Kalou strike kick-starts Blues cruise

Chelsea 4 Bolton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Football

The first of Jose Mourinho's five trophies at Stamford Bridge was the Carling Cup, and Carlo Ancelotti has spoken of the potential benefits to confidence of similarly getting a first trophy in the cabinet at Wembley in February. Chelsea remain well on course for that after another emphatic home performance. There was something almost contemptuous about the way they dismissed Bolton last night, stretching their run without conceding at home to 13 hours, and taking their tally of goals in the past week to 13 in three games.

"The team are working very well," Ancelotti said. "The defence has balance on the pitch during 90 minutes, maintaining good control defensively and offensively. This is the most important thing for the team, to have a balance. For us the first thing is to play well and to win a game. It happens we've won with large results, but that's not so important. Rather, we want to win the games. We played the last three games very well."

Perhaps most encouraging for Chelsea were the performances of two players who have, for different reasons, spent much of the last year in the shadows. Joe Cole, in his third start since returning from a serious knee injury, sparkled, having a hand in three of the goals. "I was surprised because, after eight months, it's not easy to play like Joe has played these two games," said Ancelotti. "This means that he worked very hard to rest his injury and arrived to play in good condition."

Salomon Kalou, meanwhile, still only 24, continues his development from the goal-poacher he was when he arrived from Feyenoord in 2006 to being a more complete forward. Given the glut of central strikers in the Ivory Coast squad, that can only be of benefit to him at international level as well.

It was Kalou, operating as a link between Cole and Daniel Sturridge, who opened the scoring after 15 minutes, offering a reminder of the sniffer he used to be with an accurate downward header from Paulo Ferreira's cross. The second, 11 minutes later, ended up looking scruffy as Florent Malouda fired in after his initial header ricocheted off Zat Knight, but Cole's chip and Kalou's cross were of the highest order.

That goal finished off a Bolton side who had just begun to stir. Ivan Klasnic hit a post late on, but the only really anxious moment for Chelsea came at 1-0, when Henrique Hilario saved at the feet of Matt Taylor. He banged his head on the ground in making the save, a blow that led to his departure a few minutes later. Ross Turnbull came on to make his debut, but barely had to dirty his gloves. "We didn't play as we needed to play," said the Bolton manager Gary Megson. "We didn't play at a tempo that might have upset Chelsea.

"It became about the quality of one team against the other and we haven't got the wherewithal for that. They've beaten us 4-0 and they probably could have had another three or four."

As it was, they settled for just two more, the loss of Kalou to injury at half-time barely affecting their flow. Cole laid on the third for Deco with a low cross and then teed up Didier Drogba, on as a second-half substitute, for a late fourth with a neat chip to the back post. It was all very, very easy. "It was," Megson admitted, "a bit of a stroll." The sides meet again in the Premier League on Saturday. "The venue will be different," he promised. "The teams will be different and our approach will be different."

Chelsea (4-1-2-1-1): Hilario (Turnbull, 23); Belletti, Ivanovic, Alex, Ferreira; Deco; Ballack, Malouda; J Cole; Kalou (Essien, 46), Sturridge (Drogba, 62). Substitutes not used: Lampard, Matic, Bruma, Borini

Bolton (4-1-4-1): Al Habsi; Ricketts, Knight, Cahill, Samuel; Muamba; Steinsson (Elmander, 46), M Davies, Taylor (Basham, 64), Gardner; Klasnic. Substitutes not used: Jaaskelainen (gk), Robinson, Cohen, Lee, O'Brien.

Referee: A Marriner (W Midlands)