Chelsea 4 Bolton: Blues ease into last eight with comfortable victory

29 October 2009 12:11
Those who threaten Stamford Bridge can all expect to be greeted with similar disdain at the moment as Carlo Ancelotti restores a sense of invincibility to Chelsea's home.

Visitors from Madrid, Blackburn and Bolton have been crushed under a weight of 13 goals in eight days and Sam Allardyce's threat of an outbreak of swine flu seems to have been repelled for good measure.

'We are in good condition,' said Ancelotti. 'This is a good moment for us.'

Flying high: Salomon Kalou celebrates his opening goal for Chelsea

Too right. His team have not conceded a goal at home in more than 13 hours of action. The last man to put the ball in their net at home was Hull's Stephen Hunt on the opening day of the season.

Four were smashed past Atletico last week and five past Blackburn on Saturday. Last night, with senior stars rested and fringe players given a run, Chelsea never looked like missing out on a place in the last eight of the Carling Cup.

Salomon Kalou, Florent Malouda, Deco and Didier Drogba scored the goals which sent Gary Megson back north to chew over the dilemma of how to tackle Chelsea's first team on Saturday at the Reebok in the Premier League.

'I'm pleased we've got them again,' said Megson. 'We need to put on a performance because that was a bit of a stroll. Our team will be different, not just in personnel but in approach, and I hope we're a lot more wholehearted than we were tonight.'

Doubling up: Florent Malouda puts Chelsea 2-0 up against Bolton

Ancelotti, in contrast, could reflect on another good night's work. Joe Cole continued his sparkling form and Alex, playing for the first time this season, got through 90 minutes.

The fact that back-up goalkeeper Henrique Hilario went off with concussion in the first half and 20-yearold striker Daniel Sturridge failed to impress on his full debut will be of little consequence to the Italian.

This was a 10th successive home win for his side. To equal a club record of 11, they will have to beat their closest title rivals, Manchester United, a week on Sunday, although it is hard to back against them.

Suddenly the Bridge feels like the fortress it was under Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant, when Chelsea did not lose a home league game for well over four years.

United will surely test them more than Atletico, Blackburn or Bolton, who were criticised by Megson for failing to show the strength or speed required to give Chelsea a fright.

Without Kevin Davies, who was given a breather, the visitors lacked their usual physical threat and went behind after 15 minutes. Sam Ricketts gave Paulo Ferreira time to cut back on to his right foot and cross, and Bolton's back four watched as Kalou drifted between Jlloyd Samuel and Matthew Taylor to direct a simple header inside the far post.

Pure delight: Deco celebrates with Michael Ballack after scoring Chelsea's third goal at Stamford Bridge

Megson's team could have pulled level within a minute but weredenied by Hilario's bravery. The Portuguese keeper hurled himself atthe feet of Taylor, left unattended in the box by Juliano Belletti, andparried the shot but banged his head on the ground as he did. Play wenton with Hilario rolling around on the turf before Ricardo Gardnerlashed a shot over the open net from 20 yards.

Hilario staggeredthrough another seven minutes but was clearly dazed and was sent for aprecautionary scan as soon as he was substituted Ross Turnbull went onfor his debut, charged with protecting the proud clean-sheet record.Turnbull did his job, smothering Bolton's best chance of the secondhalf, a shot from Mark Davies, soon after the interval.

He was beaten in the closing minutes when Ivan Klasnic prodded a low shot past him but the ball hit the foot of a post and bounced safely away.

Chelsea were safe by then anyway. Malouda fired them two up, ramming in a shot from close range. He had squandered the initial chance, glancing a header from Kalou's cross into the body of Zat Knight, but the ball rebounded kindly for him and his second finish was more forceful.

ONE TO WATCH DANIEL STURRIDGE (Chelsea)The 20-year-old striker has talent, no question. It is his attitude which is under scrutiny and last night's display did not dispel the doubts. Slow to get involved on his first start for Chelsea, limited movement and a poor work ethic. Yet, still he threatens the goal. Tested Ali Al Habsi and tried the patience of Carlo Ancelotti in the first half.  

Ali Al Habsi made a fine onehanded save from Kalou but Cole started to dominate after the break as Bolton risked more in attack.

He set up two wonderful chances in quick succession for Sturridge but the youngster missed the target with both.

First Cole rolled a short pass into his path but Sturridge snatched at it and put it wide. Then Cole delivered a precision pass over 50 yards. This time Sturridge had time to pick his spot and he turned towards goal but again drilled his effort wide.

Ancelotti took off the England Under 21 striker and replaced him with Drogba.

Sturridge looked crestfallen as he settled on to the bench in time to see Deco's example of clinical finishing after 67 minutes. Cole picked out Deco and he drove in the third.

'I'm disappointed for him,' said Ancelotti. 'I asked him to play for the team, not just to score. He did what I asked of him. For me, it's not important that he didn't score. The others scored. For him it would have been better to score, but he has to stay quiet because I'm happy with his work out on the pitch.'

May the fourth be with you: Didier Drogba puts the gloss on Chelsea's win

A volley from Deco dipped just over before Drogba completed the scoring with a simple header at the back post to convert a cross delivered, somewhat inevitably, from the boot of Cole after 89 minutes

'The first thing is to play well and to win a game,' said Ancelotti. 'It so happens we've won with large results but that's not so important.

'We played the last three games very well, and Saturday can be another kind of match. We have to be ready to play a different match.'

CHELSEA (4-3-2-1): Hilario (Turnbull 23min); Belletti, Ivanovic, Alex, Ferreira; Ballack, Deco, Malouda; J Cole, Kalou (Essien 46); Sturridge (Drogba 61).

BOLTON WANDERERS (4-1-4-1): Al Habsi; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Muamba; Steinsson (Elmander 46), M Davies, Gardner, Taylor (Basham 63); Klasnic.

Man of the match: Joe Cole.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

 CARLING CUP LIVE: All the action from the fourth round - as it happenedChelsea scouts on Swedish mission to check on Brazilian starlet WandersonBOLTON FC

Source: Daily_Mail