One Step Closer

Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the English Premier League to four points with four games to play, by defeating a spirited Bolton Wanderers outfit 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

As expected, Michael Ballack and Salomon Kalou returned to the lineup, the latter starting up front with both Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba. It was Anelka’s goal that proved the difference just before half time.

A clash of heads between Kevin Davies and Yury Zhirkov resulted in length treatment for the Russian international, who re-emerged with a Terry Butcher style bandage to protect a head wound.

Salomon Kalou nearly gave Chelsea the lead after Drogba’s powerful free kick was parried by Jussi Jaaskelainen, but the Ivorian couldn’t react quickly enough to turn the ball home.

When Chelsea did take the lead, it was a lesson in fluid forward play and understanding. Drogba drifted out to the left, allowing Anelka space to pop up in the middle. Drogba’s perfectly weighted left footed cross was easily headed home by the perfectly positioned Anelka, for his first goal in 13 matches.

Jaaskelainen made a good save to deny Kalou at the start of the second half, before referee Lee Probert waived away a handball shout against John Terry. Jaaskelainen then made another good stop to deny a well struck Zhirkov effort.

Lampard struck the post and Ivan Klasnic, the Bolton substitute, missed a very presentable effort late on, as Chelsea hang on to record a vital, vital win in the title race. Four games to go, and the double is well and truly alive.