Lampard's landmark return restores pride

Chelsea 3 Bolton Wanderers 0: Captain inspires Chelsea to victory with senior servants recalled to line-up

Stamford Bridge

A laboured win over a team in the bottom three is not exactly cause for an open-top parade but in their present predicament Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas will take anything going. Mindful perhaps that Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked after a goalless draw at home to Hull three years ago this month, the suffering manager combined delight and relief at a first victory in six games.

It put his team three points ahead of Arsenal and seven behind third-placed Tottenham before the north London pair meet today. Clearly, only two of the capital's three principal clubs can make the Champions' League places, but Chelsea still have both of the others to play.

In front of Roman Abramovich, who had demanded to know the thinking behind team selection for the 3-1 defeat by Napoli in midweek, Villas-Boas restored Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Michael Essien, and was rewarded by Lampard in particular. Whatever his motivation – bloody-mindedness or simply professional pride – Lampard took hold of the captain's armband and then the game, making one goal before scoring his 150th in League football.

When Bolton, who have never recovered from a dreadful finish to last season, concede the first goal, they lose. That did not mean that Chelsea could relax after David Luiz seized the lead soon after half-time, but they could once Didier Drogba headed in Lampard's corner. By the end the home crowd, who had been initially supportive, then had their senses dulled in a soporific first half, were quite perky again.

So was their manager, who said: "The pressure has been on the team to get a result and the most important thing for us is to build from this day onwards. It's an important day because it can be the start to get our form right." He insisted that bringing back the senior players so soon after conveying his thoughts on the matter to the owner was "a coincidence" and dismissed the other conspiracy theory that he would soon be taking over from a former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri at Internazionale by saying: "There isn't a vacancy there and neither am I looking for a job. I'm looking forward to next year's project here."

Bolton must now get through a visit to Manchester City on Saturday, then pick up points against three other teams in the bottom five, Queens Park Rangers, Blackburn and Wolves. Their manager, Owen Coyle, was understandably annoyed with the manner of conceding the goals, all of which illustrated the sort of poor defending that has undermined the team for much of the season. "Knowing they'd be a bit down in confidence, we worked hard, but goals change games," Coyle said.

The visitors' defence was rent asunder twice in the opening few minutes, only for Daniel Sturridge to shoot straight at the goalkeeper, Adam Bogdan, and Lampard to be forced wide and earn only a corner. For the rest of the first half, however, Bolton did much better – or Chelsea did worse – and chances were strictly limited. The crucial period was therefore the first quarter of an hour after the interval. In the 48th minute, Bolton surrendered possession to David Luiz, who fed Drogba and was well placed to receive the rebound from his cross, curling a drive just inside the far post.

Coyle's anger at the second goal was directed at the marking that allowed Drogba a free header from Lampard's corner to nod in his 100th goal for the club. In between times, David Luiz sent a header against a post and Drogba's shot clipped the crossbar. There was no way back for Bolton, who had nothing to offer other than an occasional speedy run by the Arsenal loanee Ryo Miyaichi and they conceded again when Lampard was allowed to steal in unmarked to the far post and volley in Juan Mata's cross with the side of his foot.

When Drogba limped off, FernandoTorres must surely have thought his time had come to exploit such a generous defence and claim a first goal in 23 appearances for club and country (Spain have just dropped him for the first time). Not everything is yet rosy in the Chelsea garden, however. His only shot flew high over the bar and at the final whistle he was straight down the tunnel without a glance at the crowd, body language indicating a total lack of confidence. Lampard, meanwhile, milked the applause from all four sides of the ground in a personal lap of honour. He deserved it.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole; Ramires (Mikel, 88), Essien, Lampard; Sturridge (Kalou, 80), Drogba (Torres, 76), Mata.

Bolton (4-4-1-1): Bogdan; Steinsson, Wheater, Ream, Ricketts; Tuncay (Eagles, 75), Muamba, Reo-Coker, Miyaichi; Pratley; Ngog (Sordell, 65).

Referee Michael Oliver.

Man of the match Lampard (Chelsea).

Match rating 6/10.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker