Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Saturday, 11 April
This afternoon’s game sees us take on Bolton at Stamford Bridge and a win is vital if we’re going to stay in touch with United and Liverpool at the top of the table. We go into this game off the back of our midweek battering of Liverpool and unbeaten in 7 at home whilst Bolton haven’t managed a win away in 7.
Not that Bolton will let them worry them because manager Gary Megson says “We’ve got to go there thinking we can beat them because on our day we can beat anybody. I watched Chelsea’s game at Liverpool on television and it was terrific, a really fantastic performance. Chelsea are a fantastic club and they’re flying right now. We’ve got to go down to Chelsea and make sure we put on a good show – just like we did last season.”
On the squad front for us, Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira remain out long-term and Jose Bosingwa could miss out again with his hamstring injury. Defensively, Hiddink needs to make a decision whether to play John Terry, who’ll miss our next Champions League game through suspension or play Ricardo Carvalho, who’s missed out through injury lately but will need to be fit for the Champions League tie.
For Bolton, Mark Davies and Joey O’Brien remain out with knee injuries. Megson otherwise has no fresh injury concerns.
Frank Lampard – definitely a key player for Chelsea this season, he seems to have grabbed plenty of games by the balls lately and continued to lead by example in our Champions League game midweek.
Kevin Davies – Bolton’s top scorer in the Premier League – only 3 goals shy of Nicolas Anelka – will be looking to put one past us at home again this season.
We’ve won five from our last six games in the league, with us only dropping points once since Hiddink’s arrival. At home, we’ve lost just twice in 97 games and despite our indifferent home form under Scolari, we’ve still managed 17 points from 21 available at home since the defeat to Arsenal in November. We still have the best defence in the Premier League and have lost just one game from 19 where we’ve scored first this season. Our current 64 points at this stage in the season is our worst return for 6 years. We’re 4 points off where we were this time last season and we go into this game 3rd in the table.
Bolton have won four of their last eight league games although they’ve managed just 2 points from the last 21 available away from home. Bolton have kept just one clean sheet in 19 top-flight games and a draw for them would total 100 in the Premier League. Mind you, they go into this game 11 points better off than they were this time last season and 12th in the Premier League.
HEAD TO HEAD
We’re unbeaten in ten games against Bolton in the league, with seven wins and three draws although our only win in five home games against them was a 5-1 back in October 2005. Bolton’s only win in 16 Premier League games against us was back in 2003 and we’re looking to do the double over them for the second time in the Premier League. Last season, Bolton frustrated us at Stamford Bridge with a 1-1 draw and the title inevitably went to United, whilst this season’s reverse saw us win 2-0 at the Reebok.
Home and Away
League (inc PL): Chelsea 40 wins, Bolton 34 wins, Draws 27
Prem: Chelsea 11 wins, Bolton 3 wins, Draws 5
At Chelsea Only
League (inc PL): Chelsea 25 wins, Bolton 12 wins, Draws 13
Prem: Chelsea 5 wins, Bolton 1 win, Draws 13
Chelsea scorer: Shevchenko 62
Bolton scorer: Davies 90
11 May 2008 – Ref: Chris Foy
THIS SEASON’S REVERSE
Chelsea scorers: Anelka 9, Deco 21
6 December 2008 – Ref: Howard Webb
Well Bolton might be battling to finish as high as they can but their away form has been pretty grim. We’ll be on a high after our midweek thumping of Liverpool and if we can keep our feet on the floor and our mind on the three points, I reckon as difficult a side as Bolton can be, we should get them.
CHELSEA (from): Cech, Hilario, Belletti, Alex, Ivanovic, Terry, Mancienne, Carvalho, A Cole, Lampard, Ballack, Deco, Mikel, Kalou, Essien, Malouda, Di Santo, Anelka, Quaresma, Stoch, Drogba
BOLTON (from): Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Shittu, Samuel, Taylor, Muamba, McCann, Gardner, Elmander, Basham, K Davies, Al Habsi, Hunt, Smolarek, Puygrenier, Cohen, A O’Brien
Peter Walton (Northamptonshire)