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.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
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

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style