Premier League Preview: Chelsea - Bolton Wanderers

Blues can extend top spot lead...
Tuesday April 13, 2010. Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Stamford Bridge, London

When Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge in March and knocked his former charges out of the Champions League many wrote off Chelsea's chances of salvaging anything from this season.

A 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers soon after seemed to confirm those suspicions, but since then Carlo Ancelotti's side have rocketed to the top of the league and looked invincible in the process.

An impressive 17 goals in four games, including a 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, have placed the Blues firmly in the driving seat for Premier League glory.

That was further boosted with United's 0-0 draw at Blackburn - perhaps making Chelsea's draw at Ewood Park seem not such a bad result - meaning the Blues can go four points clear with a win over Bolton on Tuesday.

Chelsea have only lost once at home all season and have hit a staggering 52 goals at Stamford Bridge, which is more than Bolton have managed anywhere in the league (36).

Bolton should avoid relegation, giving them little to play for, but Chelsea's incentive of a Premier League title, which would make up for the disappointment of crashing out of the Champions League, will give them plenty to play for.

Carlo Ancelotti told reporters he didn't agree with Sir Alex Ferguson after the United manager said this match would be "easy" for Chelsea, but secretly he must be thinking it will be.



Mar 21: Blackburn 1-1 Chelsea (Premier League)
Mar 24: Portsmouth 0-5 Chelsea (Premier League)
Mar 27: Chelsea 7-1 Aston Villa (Premier League) 
Apr 3: Man Utd 1-2 Chelsea (Premier League)
Apr 10: Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea (FA Cup)

Mar 9: Sunderland 4-0 Bolton (Premier League)
Mar 13: Bolton 4-0 Wigan (Premier League)
Mar 20: Everton 2-0 Bolton (Premier League)
Mar 27: Bolton 0-4 Man Utd (Premier League)
Apr 3: Bolton 0-1 Aston Villa (Premier League)



Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he will rest Deco and Joe Cole for the visit of Bolton, replacing them with Michael Ballack and Salomon Kalou.

Right-back Branislav Ivanovic is expected to return to the squad after recovering from his injured knee. However, Michael Essien (knee); Ashley Cole (ankle); Ricardo Carvalho (ankle) and Jose Bosingwa (knee) are all sidelined

Last starting XI (v Aston Villa): Cech, Ferreira, Terry, Alex, Malouda, Deco, Zhirkov, Lampard, Joe Cole, Mikel, Drogba.

Midfielders Mark Davies and Ricardo Gardner both return for the trip to Stamford Bridge. Davies missed Wanderers’ last match - the 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa - on April 3 with injury while Gardner has not played since the 4-0 reverse at Sunderland just over a month ago.

Manager Owen Coyle is still without long-term injury victims Stuart Holden, Chris Basham, Gavin McCann, Sean Davis and Joey O’Brien.

Last starting XI (v Aston Villa): Jaaskelainen, Knight, Cahill, Robinson, Ricketts, Cohen, Muamba, Wilshere, Lee, Kevin Davies, Elmander.



French winger Florent Malouda has been in blistering run of form lately, with seven goals in as many games. Bolton will need to shackle the left-winger if they are to stem Chelsea's flow.

With most of the action likely to be in the Bolton box, Jussi Jaaskelainen will have his work cut out between the Trotters sticks. The Finnish stopper has a history of match-winning performances, and another would be great for Owen Coyle's men.

Bolton's away form has been poor, with only one win in the last 13 games outside of the Reebok Stadium, and with Chelsea's confidence high, especially at home, the odds are firmly stacked in The Blues' favour. Expect a heavily home win.

Chelsea 4 Bolton 0

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