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Page last updated at 22:16 GMT, Monday, 24 January 2011

Bolton v Chelsea as it happened


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By Chris Whyatt

2215: Phew. If that Drogba shot for the opening goal had hit the bar, it would've snapped. That won the game for me in a split-second. Stunning. Anyway. That's it now on a night when champions Chelsea have made a statement that they will not relinquish their trophy without a fight. Join me again sometime soon. Sure the destination of the title will be debated long into the night. Ciao.

AJ-Carra on 606: "Okay, so now all the larger clubs are back on form, is there any point in watching the league anymore? Bring back the times when Blackpool and Bolton were challenging for Europe!"

Chelsea captain John Terry tells Sky Sports: "Away from home [putting in a performance like that], it's been a while. Didier's was probably the best goal of the season so far. Our passing was really sharp, even late on, and we've worked really hard in training all week on it. United should still be worrying about us, yes."

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Freddie in Bristol texts in: "All this talk about Chelsea winning the league if United slip up is totally rubbish. Let's not forget Arsenal are only 2 points behind at the moment. City have a far stronger chance than Chelsea!"

2159: Tops off despite the January freeze as they mingle with the beaming away fans, Chelsea's players look like Obama on election night. Sort of. That really could change the course of their season, though, in terms of that key ingredient being restored: yes, confidence. They're now seven points behind leaders Manchester United having played a game more. Enough of my inane observations. Let's hear from you...

Full time

2151: Lovely invention from Ashley Cole as he reverses with poise in the box before lifting an attempted loft [punchy seven iron, I'd say] just over Jaaskelainen's bar. They look like transformed men. Agree?

2148: Drogba and Anelka clicking once more is a frightening prospect. We'll see. Holden slumps off as Robbie Blake sprints on. Strong minds needed at the Reebok but sure Coyle will perk them up after this. A starting XI reshuffle could well be the order of their day.

2144: Anelka smuggles the ball past Robinson in the box before tumbling to the turf. If it was 0-0 that's surely a penalty. As goes, nobody's that fussed. Five minutes left.

2142: Holden tries to loft an opening for livewire Davies, who is a Lampard-esque runner from midfield. But Petr Cech proudly snatches the ball inches from his face near his penalty spot.

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Mohammed from London texts in: "The title will all depend on United's away form. If they manage to beat the mid-table teams then they'll win the title, because they're home form is ridiculously good."

And just as I type, Manchester United's assistant boss Mike Phelan slips out of the Reebok into the dark Northern night. No doubt Fergie's mobile phone will be ringing shortly.

Chelsea goal: Signs of the old Chelsea here as Essien rightly ignores my judgements by rampaging down the left touchline to cross for Anelka. His karate kick-shot is blocked but sometimes-maligned Ramires slips in behind him to shoot smoothly past Jaaskelainen for a classy first goal in English football. Finito as a contest at the Reebok.


2132: Midfielder Davies, who looks a real prospect for Bolton, pokes a visionary ball through for Elmander but the Swede's shot is smothered as the offside flag is raised (by a man). Nice attempt though.

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Anonymous on the text: "Hang on a minute. How did Harry's wallet get from Madrid to Bolton?"

Took me half a second, but very clever (see 2112). Like it.

2126: Not won in the league away form home since October have Chelsea, so this is relatively significant. Steve Clarke and Sammy Lee spying in the stands for Liverpool. Pan left and there's Sunderland boss Steve Bruce. Nice one-two between Elmander and Davies but the hosts cannot work a shooting chance.

2122: Blue quarter of West London now in fine voice at the Reebok Will that belief from their fans permeate into the players minds as they contemplate more difficult tasks ahead? Petr Cech launches a colossal throw over the half-way line. Schmeichel-like. Mark Davies trots on for Muamba as busy Tannoy man continues his messages for the crowd. Trying to reunite some lost friends now...

Chelsea goal: Awful long pass by Kevin Davies is pounced on as Chelsea work a four-on-four. Malouda releases Essien down the left and his cross spurts to Anelka, who slots in his 18th goal against former Premier League sides with aplomb. Game over?


2115: Essien is a mighty warrior but he needs a craftsman alongside him, one thinks as a nervous pass goes astray. Coyle furious with Mike Dean on the sidelines. Petrov skins Boswinga but his pull-back comes to nothing. Drogba is then upended as they outnumber Bolton. Pressure building...

