Chelsea back in EPL top 4 after beating Bolton 3-0

STEVE DOUGLAS AP Sports Writer Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Frank Lampard demonstrated his enduring value to Chelsea in the club's hour of need, scoring a fine volley and setting up another in a relieving 3-0 win over Bolton that eased some of the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas.

The England midfielder wrapped up an ultimately comfortable victory at Stamford Bridge in the 79th minute with the 150th league goal of his career, becoming the first player to score at least 10 Premier League goals in nine successive seasons.

Lampard also provided the corner that Didier Drogba headed home in the 61st, with Brazil defender David Luiz having set Chelsea on its way with the opening goal in the 48th.

The victory ended Chelsea's five-match winless run in all competitions that had left Villas-Boas' job under threat, and lifted the London club provisionally above Arsenal into fourth place in the standings.

"It was important to win after all these recent disappointments," Villas-Boas said. "We managed to find the efficiency in front of goal that we haven't had in the last few games and we are back on track in the league."

The win also showed again how important Lampard is to Chelsea's cause, despite him losing his regular first-team place as Villas-Boas looks to inject some youth into an aging team.

Lampard, along with fellow senior players Ashley Cole and Michael Essien, was controversially left out of the 3-1 loss to Napoli in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match on Tuesday, a decision reportedly sparked by Villas-Boas' heated training-ground meeting with his squad a fortnight ago.

However, the Portuguese coach brought the trio back into his starting lineup and they played a pivotal role in condemning Bolton to a third straight loss, leaving it level on points with bottom team Wigan and without a victory over Chelsea since 2003.

"Today he had a big, big game," Villas-Boas said of Lampard. "Frank always fights for his place and today he proved he can make a difference for the team. But I make selections on the game-by-game basis."

Often-criticized for his defensive foibles, David Luiz showed he can be a handful going forward by putting Chelsea ahead in the 48th, curling home a loose ball after from the edge of the area having embarked on a surging run forward from center back.

Chelsea had been dominant but toothless up to that point, but Bolton fell apart after conceding and the hosts could have had five or six by the final whistle.

Drogba curled a shot against the bar in the 56th before meeting Lampard's corner with a downward header past goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

Lampard added gloss to the scoreline by guiding home a deep cross from Juan Mata.