Posted on: Thu 29 Oct 2009

The team may have been much changed, but the result remains the same. A tenth successive victory at Stamford Bridge in all competitions has put Chelsea into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

There was another home clean sheet too, two goalkeepers contributing to that. Ross Turnbull replaced injured Hilario midway through the first half.

At the other end, Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda netted before the break, Deco, with a superb strike, and substitute Drogba after it. A packed Stamford Bridge enjoyed those two goals especially, and sang the team to the finish with some Shed End favourites given a good airing.

The side was the one made public on the morning of the game, in an unprecedented step by Carlo Ancelotti.

That meant a full debut for Daniel Sturridge with Salomon Kalou his partner. Didier Drogba was on the bench. Sturridge had his chances to open his account in the second half, but that moment will have to wait for another day.

Bolton's most renowned striker, Kevin Davies, wasn't involved at all. The Trotters were toothless without him, and found it tough to match the tempo of Chelsea' s play. Ancelotti's men will have to do more for scorelines like this on other days.

Alex goes in for the tackle

Joe Cole had his first attempt of the game even earlier than on Saturday, this time knocking a 12th second shot from the edge of the area straight at the keeper.

Deco then had a 10th minute pop at goal from further out but with similar result. The Portuguese international was playing as the anchor midfield man, a job he had been given at times during the pre-season US tour. Cole was at the front of the diamond.

They were involved when a good Chelsea move developed into a Belletti cross, nodded down by Ballack to Sturridge. Challenged as he jumped by Ricketts, the 20-year-old went down but the cries for a penalty were brief and turned down.

A minute later a cross by Ferreira from the opposite flank did pay dividends. Collecting a throw, the stand-in left-back's delivery was good and Kalou picked up where he left off a week ago against Atletico Madrid, rising above the defence to head down and in.

The Blues were on our way but Bolton almost hit back straight away through Taylor who found himself in space in the box. Hilario made an excellent block on the shot but as he did, the Chelsea keeper's head hit the turf hard.

He had treatment and continued, but only for another five minutes before he laid down, still troubled. He was able to walk off after more medical attention but his game was over. Turnbull was on for his debut on 22 minutes.

Hilario is replaced by Turnbull

Before the summer signing could touch the ball, Chelsea went 2-0 up. It was Malouda who both started and finished the move, Kalou centring the Frenchman's pass and when it bounced back off Zat Knight, Malouda was there to lash in from close range.

There were 25 minutes on the clock and Chelsea were well on our way to the quarter-finals.

Knight made a better fist of blocking a shot from Sturridge after a good Cole pass soon after and as Chelsea pushed for a third before the interval, Kalou failed to get enough whip on a shot after Ivanovic had joined the attack and caused the visitors problems. Then Al Habsi in the Bolton goal pulled off a very good one-handed save from the Ivorian.

Malouda celebrates

Just before the break, Steinsson went in hard on Malouda but referee Andre Marriner, fresh from the controversies at Anfield on Sunday, ruled he had played the ball, much to Ancelotti's clear annoyance. Malouda raised himself and was able to play on.

For the second half, the teams swapped a player each. Essien came on for Kalou, Deco moving up to play alongside Cole and behind Sturridge as the shape switched to a Christmas tree. Elmander replaced Steinsson for the visitors.

Belletti, taking a Deco pass and surging into the area from the right had the half's first meaningful attempt, but his left-foot shot soared wide.

On 53 minutes Turnbull dropped sharply and smothered Mark Davies's shot after Bolton briefly stretched the Chelsea defence.

If the Blues backline had been open then, it was nothing compared with the cavernous spaces left by Bolton as we counter-attacked on 57 minutes. Cole played Sturridge in but delaying his shot, the new man eventually toe-poking well wide.

Cole gave Sturridge an almost instantaneous opportunity to make amends. In space, the England Under 21 international didn't delay and shot left-footed again. He went closer, but still wide of the Matthew Harding End goal. His chance for a memorable full debut had gone. You had to feel for him.

Sturridge takes a fall

Sturridge's second miss had been on 57 minutes and four minutes later, he was replaced by Drogba.

When Drogba's chance in front of goal came on 67 minutes, he fared little better than Sturridge, missing Joe Cole's centre after a blistering Chelsea counter-attack. No need to worry though, the ball fell to Deco who was unerring as he smashed it into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

The whole move had begun with Ivanovic blocking a Gardner shot in the Chelsea area. A muscular presence throughout, the Serb defender was a man of the match contender.

Into the final 10 minutes, Deco volleyed an audacious attempt over. With 86 minutes on the clock, Klasnic was able to get a Bolton shot away that rolled onto the post, a combination of Ferreira and Turnbull dealing with the rebound.

With one minute of normal time remaining, Drogba added his name to the scoresheet with a classic centre-forward's far-post header, rising above two defenders to convert Cole's looping cross, the England man's comeback continuing to come along very nicely.

Our quarter-final opponents will be drawn Saturday lunchtime.

Chelsea (4-Diamond-2) Hilario (Turnbull 23); Belletti, Alex, Ivanovic, Ferreira; Deco, Ballack (c), Malouda, J Cole; Kalou (Essien h-t), Sturridge (Drogba 62).
Scorers Kalou 14, Malouda 25, Deco 67, Drogba 89.

(4-1-4-1): Al Habsi; Ricketts, Cahill, Knight, Samuel; Muamba; Steinsson (Elmander h-t), M Davies, Gardner (c), Taylor (Basham 64); Klasnic.

Watch the game in full on Chelsea TV .

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