2112: Someone's wallet has been found, we discover over the Tannoy! But is there anything left in it? Ruddy - as my boxing colleague Ben Dirs might mutter - sure there will be. Deeply-offended Drogba lifts up his shirt to shows us all his chest after a little tete-a-tete with Matt Taylor. Nah. Purses, not even handbags.

2108: Frank Lampard is a big miss, don't forget. Chelsea just can't find their fluidity of movement. Not all about the visitors though. Wonder how Owen Coyles half-time team talk went?

2104: Bolton get the second half under way. Many believe Chelsea are not out of this title race yet...

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Anonymous on the text: "Title chance is all about 'can Chelsea do the double over Man United?' It's the only way back... And then need favours! We believe...!"

As Ryan Giggs said after his masterclass on Saturday against Birmingham, there are some huge games still left this season...

AndySzpuk on Twitter " #BBCFootball Gary Cahill gets his first assist for his new club?"

London'sFinestClub on 606: "I've heard that a fully functional, original and fully-powered up Drogba was recently seen in the north-west and indeed Bolton fans can confirm the same. Hopefully his sighting will lead to sightings of the real Chelsea team - and not the imposters who have been sullying their good name."

Ben (a Chelsea fan at the Reebok) texts in: "This is very much like a title winning team's away performance at a tricky ground, isn't it?"

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Steve in Liverpool on the text: "You not putting Raul Meireles' strike vs Wolves in that top 5 goals?"

2053: Shortage of belly laughs for Bolton players and fans, but it was a FUNNY OLD HALF that one. Can't imagine Ancelotti nor his Chelsea foot soldiers will be convinced by their own performance, either, but there's an efficiency about finishing more than 50% of your chances. Simple question: can they still regain their title?

Half time

Chelsea goal: Took everyone, even Chelsea, a second or three before they realised they were two up. Strange. Ball dropped to Malouda at a wide angle near the touchline in the box. His initial effort cannons off Gary Cahill's legs inviting him to prod home a tidy low finish past the legs of a shocked Jaaskelainen.


2042: Got it up, but not down. About six yards over. Not pretty. Six minutes before half time. Bolton fans not happy with the way their team is being officiated. Hang on, is that in?...

2041: Drogba's continuing to look lively. Belligerently wins a foul right on the edge on the box...

2038: Natty footwork from Drogba as he dances into the box. But his low cross for Ashley Cole at the near post is dealt with well, the left-back's attempted flick coming to zero. Bolton have managed to name seven substitutes tonight, by the way. Not always the case recently.

2035: Top-notch tip round the post as Petr Cech deals with Matt Taylor's fine header following Petrov's first decent cross of the night. Bolton's best chance. Sleepy Anelka just got blocked out as he shaped to shoot seconds earlier. Another night and he have Rolls-Royced that right into the corner. You know what I mean, hopefully.

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Joe in North London on the text: "Is it me or did Drogba not really celebrate that goal? None of the Chelsea team look happy tonight... indicative of problems in the squad?"

2030: Sorry. Wasn't Kalou who shot over. He's good, but not many can do that while sitting on the subs bench. Slapped wrist for me as fingertips frazzle! Frustration in the stands too as Bolton struggle to get back into this. Getting scrappy. Is Drogba's corker getting into our top five goals of the season so far?

2027: My, that's much better from Matt Taylor - who really impressed this season, no? Great in-swinging delivery as he cuts in from the left has Boswinga scrambling to head behind for a corner.

2024: Genuinely no pun intended here, I'm serious. But Drogba's goal has taken the sting out of this match. Can still hear the thud sound as the ball left his boot. Wonder what speed that flew at? Bolton over-hitting crosses with Petrov the most guilty.

Anonymous on text: "Some blame Wilkins' departure or Ramires' addition for Chelsea's struggles. I blame the mosquito that bit Drogba. His confidence, or lack of it, is as infectious as his malaria."

Not any more, perhaps, is the great Ivorian suffering...

2020: Really took the breath away that. Chelsea's forwards have been very stop-start of late but that could shake them into life. Amazed that the TV camera attached to the net survived. Where was Bolton's central midfield though, one might ask? Anyway. Kalou tries a repeat but only row Z is in danger.

