Premier League – Anelka and Deco put Chelsea back on track

Chelsea bounced back from their home loss to Arsenal with a 2-0 victory against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.

FOOTBALL 2008-2009 Premier League Chelsea Bolton-Chelsea Anelka - 0

First-half goals from Nicolas Anelka and Deco earned Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team the spoils, and ensured the Blues remain just a point behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

On eight minutes, Jose Bosingwa cut inside from the right and checked before clipping a deft ball into the path of Anelka. The Frenchman threw himself full length and headed past Jussi Jaaskelainen to give the visitors the lead.

It was the Anelka’s 13th League goal of the season and arguably among his best, requiring a brave leap and a deft glancing finish against his former club.

Soon after, Chelsea doubled their lead in spectacular fashion. Gavin McCann conceded possession and after Salomon Kalou‘s shot was blocked by Jaaskelainen, Michael Ballack headed into the path of Deco and the Portuguese midfielder shot first-time over his shoulder and into the bottom corner.

Deco’s effort was instinctive and brilliant, illustrating sublime technique to find the target with a flying volley from just inside the box.

Bolton had the first sight of goal, when Kevin Davies met McCann’s inswinging corner and thumped a powerful header just over the bar.

And prior to Deco’s wonderful effort, they were almost gifted an equaliser when Petr Cech fluffed a routine clearance into the path of Kevin Nolan. The midfielder shot first-time, but his effort lacked power and Cech had time to get across and gather.

The remainder of the opening period saw Chelsea grow increasingly dominant and Bolton were reduced to long-range efforts.

Bolton manager Gary Megson was forced to act and he introduced Ricardo Gardner for the second half hoping the midfielder go galvanise his troops.

Megson’s decision had the desired effect. Bolton came out of the blocks with renewed belief and Gardner’s busy work signalled the first real spell of pressure for the home side. But genuine openings were not forthcoming.

As Bolton pushed forward space began to appear at the back and on 56 minutes Deco found himself clean through after a flick-on from Kalou. Jaaskelainen rushed out to narrow the angle, and for once Deco showed a lack of composure to stub his chipped effort wide.

Minutes later Frank Lampard wasted an even better chance, shooting straight at the Bolton goalkeeper from just six yards out.

But Bolton escaped, and on the hour mark had claims for a penalty turned down after John Terry appeared to block Johan Elmander‘s effort with his upper arm. Referee Howard Webb said no, but replays showed Bolton had cause for disappointment.

The home side were growing in confidence. On 70 minutes Davies flicked on a long throw from the right and Gary Cahill‘s diving header drew a fine reaction save from Cech. McCann reacted first to the loose ball, but Cech once again came to Chelsea’s resuce to deny the midfielder’s acrobatic effort.

For all Bolton’s second-half pressure, Megson’s team paid the price for failing to create clear-cut chances and Chelsea were able to sit back on their two-goal cushion and coast to all three points.

Will Tidey / Eurosport