Last season Bolton came to Stamford Bridge and inflicted a first home defeat in the league against Chelsea. A late own goal by John Terry gave Bolton a 1-2 victory. Today they arrived at Stamford Bridge in fifth place with a strong physical team that had drawn 2-2 at Arsenal and had also drawn 2-2 at home to Manchester United. So it was always going to be a tough fixture for the Blues. Jose went into the match making just one change from the team that beat Fulham last week. In came Tiago for Alexey Smertin. The game kicked off half an hour late due to a fatal accident in South West London. It gave some of the fans extra drinking and singing time in the bars around Stamford Bridge; it also gave us a slight advantage, as we’d know the full time scores before the game had ended. When we found out that Arsenal had only managed a draw against West Brom a huge cheer went up around the ground.
When the game did kick off we only had to wait 36 seconds for the first goal and it came from Damien Duff. A through ball by Frank Lampard found Duffer and from a very acute angle he managed to slide the ball past Jaaskelainen. His colleagues in front of the East Stand mobbed duff and we were 1-0 up with the early goal that every fan craves. The players all ran to Duff and celebrated in front of the East Stand. The majority of the first half consisted of Bolton hitting long hopeful balls into the Chelsea area and Chelsea breaking upfield with pace, Duff had another effort during the half and Frank Lampard headed over but there wasn’t any addition to the score and Chelsea went into half time 1-0 up.
The second half started with Chelsea on the attack and gaining a corner in the 48th minute. From the corner a short Robben pass found Duff who gave the ball back to Robben he crossed the ball low and found Tiago who slotted the ball home to make it 2-0. It felt like it was time to relax, as we would still be top of the league come full time. However, being a Chelsea fan for as long as I have, you can never really properly relax when Chelsea are ahead, and this came to fruition. Four minutes later it was 2-1. A Gary Speed free kick from the right was floated in, Petr Cech came out for the ball but couldn’t quite reach, the ball fell to Kevin Davies who headed it past Cech and on its way to hitting the back of the net looked like it touched Jaidi. Davies ran off celebrating and it was time to start worrying again. After the Bolton goal Chelsea had chances to go 3-1 up with Gudjohnsen having a shot cleared off the line by Jaaskelainen and a Robben free kick just outside the area cleared to Makelele who’s shot came off of a Bolton defender and cleared. On 76 minutes came the best chance of all for Chelsea to wrap the game up, a return pass from Damien Duff found Eidur 20 yards out, his shot rattled the crossbar with Jaaskelainen nowhere near reaching it, however the ball came out for Bolton to clear.
With three minutes to go and Chelsea very near their record nine wins out of nine came the killer blow. A free kick taken from around the half way line was lofted into the Chelsea box, Kevin Davies headed down and there was Jaidi who banged the ball goalwards and hit the net. 2-2. With Arsenal only managing a draw against West Brom at Highbury it keeps us top of the Premiership by two points, however we really should be waking up to find ourselves four points ahead of the Gunners. However, it wasn’t to be. The solace we can take from the game is the fact that Bolton are a strong team and last season we found ourselves losing the match, at least we gained a point this time around which makes life a little better. Next week we travel the short distance to Charlton at the Valley. In between that we play PSG on Wednesday in the Champions League.
The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge was quite superb, there were plenty of people singing and cheering on the Blues, even the people around me in the East Lower were giving their all to help the team to victory. Now it’s over to you Jose, as I believe we did our part, maybe next time we can all pull together, with us singing and the team winning.
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Terry, Carvalho, Gallas, Makelele, Lampard, Tiago, Duff, Robben, Gudjohnsen. Subs. Cudicini, Johnson, Bridge, Parker, Kezman
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, N’Gotty, Jaidi, Gardner, Nolan, Speed, Okocha, Diouf, Davies, Pedersen. Subs: Giannakopoulos, Campo, Hierro, Poole, Vaz Te.
Referee: D. Gallagher