In great Nic: Anelka lifts Chelsea four points clear... but Owen Coyle fumes at penalty snubs

By Simon Cass
Last updated at 11:24 AM on 14th April 2010

Chelsea moved four points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League last night with a hard-fought victory over Bolton.

But it was not without controversy as visiting manager Owen Coyle claimed his side should have had two penalties after Didier Drogba and John Terry both seemed to handle during the clash at Stamford Bridge.

Coyle labelled Drogba a ‘world-class volleyball player’ after Nicolas Anelka’s 43rd-minute header from a pinpoint Drogba cross was enough to put Chelsea within striking distance of claiming back the title from Manchester United.

Nicolas Anelka

Nod it: Nicolas Anelka (left) fires Chelsea four points clear

It was the France striker’s first league goal since the end of January and denied Bolton an equaliser they arguably would have deserved after they had battled gamely for long periods.

But that was scant consolation for Coyle, who was left stunned by referee Lee Probert’s failure to award penalties either side of the break.

Coyle said: ‘We didn’t need any luck tonight. We only needed the officials to give the big decisions right. There were two stonewall penalties out there for handballs. The first one, after 27 minutes when Drogba handballs in the area.

Owen Coyle

Hopping mad: Coyle

‘I know Drogba is a world-class player, but Drogba could play world-class volleyball for anybody on that evidence.

‘Then there’s the second one when John Terry handles it. The assistant referee says it hit his shoulder, but it’s a clear penalty. He must have a shoulder that stretches down to his ankles in that case.

‘It’s hard to take. If it was a game where we’d been rolled over 4-0 or 5-0, fair enough. But we could have taken points had those decisions gone for us. We’re fighting for our lives, so that’s doubly disappointing.’

Probert was a late replacement for Merseyside official Chris Foy, who cannot referee any more Chelsea or Portsmouth games before taking charge of the FA Cup final between the two sides.

Taking a leaf out of Arsene Wenger’s book, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said of the penalty claims: ‘I didn’t see the incidents. I trust in the referee.

‘I don’t have a reaction. I maintain the same opinion: it’s not my job to judge the work of the referees.

‘It was not an easy game. We knew this because Bolton came to Stamford Bridge to play their game. They play it well. They put pressure on us for all the 90 minutes.

‘Now the Premier League is in our hands. We have more possibility to win (the title) than, with respect, Manchester United and Arsenal but we are not sure.

Carlo Ancelotti

It's in his hands: Carlo Ancelotti says the title is Chelsea's to lose

‘We have to play four games, tough games. We have a derby on Saturday against Tottenham, which won’t be an easy game. We are excited, but we know that we have to fight again. But we’re ready.’

Terry insisted he had not been guilty of handball, saying: ‘It came off the top of my chest.

‘The whole game certainly wasn’t easy with Kevin Davies up front and Jack Wilshere in behind. They caused us problems all night. But I thought we did well.’

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I watched the whole game on french tv last night - Bolton came to kick Chelsea and ended up with nothing - c'est bien fait!

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I looked in the Mail this morning, the score was Chelsea 1. Bolton 0.
Nothing will change that, all you people moaning, have you been taking lessons from Fergie?. If Man U win he's happy, if they lose it's the ref's fault.
It's olly a game for gods sake.

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I didn't see the handballs ( Yes i know very Arsene Wengerish!) because they were at the oppsosite end of the ground and I haven't got xray eyesight like Owen Coyle..... but the linesman and I have one thing in common ....We were there watching it in realtime not seeing it from 28 different angles on TV and then being sure it was a penalty like most of you guys!

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tony, spain

What rubbish !!

Chelsea have also had decisions go against them, maybe you want to name them all.

It was a foul in the first game, Fletcher's leg was across Cole so obstruction at least.

No Mention of the handball goal in Chelsea's 2nd game with Man.u then.

As for last night Davis should of been waved off-side to start with and then pushed Drogba in the back and it was accidental. The linesman had the best view and thought not handball by Terry. No mention of Davis late challenge on Alex last night which didn't even get a card, if that was Terry it would of been headlines.

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It amazes me how people like Geoff Kearsley could write that the FA prefers Chelsea rather than Man Utd to win the league. That is utter nonesense, lets get a few things clear Macheda's "goal" against Chelsea should never have stood that was clear handball. It should have been disallowed and Macheda should have been booked for cheating. Valencia's penalty against Liverpool was never a penalty, the offence was clearly outside the box how the ref decided it was a penalty only he knows. In that same match Neville nearly decapetated Maxi Rodrigues the ref did not even award a foul. Carling cup final Vidic brings down Agbonlahor when he was clean through in the penalty area, ref awarded a penalty, Vidic was the last man and according to the laws of the game he should have been sent off he was not even booked. Utd vs City referees added two extra minutes on top of added time until Utd score. These are just a few refereeing decisions this season that have benefitted Utd.

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Are the football ruling bodies playing for Chelsea this year. In football we can allow officials to make the odd mistake, however in Chelsea's case its not just an odd mistake it's a continuity by officials deliberately going blind when it comes to, Chelsea's opposition. In 25% of their games this season Victory and points have been handed to them by very dodgy officials. Who it seem want the title and the cup to go south.
Against United two wins and two deliberate cheats by officials, against Villa defo red card not handed out yesterday against Bolton two defo penalties by Drogba and Terry if the ref had not been told to give Chelsea the result Bolton would have won and Chelsea would have ended up with 9 players.
Take that along with Arsenal scoring a winner in injury time 15 times this season.
If Chelsea win the title they can thank all the bent officials for their victory.

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