Chelsea goal: Stunning bolt from the blue as Didier Drogba - who else? - picks up a loose ball and, with no markers to pester him, simply lashes a rocket of a shot high past Jaaskelainen from 30 yards.


2014: Just want to illuminate Chelsea's phenomenal record at the Reebok though. Seven straight wins; zero goals conceded.

2011: Champions? Okay, they're stroking it around but it's all in their own half. Anyway, I'd best cool down. Less than 10 minutes gone! Ramires could do with a goal today.

2009: Confidence completely characterises Chelsea. They were brimming with it either side of summer, now it's nowhere to be seen. Anelka puts his foot on it in languid style but Bolton pressing well.

2006: Bolton on the front foot though and Chelsea look edgy. Elmander nearly plays in Robinson on the 18-yard line, while Stuart Holden screws a decent chance away from goal after a woeful Terry clearance. Kevin Davies then fails to connect meatily with a decent headed chance. Breathless start.

2003: And Chelsea get us under way...

2002: Perfect tribute to the 'Lion of Vienna' who only ever played for Bolton, scoring 285 goals for them while making more than 500 appearances. More then 30 goals for England too. Seconds away from kick off now. Hope you're settling in. Ancelotti anxious.

1957: Buoyant atmosphere in south Lancashire. Handkerchiefs are drying a few moist eyes around the Reebok. The players have shaken hands. Wreaths being laid for Nat Lofthouse. Incredible noise as they chant his name. But here's a minute's silence...

white_wanderer on Twitter " #BBCFootball Wheater must be Cahills replacement as a few days before the deal happened the money was not there for the deal to go through."

1952: Hard to say how much the late Nat Lofthouse means to Bolton. There's a comprehensive tribute to their legendary England striker at the Reebok Stadium taking place, with some wonderful images of him being played on the big screen right now.

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Chris B via text: "Midfield of Mikel, Ramires and Essien... Absolutely no imagination. McEachran should be starting."

1945: How rude of me! If you wish to get in touch - and please do - here's how you go about it. Either on 606, text me via 81111 (UK) or, if you want to get in touch via Twitter, you can do so via the hashtag #BBCFootball. Another question: have Bolton bought David Wheater from Middlesbrough because Gary Cahill is going to move for some serious cash? That's the conversation on BBC Radio 5 live, who have commentary tonight...
BBC Radio 5 live

1940: Digesting the teams then, nothing drastic. Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti recalls John Obi Mikel in the absence of Frank Lampard, who did not travel to Lancashire after picking up a calf injury. Despite concerns about a back problem, captain John Terry retains his place. Bolton make two changes with Gretar Steinsson and Martin Petrov both recalled as Sam Ricketts and Mark Davies stand down.

Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson, Petrov, Muamba, Holden, Taylor, Kevin Davies, Elmander.
Subs: Bogdan, Mark Davies, Ricketts, Moreno, Blake, Cohen, Wheater.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Essien, Ramires, Mikel, Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.
Subs: Turnbull, Ferreira, Kalou, Sturridge, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

1934: Stuttering Chelsea to remind us all that they are the champions? Has Roman Abramovich fallen out of love with his Kings Road plaything? Is the Blues rapier-like attack nothing but a memory now? And can Owen Coyle's stereotype-defying Bolton regain their stunning mid-season form? So many questions. Glad to have you all here for what could be one of the best Monday night game's of the season. Let's get our teams.

1930: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Come in. Big game this...

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Barclays Premier League results

24 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 24 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 22 29 48
2 Arsenal 23 26 46
3 Man City 24 17 45
4 Chelsea 23 23 41
5 Tottenham 23 6 38
6 Sunderland 24 4 37
7 Blackburn 24 -6 31
8 Newcastle 23 3 30
9 Stoke 23 0 30
10 Bolton 24 -1 30
11 Liverpool 23 -1 29
12 Blackpool 22 -6 28
13 Everton 23 -2 27
14 Fulham 23 0 26
15 West Brom 23 -14 25
16 Aston Villa 23 -14 25
17 Birmingham 22 -10 23
18 Wigan 23 -18 22
19 Wolves 23 -17 21
20 West Ham 24 -19 21

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