Bolton 0 // Chelsea 4
BOLTON, ENGLAND // Chelsea flexed their attacking muscles against Bolton and narrowed the gap on leaders Manchester United to seven points with an emphatic 4-0 victory at the Reebok Stadium.
Didier Drogba made the breakthrough in the 10th minute when his powerful swerving shot flew over goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the net.
Florent Malouda added a second before the break and further goals came in the second-half from Nicolas Anelka and Ramires, his first for the London club.
It was the hosts who threatened first when a miscued clearance from John Terry, who had shrugged off a back problem, landed at the feet of Stuart Holden in the second minute. However, the American failed to test goalkeeper Petr Cech from a good position.
The home side kept up the momentum and Kevin Davies headed into the arms of the goalkeeper following a flick-on from Johan Elmander.
Chelsea, however, opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a magnificent effort from Drogba. Malouda won the ball from Gretar Steinsson and released Drogba 35 metres out. He caught the ball sweetly and thumped a swerving shot past Jussi Jaaskelainen and into the net to gasps around the ground.
Play switched back down the other end and a minute later Cech kept his side on level terms, getting a great touch to turn a Matt Taylor header around the post following a cross from Martin Petrov.
Chelsea then extended their lead in the 41st minute with defender Gary Cahill cursing his luck. He managed to block Malouda’s cross but it rebounded to the Frenchman who scored at the second attempt, his shot beating Jaaskelainen at the goalkeeper’s near post. That strike took him equal with Drogba on 10 goals.
And Bolton suffered another blow in the 56th minute when Chelsea went 3-0 ahead. Michael Essien delivered a cross from the right and Zat Knight seemed to be distracted by Drogba. The ball broke to Anelka, who swept it home for his 13th goal of the season.
Ramires made it 4-0 in the 74th minute with his first goal for the club after arriving from Benfica in the summer. Essien was again instrumental in the build-up, finding Anelka in the area. When his shot was blocked, the Brazil midfielder tapped in the rebound.