Jump to content
Join Talk Chelsea and join in with the discussions! Click Here

Wigan 0-1 Chelsea


Whose contribution was most vital in earning Chelsea's win?  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. What was more important?

    • Deco's stunning free-kick
    • Cech's crucial clean-sheet

Recommended Posts

Wigan Athletic 0 - 1 Chelsea F.C.

August 24 2008, Premier League, JJB Stadium, Wigan


Deco's stunning early free-kick earned Chelsea a hard-fought victory at the JJB Stadium.

Following their 4-0 demolition of FA Cup winners Portsmouth at Stamford Bridge the previous weekend, many were expecting a similar result and performance from the Blues as they headed north to face Steve Bruce's Wigan side. The venue of so many tight clashes over previous seasons, memories of Arjen Robben's stunning late drive in a crucial 3-2 away win in 2006/07 and Hernan Crespo's magnificent strike in stoppage time from the season before were brought back as an equally wonderful goal handed Chelsea three important points as they looked to match Liverpool's early season form.

Impressed by his side's performance in the season's opening game, Luiz Felipe Scolari made just one change to his Chelsea side; the injured Mikel John Obi replaced by Ghana midfielder Michael Essien, who made his first appearance of the season. Salomon Kalou, who had represented the Cote d'Ivoire at the Olympics in Beijing, returned to the squad and would join the match during the second period.

Wigan were hit by serious injury problems to the spine of their team, as goalkeeper - and star performer of last season - Chris Kirkland injured his lower back during the warm-up and midfielder Olivier Kapo, formerly of Juventus, was relegated to the bench after claiming to feel unwell.

The game was tremendously tight as both sides battled for even footing in the first half. The JJB Stadium's pitch, centre of much controversy last season when these two teams met in the FA Cup Fourth Round, was in immaculate condition as the Wigan and Chelsea supporters were treated to an eventful first forty-five minutes.

With just three of those played, Deco stepped up to take a free-kick won after Lee Cattermole had handled on the edge of the area. There was an air of expectation for the Chelsea faithful as the Brazilian-born Portuguese midfield maestro prepared to take the kick, and they were not disappointed, as the Chelsea number 20 lashed a side-footed effort over the wall and beyond Mike Pollitt into the top corner. It was Deco's second goal in as many games for the Blues, who were sporting their retro black and white kit, and many expected a repeat performance of last week's humiliation of Portsmouth.

However Wigan responded well, hitting back almost instantly. Taking the game to the visitors, the highly-influential Jason Koumas was making it hard for Chelsea to settle on the ball and Palacios and Valencia were both causing trouble as they ran at John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho. It was the former who signalled Wigan's intent almost straight from the restart as he dribbled around and beyond Jose Bosingwa before seeing his drive from an acute angle palmed away by Cech.

Egyptian striker Zaki, who scored in Wigan's 2-1 away defeat to West Ham at Upton Park last Sunday, was proving to be a handful for the Blues' backline but Petr Cech was in inspired form; beating away a fierce strike from the Latics' star striker before denying Jason Koumas' long-range effort expertly. The home side were piling on the pressure and Chelsea were clearly on the back foot, but almost showed their quality when Ricardo Carvalho headed over under pressure from a Frank Lampard corner.

Lampard, like midfield partner Michael Ballack, had been quiet and effectively marked out of the game by the Wigan players, putting Essien and the Chelsea centre-halves under extreme pressure. The impetus was with the hosts, and Chelsea were looking sloppy when they attempted to go forward and Joe Cole and Nicolas Anelka were offering little when the West London outfit when on the attack.

However Chelsea's second half performance was more professional, the Blues looking more like their usual selves with a solid defensive display. Despite this, they were lacking a killer final ball as Wigan continued to frustrate Scolari's side, and the highly ineffective Joe Cole was replaced by Salomon Kalou inside the hour mark.

Wigan appeared to tire, and their attacking enthusiasm was restricted to several counter-attacks that were quickly nullified by the commanding presence of Chelsea skipper John Terry. Petr Cech was forced into action once again, pushing away a drive from Zaki after Palacios had beaten his marker, but chances for either side were few and far between as Chelsea effectively held the hosts at bay. Cech was imperious; coming to the edge of the area and plucking balls from the air with confidence, and Carvalho and Terry succeeded in holding Wigan back.

But like they did at Stamford Bridge in a 1-1 draw in April, Wigan fashioned a fabulous goalscoring chance late on. Olivier Kapo's low drive from long range lacked any real conviction, but was on target and destined for the bottom corner. Cech superbly dived to his right to palm the ball away to earn Chelsea three points, but they were barely deserved.

One moment of quality had earned the Blues a win, but the ability to win matches whilst not performing especially well is the hallmark of Champions, and shows that whilst Chelsea possess the ability to tear teams apart, they can dig deep and pull off victories even when their performance does not warrant three points. With Tottenham the next team on the agenda, Scolari will hope that their early season form continues with a repeat performance of the Blues' last home match.

Wigan: Pollitt, Melchiot (Camara), Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa, Cattermole, Palacios (Kapo), Valencia, Koumas (De Ridder), Heskey, Zaki

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole (Bridge), Ballack, Essien, Lampard, Deco, Anelka (Malouda), Joe Cole (Kalou)

Attendance: 18,139

Star Man : Petr Cech


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

talk chelse forums

We get it, advertisements are annoying!
Talk Chelsea relies on revenue to pay for hosting and upgrades. While we try to keep adverts as unobtrusive as possible, we need to run ad's to make sure we can stay online because over the years costs have become very high.

Could you please allow adverts on this website and help us by switching your ad blocker off.

Thank You