Chelsea swept aside Bolton Wanderers 4-0, for the second time this week, this time at the Reebok Stadium. Lampard’s twenty second consecutive penalty, followed by an own goal, a beautiful Deco strike and a late Drogba volley, guaranteed Chelsea the points. It could have been more, were it not for the heroics of Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal.
The Blues were able to welcome back the majority of their first choice lineup, though Ashley Cole, Yuri Zhirkov, John Obi Mikel and Jose Bosingwa remained unavailable. Thus, Ivanovic continued at right back, as did Ferreira at left back. Deco was preferred to Joe Cole in midfield, whilst Ross Turnbull, fresh from his debut in midweek, was on the bench with Hilario left out of the travelling squad due to his head injury
Jaaskelainen didn’t have to wait long for some action – he rarely does. Firstly, he denied Anelka with the first on target shot of the match, before acrobatically tipping over a Drogba header a minute later.
Tamir Cohen went close-ish with a decent effort, though he didn’t extend Petr Cech, who made a comfortable save. Then, just before the half hour, Jaaskelainen had to be alert to push wide a Paulo Ferreira cross, one that had evaded all targets in the area.
Chelsea though they’d taken the lead in the twenty ninth minute. After a scramble, Branislav Ivanovic crashed a volley into the back of the net, only for the offside flag to go up against Michael Ballack, who was nearby.
The Blues though, were not to be denied, and took the lead moments before half time. A sumptuous through ball from Ballack saw Drogba one on one with Jaaskelainen, only for Jlloyd Samuel to trip him from behind. Referee Peter Walton, in keeping with the rules, gave a penalty and a red card to Samuel. Lampard, calmness personified from the spot, sent Jaaskelainen the wrong way to make it 1-0 at half time.
Gardner and Robinson replaced Lee and Basham at half time, as Gary Megson looked to change the course of the match. Still though, it was Jaaskelainen being overworked, saving a shot from Didier Drogba, not long into the second half.
Fifty six minutes were played, when a Deco corned was rolled out to Lampard. The England midfielder crunched a stinging drive against the bar from twenty five yards out, with Jaaskelainen for once helpless.
The crossbar was still shaking, when the Blues scored a delightful goal to double their lead. Anelka found Deco, who beautifully touched the ball inside the defender, before curling a left footed shot past the Bolton goalkeeper. It was Deco’s second display of goalscoring poise and control this week, having scored an equally delightful goal in the win at Stamford Bridge.
Bolton had no answer for Chelsea’s superiority, and indeed a third goal game with nine minutes remaining. Ricardo Carvalho, moonlighting as a left winger, breezed past his marker before sending in a threatening cross with the outside of his right boot. Ivanovic and Zat Knight competed for it, the Bolton defender getting the final touch as it flew into the net.
The icing on the cake came in the ninetieth minute. Deco beautifully chested forward to Lampard, who brilliantly back heeled into the path of Drogba. The Ivorian made no mistake in volleying past the helpless Jasskelainen, to complete our second 4-0 demolition of Bolton this week.
Such was the ease of victory, Ancelotti did not make a single substitution throughout the match, leaving many fresh for the trip to Madrid, where we take on Athletico in midweek. On this form, who can stop us?
Chelsea (4-1-2-1-2): Cech; Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry (c), Ferreira; Essien; Ballack, Lampard; Deco; Anelka, Drogba.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Bolton (4-1-2-1-2) Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Muamba (M Davies 65), Basham (Robinson h-t), Cohen, Lee (Gardner h-t); K Davies (c), Elmander.
Manager Gary Megson.
Referee Peter Walton.