Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Chelsea 3 Bolton 0

Frank Lampard is either past it, marginalised or on his way out of Stamford Bridge, if you believe the rumours coming out of a troubled camp, but the England midfielder showed he is still central to any success Chelsea aspire to.

Lampard scored one goal and set up one for Didier Drogba, another of the old guard, as Chelsea eventually overcame struggling Bolton to move back into the top four of the Premier League.

And despite suggestions of a rift between Villas-Boas and some of his senior players after five games without victory, the Portuguese coach still needs them, especially Lampard, who is the club’s joint top-scorer with 21 goals this season.

It was a strange game, with the first-half showing why Chelsea are out of the running for major honours, and the second showing why they should not be.

They started brightly, with Daniel Sturridge and Lampard setting each other up for early chances. Sturridge, who had done so much for Bolton when he was on loan at the club a year ago, shot straight at Adam Bogdan, giving the goalkeeper an easy save.

The Hungarian had a bigger scare when Sturridge put Lampard through on goal, but the Chelsea captain went too far wide and allowed Bogdan to save. He made a more spectacular stop on the half-hour mark, diving to tip the ball away after Sturridge cut in from the right and curled a shot towards the far corner.

But there was precious little else in a sterile first-half, with Bolton’s first real effort coming in the 44th minute when Ryo Myaichi exhanged passes with Tuncay but shot over the bar from a tight angle.

Whatever Villas Boas said at half-time clearly made a difference, as Chelsea took the lead three minutes after the restart. Luiz meandered upfield to break up play, and when a poor clearance from David Wheater fell at his feet, the big Brazilian stepped inside the Bolton man and planted a firm shot into the far corner of goal.

It brought a smile from Roman Abramovich, who had looked glum throughout the first half. The goal also sparked a flurry of activity, with Didier Drogba curling a shot onto the top of the crossbar, while at the opposite end, both Nigel Reo-Coker and Tuncay shot – and missed – from long range.

Luiz had a header cleared off the line by Myaichi, but Drogba made no mistake in the 61st minute when he leapt high to thump his header past Bogdan from Lampard’s corner.

It was a goal from Chelsea’s old guard, and seemed to bring their confidence flooding back. Michael Essien had a long shot saved from a clever Lampard corner, Juan Mata tried a cheeky chip over Bogdan and Villas-Boas felt sure enough of victory to send on Fernando Torres for a limping Drogba.

Lampard made it 3-0 in the 79th minute, arriving unmarked at the far post to sidefoot home Mata’s deep cross, and his goal celebrations, with those supporters who clearly love him, showed that the England midfielder has no intention of giving up his place easily.

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