Looking at the fixture list prior to the start of the season, a loss to Chelsea was always kind of expected. Who could see a team like Bolton Wanderers FC beating the Premier League champions away? Going on that alone, the loss should not have been that frustrating. Recent form says otherwise.
Chelsea have been nothing short of crap lately, going winless in the six matches that came before facing Bolton. The Wanderers, as we know, have been phenomenal and were on high spirits coming off a win we perhaps did not deserve against West Brom.
Possession, the one statistic that perfectly summarizes this match. At times, Chelsea was leading 67% to Bolton's paltry 33%. The match finished 58% to 42% with Chelsea holding the lion's share (pun intended). Jussi Jaaskelainen was forced to work, making six saves but the one that he couldn't save was the decider.
It was in the 61st minute that Chelsea broke through. Michael Essien played a beautiful pass to Didier Drogba that allowed him to make a run to goal and draw Jussi out. The forward played the ball square to Florent Malouda close to the center of the box who then put it firmly into the back of the net from close range. The winner.
Bolton probably should have been down 1-0 just four minutes into the second half. Drogba had broken through the defense and taken a hard shot on his right foot low and to the far post. If the grass had been slightly less wet or there was less bend on the ball, it was in. Fortunately, it banged off the post and to the feet of Zat Knight who cleared.
The Wanderer's best chance came from the brilliant American, Stu Holden. A cross from Johan Elmander made its way into the box and onto the head of Stuart who directed the bullet towards goal but Petr Cech was quick to make the fingertip save and push it over the bar.
Like the Sunderland match, this was always going to be a tough game. A loss doesn't hurt us terribly although it would have been nice to leapfrog Chelsea in the table into 5th place, even temporarily. Still, the Whites are in 6th place at the start of the new year. Impressive.
Bolton will be without Lee Chung-Yong for the month of January as he is with South Korea for the Asian Cup. The youngster, Rodrigo Moreno, filled in for him in the Chelsea match and I must say, was impressed. He was all over the field and if he can find a scoring touch soon, he could well be brilliant.