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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 25 Jan 11 at 10:12 AM

Report: Wanderers 0 Chelsea 4

Chelsea's quality in the final third shone through as they completed a 4-0 victory over Wanderers in an emotional evening at the Reebok.

On a night when Bolton celebrated the life of club great Nat Lofthouse, two goals in each half was enough for Carlo Ancelotti's men to take all the points back to Stamford Bridge.

Didier Drogba gave the champions the perfect start with a long-range thunderbolt before the lead was doubled by Florent Malouda just before half-time.

After the restart former Wanderer Nicolas Anelka scored on his old hunting ground and the victory was completed 15 minutes from full-time when Ramires found himself in the right place inside the penalty box.

In all honesty, Chelsea's impressive performance didn't allow Wanderers to click into top gear as their seven-match unbeaten run on home soil came to an end.

Minute Silence

As anticipated, the pre-match tributes to Nat Lofthouse were immaculately observed by every one of the 22,837 spectators inside the Reebok Stadium. A befitting ten-minute video detailing the life and times of the club's greatest ever player was displayed on the big screen in the moments leading up to kick-off before there was a minute's silence once both teams had taken to the field. And once wreaths had been laid adjacent to the East Stand by opposing captains Kevin Davies and John Terry, it was down to the footballing action.

New signing David Wheater was named amongst the substitutes as Owen Coyle made two changes to the side that lost out at the Britannia Stadium. The fit again Gretar Steinsson took his place at right-back while Martin Petrov was restored to the starting line-up on the left side of midfield.

It was apparent that the Bolton players were up for the game right from the first whistle and indeed they could have taken an early lead had Kevin Davies managed to get a bit more purchase on his header following Petrov's cross inside the first few minutes.

However it was Chelsea that struck the first blow as Didier Drogba fired a 30-yard rocket past Jussi Jaaskelainen with ten minutes on the clock. It was a goal out of nothing as after carrying the ball a short distance, the Ivorian hit a ferocious drive that swerved and dipped, beating the Bolton goalkeeper all ends up.

Still, despite the setback, Wanderers didn't lose any belief as they pressed and probed for the equaliser. Several times they got the ball out wide to Petrov and Taylor, but for one reason or another they didn't get any luck inside the Chelsea penalty area from the wingers' crosses.

The closest that Bolton did come to getting back on level terms in the first-half was when Taylor ventured into a central position and glanced a header that was destined to land in the bottom corner of Cech's goal. However the Czech international dove to his left and thrust out hand to tip the ball around the post - it was a real world-class save from a world-class goalkeeper.

With the pace and power in attack, the visitors were always going to threaten Wanderers' defence. Jaaskelainen was well positioned to block another powerful effort from Drogba and Zat Knight had to make a vital last-ditch sliding tackle inside his own six-yard box to keep the visitors at bay.

But unfortunately for the Whites, Carlo Ancelotti's side managed to establish a two-goal lead at half-time as Florent Malouda made it 2-0 four minutes before the interval. The Frenchman, who had scored the decisive goal in the corresponding fixture at Stamford Bridge a month prior, capitalised on some hesitant defending from Bolton to slot home from close-range.

Wanderers came out after half-time and looked determined to get themselves back in the game, however Chelsea's predatory instinct came to the fore 13 minutes after the restart as they put the contest beyond Bolton with their third goal of the game.

A swift counter-attack down the left wing resulted in Essien centring for Drogba inside the six-yard area. Zat Knight sensed the danger and made a sliding challenge on the number 11, but the ball squirmed loose for Anelka, who slid his finish in between Stuart Holden's legs and into the back of the net.

Manager Owen Coyle's response was to throw on Mark Davies and Rodrigo, and the pair instantly impressed.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder embarked on one of his trademark forays through centre of midfield and after playing a one-two with Elmander, Cech saved Chelsea by advancing off his line to make an important clutch.

Elmander forced Cech into another smart stop while Matt Taylor was unlucky not to make contact on a Kevin Davies cross from the right after finding himself unmarked inside the area.

Ramires completed the scoring 15 minutes from time with his first strike in English football. The former Benfica man's finish was not too dissimilar to that of Anelka's as, after finding a rebound fall in his direction inside the penalty box, the Brazilian tucked the ball into the corner of the net, beating Jaaskelainen's valiant dive.

To Bolton's credit they peservered right through to the final whistle, most notably when Elmander volleyed a snap-shot just over the bar, but it wasn't to be their evening as Chelsea showed why they are the reigning Champions of the Barclays Premier League.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Petrov (Rodrigo 62), Muamba (Mark Davies 62), Holden (Blake 87), Taylor, Kevin Davies, Elmander (Subs not used: Bogdan, Ricketts, Cohen, Wheater)

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Cole, Ivanovic, Terry, Ramires (Kalou 77), Essien, Mikel (McEachran 71), Malouda, Drogba, Anelka (Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Kakuta, Sturridge, Bruma)

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