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Bolton 0-2 Chelsea


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Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea F.C.

December 6 2008, Premier League, Reebok Stadium, Bolton


Nicolas Anelka came back to haunt his former employees as the Frenchman continued his stunning goalscoring form.

After a run that had seen the Blues fail to record a win since mid-November against West Bromwich Albion, Anelka gave Scolari's men the start they craved with a brilliant diving header past Jussi Jaaskelainen. Deco then volleyed home superbly after Michael Ballack's header had found the Portuguese midfielder in space, and the ex-Barcelona player acrobatically scissor-kicked beyond the Bolton goalkeeper.

Following last weekend's defeat to Arsenal, the Blues were a point adrift of leaders Liverpool and the result means they keep in touch with the Merseyside team, who beat Blackburn 3-1 at Ewood Park. Perhaps more impressively is the fact that Chelsea managed a win at the Reebok Stadium without the likes of Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Florent Malouda, Juliano Belletti and Joe Cole, and despite a depleted squad, completely dominated the game.

Paulo Ferreira made his 150th appearance for the Blues late on in the game, but the Portuguese full-back was joined on the bench by the likes of Franco di Santo, Scott Sinclair and Miroslav Stoch, such was the extent of Chelsea's injury problems. Alex da Costa returned to the side after a recent spell on the sidelines, meaning that Branislav Ivanovic dropped to the bench despite a series of solid displays.

The game started really brightly with both teams creating chances; Kalou firing less than half a yard over Jaaskelainen's crossbar and Kevin Davies' header floating inches over the crossbar for the hosts. However, after a short spell of possession, Chelsea carved out an opener in spectacular fashion, with full-back Jose Bosingwa again at the heart of it.

The Portuguese defender launched a teasing, inviting cross towards the far stick on his left foot, and was met with aplomb by a diving Nicolas Anelka - the Frenchman expertly turning the ball beyond the Finnish goalkeeper via the post. It was a true striker's goal, and Anelka's goal against his former team was his 15th of the season so far, and a very valuable one at that.

Kevin Nolan, the Trotters skipper, had a half-chance when Petr Cech mis-kicked, but his lobbed effort lacked power and accuracy and Cech was able to gather. It was a fortunate let-off for the Blues goalkeeper, but he and his team were soon celebrating an absolute stroke of genius a matter of moments later.

Salomon Kalou saw his angled drive stopped brilliantly by Jaaskelainen, but the rebound fell to Michael Ballack, who calmly nodded into the path of Deco. With perfect execution, the Portuguese defender acrobatically volleyed into the bottom corner with a stunning scissor kick, giving Jaaskelainen no chance whatsoever. Since joining the Blues, Deco had scored three goals - a 30-yard piledriver against Portsmouth, an inch-perfect winner against Wigan with a stunning free kick, and now an outrageous volley. Anelka could have made it 3-0 moments later but his effort was wide after the goalkeeper flapped at a corner.

The second half was a different story as Bolton showed the passion and commitment that had seen them become the Premier League's form team in recent weeks but putting the visitors under mounting pressure in the early period of the second forty-five minutes. However, somewhat against the run of play, Deco would have put the game to bed and ended Bolton's resistance once and for all, but his chip was wide of the upright when a simple, placed effort would have been more suitable when one-on-one.

Lampard had a decent chance to seal the win, but he too - in uncharacteristic fashion - wasted the opportunity by shooting straight at the goalkeeper from outside the area after good play by Nicolas Anelka, who waited patiently for Lampard's supporting run. Anelka might have had a chance for his second after Jaaskelainen fumbled a long-range Alex free kick that took a slight direction, but the shot stopper soon regained possession of the ball.

Cech showed his class with a stunning save from Gary Cahill. The defender's header was too close to the goalkeeper, but the Czech number 1 showed his quick reactions to push the ball away, before collecting the rebound from Matty Taylor. Bosingwa wasted a chance on 84 minutes, but he was soon substituted for Ivanovic after a solid shift from the right-back, but the game was won and a professional second half performance ensured the win.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel (Smolarek), Davies, McCann, Nolan, Muamba (Gardner), Taylor, Elmander

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa (Ivanovic), Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole, Mikel, Kalou (Ferreira), Lampard, Ballack, Deco, Anelka

Attendance: 22,023

Referee: Howard Webb

Star Man: Nicolas Anelka


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