Premier League Preview: Bolton Vs Chelsea

Premier League Preview: Bolton Vs Chelsea

It’s Premier League match time at the Reebok Stadium as Bolton get set to host Chelsea in a second leg encounter on January 24.

The first leg hosted by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was won 1-0 by the hosts on the back of Malouda’s strike on 61 minutes. It was a lacklustre game for the champions who appear to have forgotten how to win. They appeared clueless before the interval even as Gary Cahill was solid in the Bolton back-line and negated Drogba’s efforts to break through. Jaasklainen remained untested in the Bolton goal before the break.

Bolton dominated the first half but the Chelsea midfield appeared to come to life after the goal with Essien and Ramires impressive. Terry had another stand out performance as he denied clear scoring opportunities to Davies and Elmander. Ricketts and Petr Cech also squandered equalising opportunities for Bolton. Lampard’s return has been a boost for the struggling champions though the England midfielder has yet to get into his stride.

Bolton had reason to feel hard done by, after the linesman chose to ignore what the Trotters thought was an offside position by Drogba as the Ivorian striker collected the ball from Essien and transmitted it across the goal mouth for Malouda to stab it in. An equalising opportunity was lost when Holden’s shot hit Terry on the hand and no penalty was awarded by referee Lee Probert.

The win got Chelsea up to fourth place, but they clearly need to use the January window to make a couple of smart buys, if they want a serious tilt at retaining the title.

Head to head, Chelsea have dominated Bolton in the last 20 league games between the sides, recording a 14-1 lead, with 5 draws completing the tally.

In 11 home matches this season, Bolton have won 5, drawn 5 and lost just the one. Chelsea have won just 3 games on the road while drawing 3 and losing 5 of their 10 away games.

Bolton have won 3, drawn 2 and lost the remaining 5 of their last 10 league games, while Chelsea have had just 2 wins in their last 10, with 4 draws and 4 losses, in what must be their worst run in recent memory.

Bolton are coming off a 2-0 loss away at Stoke, while Chelsea beat Blackburn 2-0 at home in match week 23.

On current form, with the champions struggling to get their campaign back on track, and Bolton hot contenders for a top six spot, this could be a very tight game.

Bolton had the following men in their starting eleven against Stoke: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Davies, Muamba, Holden, Taylor, K Davies and Elmander. Petrov, Moreno and Cohen were used as substitutes.

Chelsea’s starting eleven against Blackburn comprised Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Ramires, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba and Malouda. Sturridge, McEachran and Kalou featured as substitutes.