A crazy afternoon at Stamford Bridge, saw Chelsea come away with a 4-3 victory against Bolton.
In the first half, Bolton started brightly, holding possession and forcing an early save from Petr Cech from Matthew Taylor’s free kick. Chelsea started to come into the match with Didier Drogba beginning to exert his influence, threatening goal on a couple occasions in the first 15 minutes. After a giveaway by Michael Ballack in the middle, Bolton had a chance to counter, leading to Matt Taylor missing a chance by heading over the bar in the 21st minute.
Chelsea would threaten again in the 25th minute, as Frank Lampard’s free kick from 30 yds would skid in front of Jussi Jaaskelainen forcing a tricky save from the Bolton keeper. Ballack would present Chelsea another opportunity for the first goal in the 36th minute when his shot from 25 yards just skimmed the cross bar.Chelsea would get the breakthrough that they were looking for in the 40th minute. With Bolton back on their heels after a good spell of dominance from Chelsea, Danny Shittu’s poor clearance would fall to Ballack, who played the ball wide to Salomon Kalou. Kalou would cross the ball low for Ballack who finished simply to give Chelsea the 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, Bolton would have a good chance to equalize as Kevin Davies shot from a corner would just fizz past the post, ending the first half with Chelsea in control with 1-0 lead.
The second half would start much like the first half ended, with Chelsea dominating possession and pushing Bolton back into their own half.
Chelsea would take a 2-0 lead in the 48th minute, as Lampard would cross low into the box from a free kick and Drogba would deflect the cross past Jaaskelainen.
Again Chelsea would continue to pressure Bolton with chances for Kalou after a scramble in the box and a half volley from Lampard from the edge of the box.
A crucial moment in the match was referee Peter Walton’s decision to award a penalty in the 59th minute to Chelsea for a handball in the box by Gretar Steinsson. Replays showed that it looked like Steinsson’s arm was into his body when the ball hit his arm, but Walton felt it was intentional. Lampard stepped up to the spot and coolly sent Jaaskelainen the wrong way to make it 3-0.
Five minutes later, Drogba would get his second goal from a corner as Florent Malouda’s delivery would be headed by Branislav Ivanovic into the path of the Ivorian to poke home for 4-0.
Sensing the match was over, Guus Hiddink would withdraw Drogba and Lampard for Nicolas Anelka and Deco.
However, those substitutions, coupled with Chelsea relaxing, led to a Bolton comeback. First, it was Andy O’Brien who would see the ball fall kindly for him in the 70th minute after Cech would fail to collect a cross intended for Ricardo Gardener. It was O’Brien’s first goal since 2004.
Bolton’s second goal would come from substitute Chris Basham, who in the 74th minute, would get onto the end of Kevin Davies flicked on header and poke the ball past Cech.
Bolton would add more pressure five minutes later with their third goal, compliments of Matt Taylor. Jaaskelainen would send a long goal kick forward for Kevin Davies, who again would head the ball on for Taylor, who would send the ball past Cech for 4-3.
Chelsea would have two opportunities to put the game out of reach again as Anelka saw his clipped shot cleared off the line by Steinsson. Moments later, Malouda would be clear on goal, only for Jaaskelainen to save.
Bolton would get a late chance as once again Cech failed to deal with a corner, Taylor heading back across goal for Gary Cahill, whose shot would take a deflection wide. Cech would get a hand to the resulting corner as the whistle went for full time.