Chelsea start their League Cup campaign with a win thanks to goals by Kurt Zouma and Oscar.
The Blues, heavily changed from the side that started against Manchester City over the weekend, gave opportunities in Zouma, Luis, Ake and Salah to all shine, with Cech making his season debut and Remy tasked with leading the line.
And it was one of those new boys who broke the deadlock. 25 minutes of sustained Chelsea pressure brought no goals until a scramble in Bolton’s penalty area. The visitors just could not clear the ball and Zouma pounced to great effect.
But the lead was short-lived. A delicious Bolton free-kick whipped in was poorly defended by Chelsea, and despite a flurry of blue men surrounding Matt Mills, the Bolton ace could divert the ball past Cech. There was, in truth, very little the goalkeeper could have done about it.
Apart from a Nathan Ake long-range effort, the Blues would be restricted by Bolton for the remainder of the first half. Despite dominant football, the sides went into the break level-pegging as Bolton made their one opportunity count.
This would change in the 55th minute. Oscar saw an opportunity and, as the Bolton defence backed away, the Brazilian opted for a 25-yard daisy-cutter, but it worked to great effect, nestling in the bottom corner.
Schurrle was unlucky to see his shot trickle onto the post and into the grateful hands of the Bolton goalkeeper with 10 minutes left on the clock, but it was enough for the Blues as they progress into the last-16 stage.
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Man of the Match
ANDRE SCHURRLE: Did everything but score in a night where he would have really wanted to. Has disappointed in the last two weeks and some may even say has lost his first-team spot to Willian, only coming on as a late (but vital) substitution against Manchester City. A fantastic World Cup and most of tonight’s Chelsea attacks came through the German. 8/10
Steve Holland delivered the assessment: “The players’ mentality was good and we played with good ambition but we had problems with Bolton’s height. We don’t have any new injuries and we’ve progressed to the next round of the competition. Several of our players who probably needed a game now have 90 minutes under their belts. It’s a good situation to be in.”
Dougie Freeman was resigned: “We were going to have to ride our luck a little bit and our goalkeeper was fantastic. They hit the bar but in the last 10 to 15 minutes we gave it a right good go. A little bit more quality would have taken it to extra time.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had three years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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