Chelsea v Bolton, Premier League, April 13, 2010
“We’ve got our eyes on the double now. We are back at the top of the Premier League with five games to go and we are in the FA Cup final now so that’s what our sights are on. We know we’ve got some tough games coming up but as long as we keep winning and working hard for each other it is possible. We’ve got some tough games coming up in the league. We’ve got Bolton in the week, which will be tough. Looking at the fixtures, they all seem really difficult, but as long as we keep winning and working hard for each other, then the double is possible.” â€“ John Terry.
What a weekend it was for Chelsea. A fairly average display against Aston Villa in the semi-final of the FA Cup saw them progress to their second successive Wembley final. Where they will now face already relegated Portsmouth and a side they beat 5-0 on their home turf just a few weeks ago.
The icing on the cake came on Sunday when Manchester United could only draw at Blackburn leaving Carlo Ancelottiâ€™s side with the opportunity to go four points clear with a home victory over Bolton. The double is very much on and it marks an incredible turnaround for the Italian just weeks after he was humbled at Stamford Bridge by Jose Mourinho.
With Arsenal heading for a tough north London derby against Tottenham on Wednesday and then Chelsea having to travel to the same opponents on Saturday, the Trotters have to be dispatched for the Blues to put some daylight between them and the chasing pack. A win at home to Owen Coyleâ€™s side, puts the Blues four points clear of United and six in front of the Gunners who have a game in hand.
Chelsea have shown incredible character and passion to get over the double blow of losing to Inter Milan and then drawing at Blackburn in mid-March to surge back into the title race. The Blues have now scored 17 goals in their last four games, including the most crucial win of the season at Old Trafford.
During this purple patch, Florent Malouda has been in irrepressible form, scoring five and looking like a constant threat whilst Frank Lampard has scored six in the last four matches.
Throw in the fact that Didier Drogba has claimed two in two and with games running out for their rivals and it looks like Chelsea are heavy favourites to lift the Premier League title. For this encounter with Bolton, midfielders Deco and Joe Cole are expected to be replaced by Michael Ballack and Salomon Kalou as Ancelotti keeps his squad fresh.
Bolton travel to Stamford Bridge looking to prove Sir Alex Ferguson wrong in his pre-match prediction that this would be an â€œeasy game.â€ The Trotters have lost their last three games and with a five point buffer between them and the relegation zone, they are unlikely to put up the stiffest of resistance.
In their favour though is that they have not played since April 3rd and should be well rested against a Chelsea side that had to battle for the full 90 minutes on the now infamous draining Wembley pitch. Coyle has midfielders Mark Davies and Ricardo Gardner available and at times under the former Burnley boss they have played some quick, enterprising attacking football.
In recent matches Bolton have started with Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander up front and Coyle will probably be adventurous again. Jack Wilshere will be eager to impress to help his parent club Arsenal in the title race and this will also be a good opportunity for Gary Cahill to prove his World Cup credentials.
With everything going Chelseaâ€™s way it would be a major surprise if Bolton stop them in their tracks. A home win with John Terry, vilified again for a horrible tackle on James Milner on Saturday, scoring to silence the critics, seems a likely scenario.
101gg predicts: Chelsea 2 â€“ Bolton 0 (5.42)