Bolton 1-5 Chelsea - Lampard hat-trick condemns Wanderers to heavy defeat
Reebok Stadium, Bolton
Boyata 46 - Sturridge 1, 25, Lampard 15, 27, 59
Things do not look so good at the Reebok Stadium at the moment. Rooted firmly to the bottom of the table with six defeats from their first seven games Bolton Wanderers are in some trouble. Their opening-day defeat of Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road seems a long, long time ago now. Many will be moved to point out that their opening seven fixtures have included matches against last season’s top four and Liverpool - a tough start in anyone’s book.
While that is true, more significantly they have also lost at home to newly-promoted Norwich City and look closely and you will see the seeds had been sown at the back end of last season when Owen Coyle watched his team lose their last five games (falling from eighth to 14th in the process).
That run of defeats was not against the so-called big sides either, but included reverses to relegated Blackpool, a Blackburn Rovers side which had not won in their previous 10 and a Sunderland side which had lost nine of their last 11.
If the alarm bells were not already ringing then they certainly should be now because as much as the result it was the manner of the defeat that should be a cause for concern.
Bolton are yet to score a point at home in the Premier League this season, a sorry statistic, and Coyle was moved to make five changes from the team which lost 3-0 to Arsenal last weekend. It made little difference. The home side were behind after just 92 seconds and, as their heads collectively fell, they never really looked like they would find a way back into the match.
To rub salt into Bolton’s wounds, that first goal was scored by Daniel Sturridge, who spent six months on loan at the Reebok last season. His muted celebration was a clear acknowledgement of the debt he feels he owes Bolton and Coyle for improving his game in that spell.
Having said that it was served up on a plate for Sturridge; he had a free header six yards out after he lost his marker Grétar Steinsson. Sturridge then turned provider for Frank Lampard on 15 minutes, crossing for the England man to sweep the ball home.
Fears the game could turn into a rout were confirmed 10 minutes later. Sturridge cut in from the right and had a speculative shot at goal which bounced over Adam Bogdan’s outstretched arm. Two minutes later the keeper was at fault again, flapping at David Luiz’s shot straight into the path of Lampard who slotted home easily.
Bolton came out for the second half with slightly more impetus and got an early goal as Dedryk Boyata headed home from a Martin Petrov free kick, but the chances of a comeback were always fanciful. Man of the match Lampard sealed his hat-trick 12 minutes later to make it 5-1. And that, as they say, was that.
With 10 minutes remaining Branislav Ivanovic cleared off the line from Kevin Davies. Replays showed the goal should have been given, but in truth it didn’t matter. The game, along with Bolton’s confidence, had long since been lost.
Bolton (4-4-2): Bogdan; Steinsson, Boyata, Cahill, Robinson; Gardner (Eagles 74), Pratley, Reo-Coker, Petrov; Ngog (Tuncay 74), K Davies.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa (Ivanovic 53), Terry, Luiz, Cole; Ramires (Obi Mikel 55), Lampard, Meireles; Sturridge, Drogba, Mata (Anelka 72).
Did you know… Bolton haven’t beaten Chelsea in a home league game in 14 years when Dean Holdsworth scored the winner.