Samuel's red card opens door for Chelsea rout

Bolton Wanderers 0 Chelsea 4

Before a week in which Chelsea could secure qualification to the next stage of the Champions' League and face a crucial encounter with Manchester United, it is fair to say Carlo Ancelotti would have preferred to avoid such a challenging fixture. The manner in which Chelsea handled one of the toughest Premier League trips on the calendar, however, should ensure more anxiety for their opponents than their coach in the coming days.

Following the 4-0 Carling Cup victory over the same opponents in midweek, Ancelotti's biggest problem was to prevent complacency against a committed Bolton side used to upsetting the big four on home territory. Then again, after offering his grandmother's remedy of red wine and hot milk as a cure for a potential swine flu outbreak at the club, he is unlikely to be unsettled by anything a football match presents.

Indeed, Chelsea mirrored the demeanour of their coach from the moment Jlloyd Samuel was sent off on the stroke of half-time for tripping Didier Drogba, allowing Frank Lampard to put Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot. Ancelotti was composed and relaxed in the technical area, and his team were similarly in control on the pitch despite Bolton's best efforts to break up their smooth rhythm.

They only failed to secure a more emphatic victory than they achieved in midweek because of the acrobatics of Bolton's goalkeeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen, who deserved better from his performance than to concede second-half goals from Deco, an own goal from Zat Knight, and Drogba.

"Bolton did their best to make things difficult for us, but at the moment we're playing very well," said Ance-lotti, who could afford to leave Joe Cole and Florent Malouda unused on the bench to preserve their energies for challenges ahead against Atletico Madrid and Manchester United. "This was a good win for us because it was a difficult and tough game."

Until Samuel's desperate challenge on Drogba as he ran through on to Nicolas Anelka's precise through-ball, Bolton had more than matched Chelsea's energy, and Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander had chances to continue the League leaders' disappointing form away from Stamford Bridge following defeats at Wigan and Aston Villa. But Chelsea's first-half uncertainty made way for a confident performance after the interval with Deco shifted out to the left, allowing Anelka to run as a free spirit and deliver the type of performance which, according to Bolton's manager, Gary Megson, made him look "cheap at £15 million," having sold him for that figure two seasons ago.

"I think they made nine changes and made the 11 even stronger," said Megson. "There needs to be a realisation that if you're going to spend £150m on your starting 11, never mind the squad, you're going to have a bit of an advantage. The squad is really strong and the team looks really motivated, with a determination to win everything in front of them."

Forced into damage-limitation mode after the interval, Bolton tried to restrict Chelsea's attacking diamond with 10 men but were ripe for counter-attacks, with Anelka feeding Deco on the left, who cut inside to add a second, while Knight scored an unfortunate own goal under pressure from Branislav Ivanovic. Drogba completed the rout after a one-touch move inside the box, which included an extravagant flick from Lampard.

"I know we've been beaten 4-0, but I thought we were terrific," said Megson. "The diamond that we struggled with on Wednesday, we didn't struggle with today. If we play like that against all the teams that haven't spent £200m then we'll get some decent results."

It is a theory which will be put to the test the next time Bolton play at the Reebok, against Blackburn in three weeks' time.

Attendance: 22,680

Referee: P Walton

Man of the match: Jaaskelainen

Match rating: 7/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments