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
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
peopleIggy Azalea was left red faced but apparently unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
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

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition