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Chelsea 2 - 2 Bolton


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Stamford%20Bridge.jpgChelsea 2 - 2 Bolton WanderersBarclay's Premiership - 28 April 2007 - Stamford Bridge - 12:45 kick-off_42859709_davies203x152.jpgChelsea were unable to find a winner against injury-stricken Bolton Wanderers, after Kevin Davies levelled for the visitors on the hour.The game ended 2-2, with Chelsea drawing their second consecutive game in the Premiership, despite a Champions League win over Liverpool in midweek. And with Manchester United coming from two goals down to beat Everton 2-4 at Goodison Park, Chelsea's fading hopes of a hat-trick of Premiership titles became all the more improbable.At kick-off, the atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge was electric. A real buzz had come over the stadium, with the home fans roaring on. Yet even as José Mourinho sent out a team lacking three of its regular players, the sense of anticipation that flooding the stadium was enough to drown any football player or fan with nerves.For the penultimate time in the season, Chelsea had the opportunity to put pressure on Manchester United as both teams kicked-off early on a busy Saturday afternoon in terms of Premiership football. Manchester United arrived at Goodison Park with leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo an injury worry.Yet despite their excellent run of form coming into this fixture, picking up 28 out of 30 points in their last ten league games, Chelsea always seem to concede early goals against Bolton Wanderers, especially at home.José Mourinho opted to rest Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Didier Drogba, Paulo Ferreira and Michael Ballack with the away leg of their Champions League semi-final tie with Liverpool on the coming Tuesday. In came Wayne Bridge, making his fourth consecutive league appearance, along with Salomon Kalou and Gérémi. Lassana Diarra returned also, this time playing in midfield alongside in-form Shaun Wright-Phillips. Ballack was not included in the squad, and Cole, Drogba and Lampard joined Carlo Cudicini and Khalid Boulahrouz on the substitute's bench.Bolton were host to a load of injury troubles, including skipper Kevin Nolan. El Hadji Diouf was also missing for Sam Allardyce's team. Ivan Campo was forced to move to play right-back - and the Bolton manager dismissed any chance of his team picking up a result against the Champions, especially after they had lost 0-1 at home to a Michael Ballack header much earlier in the season.Yet despite their woes and rumour that Sam Allardyce will leave his post as manager in the summer, the away team were the quicker to settle with the Champions suffering yet again from First-halfitis. On 18 minutes, debutant centre-half Michalik towered above the Chelsea defenders from a Campo free-kick, to confidently prod home from seven yards. Not only was the first goal Chelsea had conceded at home in the league since their 2-2 draw with Fulham on December 30._42859579_michalik416.jpgBut Chelsea's response was immediate, and Salomon Kalou scored the equaliser just three minutes later with a sublime header. Wayne Bridge broke free of Ivan Campo's marking to send in a wonderful arching cross, which Kalou met with a wonderful diving header.But then came one of two turning points in the game. Chelsea defender Carvalho limped out of a challenge and was substituted with suspected knee ligament damage. Frank Lampard replaced the defender, with Michael Essien once more being forced to play as a defender. José Mourinho will surely be without his star defender for the return leg of their Champions League clash with Liverpool.Shevchenko had a magnificent strike well-saved by Jaaskelainen, who also made a world-class save from Meite's inadvertent flick towards his own goal. Shevchenko shot wide with a clever turn and strike moments later, before the pressure took its tool and Chelsea got their second._42859621_salou416.jpgKalou's towering header was turned onto the crossbar by a Bolton defender, only for the ball to bounce in off Jaaskelainen. The goalkeeper was unfortunate, despite Kalou's excellent aerial prowess, as the ball dropped off the crossbar and landed on the