x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Chelsea's road to glory

Chelsea sent an ominous warning to their title rivals by setting a new Premier League record after scoring an 11th straight away victory at resurgent Bolton.

Deco scores his spectacular scissor kick.
Deco scores his spectacular scissor kick.

BOLTON // Chelsea sent an ominous warning to their title rivals by setting a new Premier League record after scoring an 11th straight away victory at resurgent Bolton. The Blues eclipsed Tottenham's long-standing unbeaten run on the road which was set back in 1960. But, of more importance to manager Luiz Felipe Scolari were the three points after his side had gone three games without a win in all competitions, including last weekend's home defeat against Arsenal.

That represents something of a crisis at Stamford Bridge but there was little danger of the situation worsening after Bolton old boy Nicolas Anelka and Deco struck inside the opening 21minutes. Anelka, playing for the first time against his former club since his £15million (Dh80.5m) move to Stamford Bridge in January, handed his new employers the perfect start on nine minutes when the striker met Jose Bosingwa's inviting cross with a diving header for his 15th goal of an increasingly prolific season.

And the Londoners all but guaranteed their place in the history books 12 minutes later in the most spectacular of fashion. Salomon Kalou saw his shot well saved by Jussi Jaskelainen but, when Michael Ballack headed the rebound into the Portuguese midfielder's direction, he met it with a superb scissor kick to volley the visitors further in front. Bolton were fortunate not to find themselves further behind moments later when Anelka could only find the side-netting after Jaaskelainen's weak punch dropped to the Frenchman six yards out. .

It might have all been different had Kevin Davies accepted an early chance but, showing none of Anelka's composure in front of goal, he headed Gavin McCann's seventh-minute corner wastefully over. Deco and Lampard wasted glorious opportunities to increase Chelsea's lead at the start of the second half. Deco, in particular, should have wrapped up the points when he was sent clean through by Kalou but the former Barcelona midfielder fluffed his chance by chipping wide.

At the other end of the pitch, Bolton players were screaming for a penalty when John Terry appeared to handle Johan Elmander's volley but referee Howard Webb waved away the protests on the hour mark. sports@thenational.ae