It’s Premier League match time in match 20, when Chelsea hosts Bolton, at Stamford Bridge, on Wednesday, December 29.
Chelsea’s last home game was in match week 16, when they played out a 1-1 draw against Everton. Ancelotti’s squad took the lead off a Dragba penalty, minutes before the interval. But they hadn’t reckoned with a resilient Everton who fought back gamely in the second half, to level the score through a Beckford strike on 86 minutes, to steal a point from the game.
Essien and Mikel were off-colour and Blues’ resultant loss of control in midfield gave Everton the opportunity that they grabbed with both hands. In good news for Chelsea, their back line looked more solid than it had been for weeks, with John Terry reporting back for duty. With Lampard also back, Chelsea could be at full strength against Bolton. Chelsea are clearly not able to trust their young bench, and that was evident against the Toffees who have stayed unbeaten against the Stamford Bridge squad for four games in a row. That said, Ancelotti’s men will welcome the return of Drogba to goal scoring ways.
Bolton’s last away match against Sunderland in match week 18 ended in a 1-0 loss for the Trotters. The score-line does not tell the entire story and if Bolton had converted all their opportunities, they should have taken three points from the game. Where the Wanderers failed was in defence with Sunderland’s three-pronged attack comprising Bent Wellbeck and Gyan causing confusion as to their intent, though to Bolton’s comfort, they often nullified each other.
But Bolton did appear the more well-rounded side and as so often happens, the better side lost when Wellbeck scored the solitary goal of the game, for the Black Cats.
Head to head, Chelsea have established a 13-1 advantage against Bolton in the last 20 meetings between the sides. the last time the sides met was at Stamford Bridge, and the hosts won 1-0 on the occasion.
Currently in fourth place on the table after having spent the best part of the the season as top dog, Chelsea have enjoyed a good home record this season, with six wins in eight gams hosted with a draw and a loss each in the remaining matches. In contrast, Bolton in a respectable seventh place, have lost three games of nine on the road, while winning two and drawing four.
With Lampard’s return, Chelsea will have a point to prove, and you can expect the Stamford Bridge side to throw the kitchen sink at Bolton in an attempt to take three points from the game on Wednesday.
Chelsea’s starting eleven against Tottenham in match week 17 had the following players: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Essien, Kalou, Anelka and Malouda. Drogba, Sturridge and Lampard played in the game as substitutes.
Bolton had the following men in their starting eleven in the match against Sunderland in match week 18: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Taylor, Holden, Muamba, Petrov, Elmander and Davies.