helpless goalkeeper's outstretched leg, and was diverted goalbound.Essien had an excellent chance to make it 3-1 to Chelsea, but the Ghanaian could only shoot wide after Jasskelainen fumbled Lampard's outswining corner from the left. In the second half, Drogba replaced Shevchenko, and his presence nearly lead to a goal, as he shot across the face of goal. Joe Cole came on shortly, and nearly added a third from a similar position, only for his tame shot to be gathered by the feet of the Bolton goalkeeper.However, the Premiership title race was turned on its head - as one minute Chelsea seemed to haul level with Manchester United, the next they were five behind, as Kevin Davies headed home following confusion in the Chelsea penalty area, leaving Petr Cech beaten for only the fifth time in 12 Premiership outings._42859777_davies_cech416.jpgJosé Mourinho's one-man crusade against Referees also surely will be reignited, after Rob Styles failed to award Chelsea spot-kicks for blatant hand ball by Abdoulaye Meite, before the same player pulled down Drogba in the penalty area.Meanwhile, Manchester United came from behind to beat Everton 2-4 at Goodison Park. The result means Chelsea must win every game, including their showdown with United, and hope that the Old Trafford club lose to West Ham on the final day of the season.Squads and RatingsChelsea(4-1-2-1-2): Cech; Gérémi, Carvalho (Lampard 28), Terry ©, Bridge; Diarra (J Cole 59), Mikel, Essien; Wright-Phillips; Shevchenko (Drogba h-t), Kalou.Scorers Kalou 21, 33. Bolton (4-1-2-1-2): Jaaskelainen; Campo, Michalik, Meite, Gardner; Speed ©; Andranik, Tal (Sinclair 77); Thompson (Vaz Te h-t); Davies, Anelka (Martin 90+1).Scorer Michalik 18, Davies 53.Booked Gardener, Michalik.Chelsea Formation and RatingsPetr Cech7/10Geremi .... Terry ..... Carvalho ..... Bridge6/10 .........7/10 ........ 6/10.......... 8/10W.Phillips .... Essien..... Mikel....... Diarra7/10 .........7/10 ........ 7/10.......... 6/10Shevchenko .......... Kalou6/10 ............ 8/10Substitutes:Drogba - 7/10Lampard - 6/10Joe Cole - 7/10Referee - Rob Styles - 4/10Chelsea - Stats - Bolton2 - Goals - 2 2 - Shots on Target - 3 8 - Shots off Target - 3 1 - Blocked Shots - 0 11 - Corners - 2 9 - Fouls - 10 4 - Offsides - 1 0 - Yellow Cards - 3 0 - Red Cards - 0 54% - Possession - 46% Star Manbridgevcity373.jpgWayne BridgeViews of the Blues
Game over folksWhat worry's me is that both Bolton goals came from set-pieces. Good individual performances from Bridgey,Mikel and Kalou,who took his goals well.Trust that those jobs worth fuckwits at the dubious goals panel will give Kalou's second as a Jaaskelainen (og).It's on to Anfield now.We must forget this game and move on and accept that ManUre are champions.But a message to Fergie and all associated. IT’S ONLY ON LOAN. We’ll be back next season. Bank on it!!!!.
After getting over my usual 'Five minutes after full-time inability to think straight without cursing after Chelsea don't win a game they should have' syndrome, I am still relatively happy.Look at it this way:Friday 28 April 2006:Chelsea are one day away from beating Manchester United 3-0 at Stamford Bridge to retain their Premiership trophy.They were dumped out of the FA Cup by Liverpool at the semi-final stage the weekend before.They were knocked out of the Champions League in February by eventual winners Barcelona.They lost in their first game of the Carling Cup campaign.Saturday 28 April 2007:Chelsea are five points behind Manchester United after drawing a second successive blank in the Premiership. They do, however, have the chance to close the gap to 2 points in the penultimate game of the season, and even the chance to win the league on the final day of the season if United lose to West Ham and Chelsea beat Everton.They booked a place in the FA Cup final against United two weekends before hand, with a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers.They are favourites to progress into the Champions league final to set up a possible third show-down with United in 2 and a half weeks.They won the Carling Cup Final on 25 February 2007 thanks to two Didier Drogba goals.Now, you ask yourself, which position would you prefer to be in at this stage?

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