Bolton 0 Chelsea 4: Blues send out a warning to Manchester United

02 November 2009 02:39
FIRST there was the little pass lifted into the penalty box by Nicolas Anelka. Then came the chest-down from Deco, an audacious back flick by Frank Lampard and the first-time finish from Didier Drogba.

It was an outrageous goal that made absolutely no difference to the outcome, but said everything about the soaring confidence of Chelsea.

It was as if football's answer to the Harlem Globetrotters had touched down in Bolton.

Spot-on: Frank Lampard celebrates giving Chelsea the lead from the penalty spot

A team playing near the peak of their powers and sitting imperiously on top of the Barclays Premier League.

Compare that goal - the last of four they put past Bolton and the 17th without reply since mid-October - to the way Manchester United stumbled over the finishing line against the same opponents at Old Trafford a fortnight ago and it is easy to see why Carlo Ancelotti's side view Sunday's summit meeting with the champions at Stamford Bridge with growing optimism.

After Chelsea swept to a fourth straight win since losing at Aston Villa last month, the worrying message for United from Lampard is that their best is yet to come.

'We're on good form - very good form - and that shows in the results,' he said. 'But there's room for improvement. There always is. Any slacking on the training ground or in our preparations and that form will quickly go away, so we'll keep trying to improve and hopefully we can get even better.

'I don't think anyone will need to work hard to get up for the United game. We all know it's coming. We'll try and put a gap between us and them at the top of the league.'

Having seen both teams at close quarters, Bolton manager Gary Megson believes the result of Sunday's clash will be pivotal in the title race.

'United and Chelsea will get the results against the also-rans but I've always thought it comes down to how they get on against each other,' said Megson.

'Whoever finishes above Chelsea will win it. It's just the quality they've got, but if you're spending £200million and not getting that kind of team you've got a big problem.'

Chelsea love Bolton and so does Lampard. This was their seventh straight Premier League win at the Reebok without conceding a goal, just three days after they had beaten Megson's side by the same scoreline at home in the Carling Cup.

They won the title here in 2005 and took a big step towards retaining it with victory a year later. Lampard scored on both occasions. He struck first on Saturday from the penalty spot after Jlloyd Samuel was sent off for tripping Drogba just before half-time.

Incidet: Jlloyd Samuel brings down Didier Drogba to concede a penalty

It was aclear penalty but the fact that it was awarded by Peter Walton, whogave a controversial call against Bolton at Stamford Bridge in April,for a challenge on the ever-dramatic Drogba, rankled with a team whopride themselves on honest endeavour.

Megson said: 'Some of them aregiven and some of them not but with penalties, Peter Walton and Boltonthere's only one outcome. 'Things stick in my throat a little bit. Ifeel so sorry for Kevin Davies. He gets battered up hill and down daleand yet it always seems to go the other way, against Kevin. I don'tthink it's right or fair.'

Kevin Davies said as much to Walton during the game, even though there was grudging acceptance of the penalty decision in favour of Drogba, who was booed throughout.

'It was a big turning point for us,' said Davies. 'Jay's tried to stop him and any sort of clip he's going to go down. It was a hard card.'

One goal and one man down was too much of a handicap for Bolton.

Deco added a well-taken second after good work from the outstanding Anelka and Zat Knight scored an own goal under pressure from Branislav Ivanovic, before that quite superb combination in stoppage time that allowed Drogba to rub Bolton's noses in it.

Match StatsBOLTON (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen 8; Ricketts 6, Knight 6, Cahill 5, Samuel5; Basham 6 (Robinson 46min, 6), Muamba 6 (M Davies 65, 5), Lee 5(Gardner 46, 5), Cohen 5; K Davies 6, Elmander 6.

Booked: Robinson.

Sent off: Samuel.

CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cech 6; Ivanovic 7, Terry 6,Carvalho 6, Ferreira 6; Ballack 6, Essien 6, Deco 7, Lampard 7; Anelka8, Drogba 7.

Booked: Ferreira

Man of the match: Nicolas Anelka.

Referee: Peter Walton.

'Didier's the best striker in the world and the best I've ever played with,' said Lampard.

'A lot of things get said about him, but one thing we know in the camp is he gives everything for the team. That's the beauty of him.'

Typically, Ancelotti refused to look too far beyond tomorrow's Champions League tie away to Atletico Madrid that should see Chelsea ease through with two games to spare.

But there was no ignoring what will be a fascinating encounter with Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

'Sooner or later we had to play Manchester United,' said the Italian. 'It's a good moment. We have the perfect balance now, but the most difficult thing is to maintain it.'

 Carling Cup: Last eight repeat of last season's final as United face SpursHalloween horror: Eight players see red in Premier League day of shameBolton 0 Chelsea 4: Blues run riot as Ancelotti's men hold on to top spotForget away defeats, my Chelsea tactics are just diamond, insists Carlo


Source: Daily_Mail