Chelsea daily – Blues cruise into motion

Chelsea are back – or so sang their travelling support.

Certainly the scoreline and scorers suggested so, although the champions still have ample ground to make up and a title to retain for that statement to have any real resonance.

Thirteen unanswered goals in their last three outings also befit the claims that the Blues are back to their brimming best, but the credentials of their resurrection will need to be examined under sterner, and less generous conditions than delivered by a strangely inept Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium last night.

By the time Chris Foy blew for time and spared Bolton death by a thousand cuts, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were popping the ball around with the silk and bravado that made them such an ominous authority at the end of last and beginning of this season.

Spearheaded by Didier Drogba rolling back the months and dovetailed by the once again fleeting French duo of Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda, the Blues appear to have regained a menace and ruthlessness to their play which was so conspicuous by its absence during those barren winter months.

However, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the whole display was the methodology of the win, the hard yards before the saunter.

After weathering some early Wanderers pressure, Chelsea took the lead through the type of individually brilliant goal that wins games and points. The visitors had contributed relatively little to the match up until the eleventh minute when Drogba’s vicious 30 yard strike suddenly gave his side the lead.

So often a matter of formalities previously, Chelsea have on occasion lacked the presence and conviction to clinically kill games off in the manner they were once so accustomed.

Late equalisers conceded against Everton and Aston Villa cost points at home, and indeed the reverse fixture with Bolton at Stamford Bridge saw Chelsea retreat to the confines of their own box to nervily cling on to a 1-0 lead during a frantic finale.

It was a diagnosis with no sudden remedy, but judging by the way they went about the remaining 80 minutes at the Reebok, the wounds are healing fast.

After going behind, Owen Coyle’s troops briefly rallied but once Petr Cech smartly turned Matt Taylor’s header round the post, Chelsea clicked through the gears to record their most emphatic league win since September.

After Drogba and Anelka were denied, Malouda doubled the Londoners advantage allowing them to completely control proceedings throughout the second half, adding another two goals which could and should have been more.

In truth they were aided and abetted by some uncharacteristically brittle defending from their hosts, but the margin of the result was a testament to Chelsea and not a detriment to Bolton.

Suggestions Chelsea were in terminal decline or past their best were premature. Their slump was more to do with a waning of confidence, conviction and belief. The physical attributes of a player and of a team cannot decline and reappear in such a short space of time, the mental ones can.

But as Chelsea have already found to their detriment, as soon as it can come it can go. They may not be out of the woods, but the trees are certainly thinning.

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