Chelsea Cruise At Bolton (Sky Sports)
Bolton Wanderers 0 Chelsea 2
Last season Chelsea claimed the Premiership title with a 2-0 win over Bolton at The Reebok, this term it looks to be very much a case of deja vu after Jose Mourinho's side edged nine points clear of Manchester United courtesy of a replica victory on Saturday.
An often lacklustre affair saw Bolton, who had Tal Ben Haim dismissed in the final stages, slip to a fifth successive defeat as goals either side of half time from John Terry and Frank Lampard all but secured back-to-back titles.
Following Manchester United's far from Good Friday, Chelsea seemed content to play a waiting game on their trip north, with the dynamism shown against West Ham last week conspicuous only by continued absence.
Bolton too have endured somewhat of an end of season slump but in truth it was Sam Allardyce's side that would have just about won on points a first 45 minutes that will not live long in the memory; were it not for Terry's intervention.
It was a full 15 minutes in before a first semblance of a chance was recorded as Lampard's free kick from the edge of the area was bent a yard wide. Hernan Crespo then somehow failed to connect with Geremi's right wing delivery before Ricardo Vaz Te had Bolton's best moment.
After a neat exchange with Jared Borgetti on the edge of Chelsea's area, the young striker bore down on Petr Cech but although his stubbed effort in to the floor beat Chelsea's goalkeeper, the far post came to the champions' rescue.
As misplaced passes became the most regular feature of a tepid encounter, chances remained very much at a premium, with Kevin Nolan having arguably the best when he controlled exquisitely before blazing wide from the edge of the area.
With three minutes remaining until the break referee Phil Dowd had Mourinho dancing down the touchline when he failed to administer a yellow card to Ivan Campo for a crude trip on Lampard.
He had though barely sat back down when his his scowl turned to a smile, as Lampard swung in a set piece from left to right, Didier Drogba and Terry competed with each other at the far post and the latter reeled off claiming his head got the final touch.
Chelsea came out after the interval eager to cement their advantage and played with a crispness in their play, but it was Bolton that caused the first consternation of the half when substitute Henrik Pedersen spun Terry in Chelsea's box but cannoned his shot over.
With Lampard beginning to patrol a midfield that had previously seen its members complain of neck ache as they tried to spy the ball overhead, the away side always look the more likely to find a second.
When a goal did duly arrive it was entirely Lampard's making. After exchanging passes with Michael Essien, the England man clipped a clever ball down Bolton's right to find Crespo in space, the Argentine hit-man waited until Lampard had burst into the box and after taking the ball in his stride, the finish was planted past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Thereafter and Bolton had little in response as Crespo's replacement Arjen Robben had the only noticeable effort when Jaaskelainen grabbed at the feet of the Dutchman, with the home side's misery compounded in injury time when Ben Haim saw red for a second yellow card after an idiotic trip on Essien.
Chelsea can retain their title on Monday if they better Manchester's United result but whatever happens over the Easter bank holiday, the championship is surely now heading to Stamford Bridge.
|Bolton Wanderers||Team Name||Chelsea|
|1||Shots on Target||2|
|2||Shots off Target||2|
Jaaskelainen, Ben Haim, NGotty, Campo, Faye,
Gardner, Nolan, Speed (Nakata 70), Borgetti (Pedersen 45), Davies, Vaz Te (Giannakopoulos
Subs Not Used Walker, Okocha
Booked Gardner, Davies, Ben Haim
Sent Off Ben Haim
Cech, Del Horno, Gallas, Terry, J. Cole
(Ferreira 82), Essien, Geremi, Lampard, Makelele, Crespo (Robben 60), Drogba (Huth
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Wright-Phillips
Booked Makelele, Drogba, Huth
Goals Terry 44, Lampard 59