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Chelsea 4-0 Bolton


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awayshirt.jpgWednesday 28 October 2009, Carling Cup Fourth Round, Stamford Bridge, West London

Salomon Kalou, Florent Malouda, Deco and Didier Drogba all scored as Chelsea crushed Bolton Wanderers to book a place in the last eight of the Carling Cup.

The result, which sees Chelsea into the quarter finals of the Carling Cup, was highly-deserved and in fact flattered the visitors, who were notably off-key. That being said, Chelsea were excellent; creating plenty of chances in an entertaining cup tie at Stamford Bridge. Carlo Ancelotti's side were excellent, and had the tie effectively won by half-time thanks to goals from Salomon Kalou and the brilliant Florent Malouda, who was involved with virtually all of Chelsea's best attacking play. Further goals from Deco and a header from in-form Didier Drogba completed the rout in a comfortable second half for Chelsea, with the game's only sour point being a head injury to Blues goalkeeper Henrique Hilario, who had received a blow to the face after charging down Matthew Taylor inside the area.

Carlo Ancelotti was ecstatic with the win, and said Chelsea showed the competition respect with the strong-looking line-up that began the match. Though captain John Terry and influential trio Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka all sat out, there were no fewer than eight current international stars in the starting eleven. The quarter finals; featuring eight Premier League sides, will be a stern test for Chelsea, with the draw being made this Saturday lunchtime.

Hilario began in goal, behind a defence that featured Juliano Belletti, Paulo Ferreira, Branislav Ivanovic, and Alex da Costa. Michael Ballack had the captain's armband, playing on the right of the diamond midfield, with Malouda on the opposite flank. Deco and Joe Cole were deployed as defensive and attacking midfielders respectively. Daniel Sturridge made his first start for the club up front alongside Salomon Kalou, and Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Ross Turnbull were amongst the substitutes. Alex was making his first appearance for the Blues since the FA Cup final in May, and was imperious alongside Ivanovic.

Joe Cole had had the first shot of the game in the 5-0 rout of Blackburn at the weekend just after half a minute into the match, yet he was even quicker out of the starting blocks with a 12th second shot that found Ali al Habsi's gloves. A few moments later, Deco unleashed a shot from about 18 yards with the similar result; the Bolton goalkeeper doing well to hold on to the Portuguese's swerving effort.

Chelsea had a penalty claim early in the half when Daniel Sturridge was fouled inside the area, but referee Andre Mariner waved away the protests after he deemed the aerial battle between Sturridge and Sam Ricketts to be a fair one. The Shed End voiced their displeasure in unison, but the supporters were soon celebrating a Chelsea goal with the next attack from the hosts.

Paulo Ferreira, covering for the injured Ashley Cole, teased in a wonderful right-footed cross from the left flank that was met by a smart header from Kalou, beating al Habsi from seven yards. It was the perfect start to the match from Chelsea, who had begun the game on the front foot, and their early pressure had paid off with the goal they have been threatening since kick-off.

Henrique Hilario was then called into action, and made a fine save to deny Matthew Taylor grabbing an instant equaliser for the northern side. Bolton worked the ball well, and when it fell to Taylor, the goalkeeper was off his line superbly to smother the effort. He took a blow to the head for his troubles, but it was a block that had kept Chelsea in front. Clearly dazed, the Portuguese left the field of play five minutes later, allowing Ross Turnbull to make his Stamford Bridge bow.

But before Turnbull had even touched the ball, Chelsea were 2-0 up with a superb goal on the counter-attack. It was started and finished by Malouda, who played one-twos with Kalou and Deco before firing home. The Frenchman had scored under fortuitous circumstances; his initial header had rebounded off former Fulham defender Zat Knight, but Malouda was first to the loose ball to prod home his third goal of the season.

Kalou shot wide moments after Knight had made a good tackle to deny Sturridge the space to work in the box. Kalou then forced a brilliant save out of the Bolton goalkeeper as Chelsea surged forward, Deco's intricate pass into the Ivorian's path producing a breathtaking one-handed parry by al Habsi. It was a save that effectively kept Bolton in the match.

Michael Essien was introduced at half-time in place of Kalou, who had enjoyed a productive forty-five minutes for the Blues up front. That meant Deco went to the tip of the midfield diamond whilst Essien filled in the anchor role; Joe Cole and the Portuguese played off Daniel Sturridge as a second striker, whilst Michael Ballack pushed back slightly to compensate as the formation changed to the Christmas-tree shape of 4-3-2-1.

The first meaningful opportunity of the half fell to the involved figure of Juliano Belletti, who had teased his opposing fullback with some intelligent runs in the first half. It was more creative play from the Brazilian to create the opportunity, turning his marker before launching a left-footed effort just wide of the far post. It was a worthy strike from the former Barcelona man.

Bolton troubled Chelsea for the first time on 53 minutes, when Mark Davies forced a regulation save from Turnbull, but at the other end, the massive hole left by the Bolton midfield was exploited by Cole and Sturridge, with the former toe-poking the ball wide from a good position. Moments later the two combined again, but this time Sturridge's effort rolled just off target with al Habsi beaten.

On 61 minutes, Stamford Bridge rose to applaud the efforts of Sturridge, who was substituted for the in-form man at Chelsea; Didier Drogba. The whole stadium cheered when the Ivorian entered the field of play, sensing that Drogba could be the man to fully exploit the Bolton backline.

Drogba was involved in a goal just six minutes later as he dummied the ball for Deco to lash home Chelsea's third goal. Joe Cole's blistering run down the wing had met a long pass from Michael Essien, and a stunning counter-attack was completed when Drogba allowed the ball to run to the Chelsea number 20, who unerringly stroked home his fifth Chelsea career goal and first at Stamford Bridge since August 2009 against Portsmouth.

The final ten minutes were amongst the most eventful of the match; Ivan Klasnic struck the post with a low drive from inside the area, before Deco smacked a beautiful volley just over the bar from thirty yards out. Drogba completed the rout with a header typical of the Ivorian striker; converting a looping cross from Joe Cole, who had enjoyed another influential outing as he continues his comeback from injury.

All in all it was too easy a challenge for the Blues, who are likely to face a much stiffer test when they travel to the Reebok.

___________________________________________________________________

Chelsea (4-4-2) Hilario (Turnbull 23); Belletti, Alex, Ivanovic, Ferreira; Deco, Ballack ©, Malouda, J Cole; Kalou (Essien 46), Sturridge (Drogba 62)

Bolton (4-1-4-1): al Habsi; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Muamba; Steinsson (Elmander 46), M Davies, Gardner ©, Taylor (Basham 64); Klasnic

The TalkChelsea.net Man of the Match was Chelsea's number 15 - Florent Malouda

Bolton-Malouda.jpg

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