An uncharacteristic feeling overwhelmed many Chelsea fans before the start of the game – doubt. Would the fortress of Stamford Bridge under the Roman Era once again be breached. January 14th was the last time ‘The Blues’ had registered a win in any competition.
The sun was shining and it seemed to reflect in the voices of the Chelsea fans in attendance as the line up announced showed the return of crowd favourites; Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and the captain for the game, Frank Lampard. One slight disappointment was the reception the majority of the bench received as their names were announced, with the exception of Bertrand and Torres, the names of other players were met with half hearted applauses and cheers.
Kick off – An exciting opening to the game saw the home side create numerous opportunities, the majority of which finding keeper Adam Bogdan with ease, yet the sight of shots registering as on target was a promising sight to the fans inside Stamford Bridge. The majority of the first half passed by without anymore real incidents worth noting. The Bolton Wanderers kit arguably the only aspect of the game more tardy than the football on display. The tempo of the play reminiscent of recent weeks, slow and sloppy. The most frustrating aspect being the poor delivery in the final third, whether it be a cross or a corner seemingly found the first Bolton man. One positive that could be taken as the ref brought the first half to a close was the fact that the defence looked solid on the back of its poor performance midweek and had not conceded, granted the opposition strike force was not to the same calibre. The biggest cheer prior to the second half was the applause aimed at half-time guest Jesper Gronkjaer.
The second half began much like the first had, a quicker tempo and greater urgency shown from the players in blue. Three minutes into the second half, it was David Luiz who broke up the Bolton attack on the halfway line and carried on his run into the box, before plucking the ball out of the air via a deflection and curling the ball into the far corner with a finish that any player on the pitch would be proud of. The team maintained the positivity of the opening sequence and continued piling on the pressure. David Luiz almost doubled both his and the side’s tally after the first corner of any meaningful quality was whipped in but his header was cleared off the line and on to the post. Didier Drogba then did eventually make it 2-0 after another great corner from Frank Lampard was glanced home by the Ivorian. Michael Essien came closing to adding a third after another Frank Lampard corner found the midfielder on the edge of the box, whose instant control and trademark pile driver effort was well saved by Bogdan. Finally on the 79th minute, Frank Lampard put the game beyond doubt as he tapped in a beautiful Juan Mata cross at the far post. Now, there are three things certain in life it seems – Death, Taxes and a Frank Lampard goal against Bolton. The goal was his 150th in the Premiership and meant he became the first player in Premiership history to score 10 goals in 9 consecutive seasons.
What did we learn?
David Luiz is contrary to belief of the media, an incredible centre back. The swashbuckling Brazilian was the catalyst for many Chelsea attacks and the man responsible for breaking up a number of Bolton moves and continued his great form.
Frank Lampard and the rest of the so called ‘Old Guard’ still have plenty to offer. The stand in skipper was instrumental today scoring a goal and assisting another. ‘The Bison’ Michael Essien appears to be the Michael Essien of old, dynamic and powerful. The midfielder bossed the middle of the park and showed why there are very few players better at what he does. Finally, Didier Drogba for the 80mins he found himself on the pitch was a solid target man and troubled the Bolton defence.
Gary Cahill, Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge also had impressive outings in a good team display, especially the second half.
My presence at the ground has been greeted with the clubs last two wins. Make what you will of it, but I think there is more than just coincidence in that…
Last but not least, hopefully the momentum can be continued through to the end of the season.