Blues Battle Past Bolton  (Sky Sports)

Bolton Wanderers 0 Chelsea 1

Joe Cole and Ricardo Gardner challenge for the ballChelsea won their first Premier League game under Avram Grant to pile the pressure on struggling Bolton.

There was little to choose between the sides until the 41st minute, when Salomon Kalou took advantage of a defensive mix-up between Abdoulaye Meite and Jussi Jaaskelainen to net Chelsea's first league goal since August.

Bolton responded strongly after half-time and enjoyed plenty of possession, but there were few clear opportunities to grab an equaliser before Stelios Giannakopoulos headed against the crossbar in stoppage time.

Chelsea never found the fluency they were striving for and were left clinging on for a crucial victory that takes them into the top seven.

The Blues had welcomed back Frank Lampard following a thigh injury - and the England midfielder was influential, showing no signs of the problem.

Frank's back

But they found it hard going against a Bolton side who have registered just one league win this season.

Chelsea should have made a perfect start when Steve Sidwell turned quickly in the area and found Kalou, who had peeled away from his marker inside 60 seconds. But he sent a weak header into the arms of goalkeeper Jaaskelainen.

Chelsea had their chances early on. Florent Malouda thumped a shot over the bar after being released by Kalou. Then Jaaskelainen was equal to Malouda's effort.

Bolton, however, were making a decent fist of it. Kevin Davies and Ivan Campo tested Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Leading scorer Nicolas Anelka suddenly sprung into action in the 34th minute after a good ball from Danny Guthrie.

Anelka got away from Ricardo Carvalho, but Cech came out to narrow the angle and made a vital block.

Lampard then fired in a 20-yard free-kick in the 40th minute but failed to test Jaaskelainen after Joey O'Brien had tripped Ashley Cole.

Chelsea made the breakthrough in the 41st minute when Kalou kept his balance, after getting away from to find the corner with his shot.

Grant made a change at half-time - taking off Kalou, who had scored, and replacing him with Claudio Pizarro.

Bolton had a chance of drawing level a minute into the second half when El-Hadji Diouf got on the end of a good cross from Davies but sent his header into Cech's arms.

Joe Cole tried his luck from distance for Chelsea only to see his effort sail over the bar.

Missed chance

Andrei Shevchenko, with just one goal to his credit this season, was introduced by Chelsea - in the 73rd minute for Malouda.

Bolton almost secured a point in stoppage time, but substitute Stelios headed a cross from Anelka marginally over.

These are nonetheless worrying times for the home side and Lee, following the defection of Sam Allardyce to Newcastle.

For Grant, though, the future is looking much brighter.


Bolton Wanderers  Jaaskelainen, Meite, A. O’Brien, Campo, Gardner, Guthrie, McCann, J. O’Brien (Giannakopoulos 85), Anelka, Davies, Diouf (Wilhelmsson 66)
Subs Not Used Habsi, Cid, Braaten
Booked Campo, Diouf, McCann, Davies, Jaaskelainen


Chelsea Cech, Belletti, Carvalho, A. Cole, Terry, J. Cole (Ferreira 84), Lampard, Makelele, Malouda (Shevchenko 73), Sidwell, Kalou (Pizarro 46)
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Ben Haim
Booked  Carvalho
Goals Kalou 41

Attendance 19,995

Referee  A. Wiley

The Soccerlinks Hit List