Chelsea squeeze past Bolton

2009-04-11 18:51

Andrew Fifield

London - Chelsea survived an extraordinary late fightback from Bolton to register a jittery 4-3 victory at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Guus Hiddink's side looked certain to chalk up one of their most comfortable wins of the season after romping into a four-goal lead thanks to strikes from Michael Ballack, Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard's penalty, but that was simply the start of the drama.

Wanderers, who had looked bereft of ideas, suddenly stormed back into contention with three goals in nine minutes from Andy O'Brien, Chris Basham and Matt Taylor and Hiddink, having been a picture of relaxation earlier in the day, could only wipe his brow in relief at the final whistle.

The win keeps Chelsea on the fringe of the English Premier League title race, albeit four points behind leaders Manchester United having played a game more, but the most intrigued observers of the late carnage in the home penalty area will have been Liverpool's scouts.

The Merseysiders need to overturn a 3-1 deficit in Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final decider at Stamford Bridge and the shambolic nature of Chelsea's defending might persuade Rafael Benitez that his European hopes could yet be revived, against all the odds.