to be more zip about him.
Bournemouth’s first game in front of their new owners following a £100 million buyout was hardly a barometer for the job boss Gary O’Neill is doing.
But as he and Chelsea fans know only too well, a takeover usually means the chopping block for the incumbent manager sooner or later.
His work would be better judged against Crystal Palace in the next game. Although as Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly proved when sacking Thomas Tuchel in September to make way for Potter, often it is not about results but whether your face fits.
This was not the kind of performance to make O’Neill sleep any easier.
Potter can finally have a restful night as he sees out 2022 on a high.
The only downside for Chelsea was that Reece James went off injured
James hobbled off early in the second half in his first game back