Chelsea went four points clear at the top of the Premier League table with four games remaining on Tuesday with a 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers.
After a nervy opening, Nicolas Anelka broke the deadlock two minutes before the break, and that proved enough to give Chelsea what looked a commanding lead.
“We’ve done what we had to do,” said captain John Terry.
“Bolton came here to win the game, they were pressing, playing man to man and made it difficult, but we’ve handled it well.
“We were probably a bit below our tempo, taking too many touches, but Didier (Drogba) pulled left, I’m screaming at him to get in the box, but he puts in a great cross and Nico’s got a great header to score against his old club.” Arsenal could close the gap to three points if they win away to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
Bolton, meanwhile, still have relegation concerns, lying four points above the drop zone.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had suggested Chelsea would have an “easy win,” but it certainly wasn’t that.
The Bolton manager Owen Coyle was justifiably furious after being denied two clear penalties.
“They weren’t claims for a penalty,” he said. “They were stonewall penalties. I knew it at the time.
“Didier Drogba is a world—class player, but looking at this replay he could be a world class volleyball player. We’re fighting for our lives to try and stay in the division.
“I’ve asked the linesman about it after the game but he’s said it hit his shoulder. He needs to take another look at that.
“It’s the same story, we’ve been to big places before and things don’t go your way.
“It’s not about luck, we’re not asking for anything we’re not due.” In the first-half, Drogba clawed the ball off Kevin Davies’s head, and in the second Terry blocked a cross with his arm as the linesman indicated the ball had hit his chest.
Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, having fumbled a cross, recovered to save Matt Taylor’s effort from a narrow angle after 15 minutes.
Inevitably, though, Chelsea began to grind their way into the game.
A Frank Lampard shot was saved by Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, the ball rebounding into Salomon Kalou’s face and bouncing wide.
And then, three minutes before the break, Anelka put the home side ahead.
Yuri Zhirkov, his head wrapped in a huge bandage following an early clash of heads, laid in Drogba, and his cross was turned in by Anelka five yards out.
It then took a fine block from Jaaskelainen to deny Kalou early in the second half, and he was soon in action again to beat away a shot from Zhirkov, who was by some margin the best player on display.
Lampard hit a post after great work from substitute Joe Cole.
Bolton applied some late pressure, but a misplaced header from Johan Elmander and a scuffed Ivan Klasnic shot were as close as they came to an equaliser.