Chelsea 3 Bolton 0
Frank Lampard captained Chelsea to their first win in six matches and must surely have made his case to under-fire boss Andre Villas-Boas for a permanent place in the team.
The Blues favourite was left out of the 3-1 defeat to Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday night, sparking yet more reports of player revolt at the Portuguese manager’s decision making.
Ashley Cole and Michael Essien were also left out in midweek but they too were in the starting line-up as Lampard ran the game from midfield before capping his performance with Chelsea’s third goal.
Centre-back David Luiz drove forward after a goalless first half and curled home the opener before Lampard’s pinpoint corner found the head of Didier Drogba for the second. And Lampard’s tap-in killed the game.
Villas-Boas has been under possibly the most pressure of any Chelsea manager under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, with a terrible run of form seeing them win just twice in their last 10 games prior to this one.
Injury to Jose Bosingwa leaves doubt as to whether the decision to field Cole was a direct reaction to widespread criticism and the player’s own dismay at being a substitute in midweek but he too was influential, as was Essien.
But the Blues had to wait until the second half to ease their manager’s nerves when Luiz burst into the box and beat Adam Bogdan inside his far post.
The Brazilian defender and his centre-back partner Gary Cahill have reportedly been involved in extra training this week to sure up their partnership.
And it looks to have worked after an impressive display in the absence of John Terry, who could be out for the next six weeks with a knee injury.
Luiz could have had a second when his header from a Lampard corner was scrambled off the line before Drogba hit the bar on the break.
But the Ivorian headed home Lampard’s corner for the second before the England midfielder tapped home a loose ball inside the six-yard box.
The out-of-form Fernando Torres came on as a late substitute and could have added a fourth but he blasted a shot high over the bar from inside the area.