It was a sweet 350th appearance for Frank Lampard whose hat trick helped Chelsea thump Bolton 5-1 at the Reebok Stadium.
Danny Sturridge scored the other two goals as Chelsea reduced the gap to three points at the top of where the Manchester clubs lead.
Chelsea scored within 90 seconds of kick off and banished all of Bolton’s confidence as Danny Sturridge netted from a Mata corner after he was left unmarked. The corner was a result of a brilliant through ball from David Luiz to Bosingwa. Chelsea went 1-0 up, every Bolton fan will want to forget what followed …
A dominant Chelsea added another in the 15th minute when Frank Lampard side footed home after some sublime passing from the Blue boys – Bolton’s miserable day had just begun.
In the 25th minute, a howler from Bolton’s stand-in Goalkeeper Bogdan saw Sturridge show against the club who he had previously scored 8 goals in 11 at the end of last season – to his credit, he refused to celebrate as a token of respect to the club he was loaned out to.
Bogdan’s day went from bad to worse, as the keeper failed to get hold of a shot from Luiz in the 27th minutes and the ball fell straight into Lampard’s path who did not miss – the score was 4-0 in favor of the Blues.
Owen Coyle’s half-time team talk resulted in Bolton scoring a goal in the first minute of the second half after Chelsea conceded through a set piece (again). Boyata neatly headed the goal to give Bolton some hope.
Drogba should have reinstated the four goal lead, but his low shot just went wide.
Just two minutes later, Lampard completed his hat trick after a sparkling one-two move with Didier Drogba. With the score at 5-1, the Blues gradually slowed down the pace of the game.
Chelsea were lucky in the 81st minute when Ivanovic brilliantly cleared the ball on the line after a shot from Kevin Davies from six yards out – Unconclusive replays suggested that the ball had just crossed the line.
Bolton looked for a late consolation, but they were denied after Eagles’ shot resulted in a deflected save from Cech which hit the crossbar.
Soon, the final whistle blew, and Lampard’s performance silenced his critics. As they say, “form is temporary, Class is permanent”.
By Abhishek Easwaran