Bolton have lost all three home matches, this season, scoring three and conceding a hefty ten goals. Under fire boss, Owen Coyle has David Wheater and Ivan Klasnic suspended, whilst on-loan Gael Kakuta cannot play against his parent club. Bolton are under pressure to start collecting points in order to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.
The visitors, meanwhile, have won one, drawn one and lost one away from home and are coming in to this match on the back of a midweek Spanish rumba in Valencia. Chelsea are without suspended Fernando Torres, however Didier Drogba is back and Daniel Sturridge is fit to start. I expect AVB to shuffle the pack again with Torres, Lampard, Luiz and Malouda making way for Drogba, Ivanovic, Miereles and Sturridge.
Chelsea will have to take control of the midfield early and with Mikel sitting behind Miereles and the excellent Ramires, the Blues will enjoy plenty of possession. The key to beating Bolton is to match the aggression, put pressure on Muamba and keep Kevin Davies quiet. If Chelsea move the ball quickly, get Mata into the channels and unleash the power of Drogba then a similar score line to last year is likely, when Ramires scored his first, in a Blue shirt, with Drogba, Malouda and Anelka also finding the net.
Frank Lampard will be disappointed, if he misses out, after scoring a well controlled goal against Valencia on Wednesday. Chelsea do not play again for two weeks, so Lampard will argue that he doesn’t need the rest. However I think that AVB has got this one spot on, as Frank, for all his wonderful attributes, cannot play with Mikel because they both slow up the speed of passing. Miereles moves the ball faster, as does Ramires, and this is vital to opening up packed defences. Lampard is a true professional and will work his socks off to get his regular slot back. There will be no Argentinean style sulking on the Chelsea bench.
Whilst Sunday’s match will not be a walk in the park, on paper Chelsea will win convincingly. Put your ‘hard earned’ on a four nil win to keep the Blues on the tails of the early pace setters.