BOLTON, October 30 – Carlo Ancelotti has been warned not to expect a repeat of the comfortable midweek League Cup victory when his Chelsea team resume hostilities with Bolton Wanderers this weekend.Ancelotti’s side strolled to a 4-0 win over Wanderers to continue their impressive run of form in the three games since the shock 2-1 league defeat at Aston Villa raised questions about Chelsea’s ability oto cope with set-pieces.
The meeting with Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn at Stamford Bridge last weekend was supposed to present a further test of Chelsea’s defensive resilience but instead provided little more than shooting practice as Rovers rolled over and were crushed 5-0 by the Premier League leaders.
With Atletico Madrid also having been thrashed 4-0 in Europe, Chelsea have scored 13 goals and conceded none in three home games since the Villa defeat.
But Ancelotti and his players are aware they have proved more brittle on the road, with their other defeat this season coming at Bolton’s near neighbours Wigan Athletic.
And if they are to maintain the two-point advantage they currently hold at the head of the Premier League, they can ill afford another slip up.
Bolton manager Gary Megson has promised a much warmer reception for Ancelotti’s side when they travel to the north west again this weekend.
"Our team will be different, not just in personnel but in approach, and I hope we’re a lot more wholehearted," Megson said.
But Bolton, who have been improving steadily this season must learn to cope with Chelsea’s goal-threat, which no longer centres on their main strikers Didier Drogba and former Wanderers forward Nicolas Anelka.
The pair are likely to start at Bolton, but the goals have been shared around Ancelotti’s side in recent weeks and Florent Malouda – who scored in the League Cup victory – believes that’s an ominous sign for their main rivals in the title race.
"The threat comes from everywhere in our team and that’s going to be our strength this season." said the France international.
"We don’t have to depend on one player. Obviously in a season you can have moments when someone is not in form or has the capacity to score.
"As you can see, we have quality throughout the squad. It’s important every player shows it when he has an opportunity to do so. That’s our strength at the moment because people are doing just that.
"Everyone can score with the movement we have and the quality of our passing game. We have improved a lot with the system."
Malouda added: "At the start of the season we were winning with a bit of difficulty and with one goal being the difference. At the moment we’re scoring a lot of goals and we’re playing well. We have to maintain that high quality."
Ancelotti made seven changes for the League Cup clash and is now set to bring back captain John Terry, Frank Lampard, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba and Ricardo Carvalho.
Megson has fewer options although goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and striker Kevin Davies will return after being rested.
The Wanderers manager admits he saw enough on Wednesday to know that if his side fail to improve significantly, they could find themselves on the wrong end of another drubbing.
"If we don’t approach it in the right manner, the same thing will happen again," Megson said. "We have got to find a way to upset Chelsea, and I don’t mean physically.
"We have got to play at a tempo that suits us because (on Wednesday), Chelsea dictated that tempo – they dictated absolutely everything, from minute one to 90. We have to give ourselves a better chance.
"Hopefully it’s a better performance – hopefully we start in a manner which might cause the opposition a few more problems.
"The venue obviously changes things as well, but we will be playing a team that 72 hours earlier gave us a lesson – and we have to learn that lesson."