Saturday, 6 December 2008

Dangerous Anelka, Furious Chelsea...

Bolton slaughtered suffering Sunderland last weekend by four goals to one and kicked off this weekend at home boasting a sound record against incumbents of the top four.

Chelsea Two Good For Bolton Wanderers
However, the one member of the regular Champions League entrants whom they continuously come unstuck against is Blue London club Chelsea who have never failed to land anything but maximum points in their past six visits of the Reebok Stadium.

Noting Bolton's tactics, Chelsea's influential attack-minded midfielder Frank Lampard believes the Blues need to mix up their plan A's with their B's if they were to get a result. Critics have pointed to Chelsea's midfield being too one-paced and in order to combat that Lampard believed they would need to alter their play.

Interestingly, on all the occasions that Chelsea have dropped points, they have been housed at Stamford Bridge; so going into this tie they have got a flawless 100 per cent away record.


Chelsea began the game in patient fashion as they seemed content in knocking the ball around the midfield areas while they waited for space to open up in front of them.

After a threatening Kalou shot on the seventh minute, Bolton pressed forward and looked to capitalise on a couple of successive corner kicks, but nothing of note bloomed.

Instead, within moments of the Trotters set play, Frank Lampard sends a quick free kick toward Portuguese playmaker Deco who plays in international team-mate Jose Bosingwa. The bombarding right-back's cross is at just the right height for Frenchman Nicolas Anelka who finds the net with his head.

Bolton reacted in good fashion to conceding a goal within the first ten minutes and Johan Elmander, who scored a brace against Sunderland last weekend, had a couple half-chances on goal.

Any attempted comeback was short-lived though as Chelsea doubled their lead after 21 minutes when Deco hit an eye-pleasing overhead kick into Bolton's net.

Bosingwa has attracted praise for the modern style that he brings to the full-back role but just before the half hour mark he was rolling around like he had been eternally pained, but was well enough seconds later to take advantage of the resultent free kick.

Five minutes before the break the tie starts to get dicey as German enforcer Michael Ballack gets himself into a tussle with left sided player Matt Taylor.


After the break Megson decided to change his side's shape and decided to adopt a slightly more adventurous 4-4-2 formation.

Megson's decision seems to be inspired as the switch brings immediate results with Kevin Nolan getting forward and unleashing strikes on goal, only to realise he had left his accuracy in the dressing room.

Matt Taylor too had chances to reduce the deficit, and with Petr Cech looking off-form and out of ideas, Michael Ballack was needed to help keep the home side's shots at bay.

Chelsea began to treat their fans with some fluid passing as the second half was fully underway and the attacking trident of Anelka, Lampard, and Deco continously carved Bolton apart.

On the hour mark John Terry appeared guilty of a handball in the area but referee Howard Webb waved play on and, for the second time in the afternoon (Richard Dunne was also let off the hook for handballing), a defender had got off lightly for what should have been a penalty kick.

The game drew to a close while wayward shooting and tactical and time-wasting substitutions were brought on, but as Webb brought the match to a close Chelsea had done enough to ensure the three points.

Prior to kick off, Bolton manager Gary Megson mentioned that he was of the opinion that his Greater Manchester side could handle anything that Chelsea threw their way... apart from, of course, their former striker Nicolas Anelka, and that certainly seemed to be the case today.



Jaaskelainen - Steinsson; Cahill; O'Brien; Samuel - Davies; McCann; Nolan; Muamba; Taylor - Elmander.

Al Habsi; Smolarek; Gardner; Riga; Shittu; Basham; Obadeyi.


Cech - Bosingwa; Terry; Alex; Cole - Mikel - Kalou; Lampard; Ballack; Deco - Anelka.

Cudicini; Ivanovic; Sinclair; Ferreira; Mineiro; Stoch; Woods.

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