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
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering