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Bolton 0-4 Chelsea


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mhstand1.jpgSaturday 31 October 2009, the FA Premier League, the Reebok Stadium, Bolton

Chelsea beat Bolton 4-0 to cement their place at the top of the Premier League.

With Arsenal beating high-flying Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby in the day's early kick-off, there was pressure on Chelsea to respond to having their lead cut to just two points by Arsene Wenger's side. The Blues answered with a comprehensive victory against Bolton, and their second 4-0 trouncing of the Trotters in four days.

Didier Drogba continued his fine scoring form by slamming home the Blues' fourth goal in stoppage time, after Deco and a Zat Knight own goal had added to Frank Lampard's first half penalty. The Blues were rarely troubled by Bolton, who also had Jlloyd Samuel red carded when he fouled Drogba inside the area, allowing Lampard to open the scoring. Nicolas Anelka then set up Deco, who coolly fired home, before Knight could only divert the ball into his own net under pressure from Branislav Ivanovic to win Chelsea the points. Drogba's tenth goal of the season was simply the icing on the cake - it was a magnificent performance from Carlo Ancelotti's side, who have now scored 17 goals in their last five matches, whilst keeping clean sheets in six of the last seven.

Though the teams were heavily changed from the demolition Chelsea delivered to their northern opponents, the plot followed a similar tale, with Chelsea dominating for large parts of the match and creating plenty of decent scoring opportunities. Petr Cech returned in goal, alongside John Terry, Ricardo Carvalho, Lampard and Anelka, who partnered the red-hot Drogba. Joe Cole and Florent Malouda were dropped to the bench alongside Juliano Belletti, whilst Michael Essien played at the base of the diamond midfield employed by the Chelsea boss. Only Paulo Ferreira, Michael Ballack and Branislav Ivanovic of the starting eleven that faced Gary Megson's side in midweek started again at the Reebok.

The Reebok Stadium has been a happy hunting ground for Chelsea of late; the Blues sealed their first league title in 50 years with a 2-0 victory in April 2005, and the following year, effectively had the Premier League in the bag following a triumph by a similar scoreline. 1-0 victories thanks to Michael Ballack and Salomon Kalou in 2006 and then 2007 followed, before another 2-0 win for the Blues under Luiz Felipe Scolari in December 2008 kept the Blues in the hunt for the title. Under Carlo Ancelotti, however, the Blues beat Bolton into submission, and right from the kick off, Chelsea had the hosts pinned in their own half.

Thought Johann Elmander headed over from close range in the opening exchanges, the first fifteen minutes were relatively comfortable for Chelsea, who were confidently stroking the ball about the field. Frank Lampard and Michael Essien in particular were heavily influential from start to finish, and the two midfielders combined to send Nicolas Anelka away down the wing. The Frenchman crossed into the area for Drogba, but the Ivorian striker could not readjust his body and headed wide. That was to be the first of many excellent chances for the Chelsea talisman.

Chelsea turned up the heat as the game reached the 20 minute mark, with Drogba feeding Anelka, who unleashed a shot that was parried behind brilliantly by Jaaskelainen, who had missed the midweek venture to West London. The Finland international made an equally exceptional save from the resulting corner by pushing Drogba's effort over the bar.

Jaaskalainen again came to Bolton's rescue a few moments later by coming out to block another Drogba shot after the Ivorian had robbed Gary Cahill of the ball on the edge of the Bolton area. Chelsea were in the ascendancy but the brilliant Bolton goalkeeper was not going to give up his clean sheet without a fight.

Branislav Ivanovic was then denied a first Premier League goal by an offside flag as he volleyed home at the second attempt, before Bolton replied with a curling effort straight at Petr Cech from Tamir Cohen. Kevin Davies and Cahill then missed presentable chances for the hosts, before Michael Ballack punished the Trotters for lackadaisical defending, by threading a perfect through-ball into Drogba's path. The Ivorian was hauled down by Samuel, who was shown a straight red card, and Lampard duly dispatched the penalty - his 22nd consecutive successful spot kick for the Blues.

