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

News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
newsBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
films
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game