Bolton made a double change at half time with Chris Basham and Ricardo Gardner both coming on, but it was Cohen who was denied by some fine defending from Michael Essien when Bolton finally threatened to score. Jaaskelainen stopped Drogba from extending the Blues' lead with two superb saves, the best of which an instinctive block as the Ivorian held off two defenders before having his shot smothered by the Finn's frame.

Lampard then rattled the crossbar, and it was still shaking by the time Deco secured the three points with a brilliant finish from ten yards out. Anelka picked the ball up on the half way line and motioned forward at full throttle, before feeding into Deco, who skipped around one defender before curling home. The Portuguese had now scored in three consecutive games against the Trotters, and Chelsea were coasting.

Bolton continued to press forward, though Chelsea's man advantage was showing as their brick wall defence held firm. Only once was it breached in the following quarter of an hour, but the brilliant Ivanovic was on hand to clear to prevent Gardner from reducing Chelsea's lead. The same player then skewed an effort wide on 74 minutes, as Chelsea looked to play the game out safely.

Paulo Ferreira was a little late in his challenge on Sam Ricketts, and the Portuguese found himself in the referee's notebook with ten minutes left on the clock. Moments later, however, the Blues were 3-0 up thanks to the forehead of Zat Knight, who beat his own goalkeeper inadvertently. Lampard volleyed out wide to Carvalho who skipped past one Bolton player before crossing into the path of Ivanovic, who was beaten to the ball by the former Fulham man, but the defender could only head home under immense pressure. It was no more than Chelsea deserved for a thoroughly brilliant performance.

With Atletico Madrid away and a Stamford Bridge clash with Manchester United beckoning ever closer, a fourth Chelsea goal was the perfect message to send to the Blues' next opponents - Deco, Anelka and Lampard all combined to brilliant tee up Drogba, who could not miss from seven yards out in what was one of the goals of the season. The Blues were 4-0 victors for the third time in four matches, and who is to bet against them not increasing that tally on Wednesday night?

___________________________________________________________________

Bolton (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Muamba (M Davies 46), Basham (Robinson h-t), Cohen, Lee (Gardner 46); K Davies ©, Elmander

Chelsea (4-1-2-1-2): Cech; Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry ©, Ferreira; Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Deco; Anelka, Drogba.

The TalkChelsea.net Star Man was Chelsea's number 20; Deco

Bolton-Deco.jpg

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I agree with this Star Man choice. Good report, Al.

Edit: I thought this was from the midweek fixture. :lol:

A word of advice Alex (don't take this the wrong way) - I think the reason your match reports aren't getting as much interest as they could - and probably should - be getting is because they're fairly lengthy. People will just look at the length of it and think to themselves "I'm not reading all that!". Try and shorten them down a bit mate.

Edited by Essien
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I agree with this Star Man choice. Good report, Al.

Edit: I thought this was from the midweek fixture. :lol:

A word of advice Alex (don't take this the wrong way) - I think the reason your match reports aren't getting as much interest as they could - and probably should - be getting is because they're fairly lengthy. People will just look at the length of it and think to themselves "I'm not reading all that!". Try and shorten them down a bit mate.

On the basis of what? He scored a seemingly deflected goal?

Cheers for the advice Greg, I'll give it a go. I agree with you there though mate.

Shorter, yes, and I think they need to be more opinionated...

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On the basis of what? He scored a seemingly deflected goal?

If you read my post, I thought it was from the midweek, Carling Cup tie at first, hence why I said I agreed...

Was the shot deflected by the way? I thought it was at first, but on second viewing, it looked like it wasn't. :unsure:

Shorter, yes, and I think they need to be more opinionated...

Yeah, I agree with Cameron there, too. Opinions cause debate/discussion, therefore making your match reports more popular/active.

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