Chelsea host a Wigan Athletic side who haven’t conceded in the league since February 2nd and sit five places (and six points) above them. Chelsea may have lost in last month’s League Cup final, but are through to the last sixteen of the Europa League after seeing off Lyon 3-1 on aggregate. Top scorer Fernando Torres (14) hasn’t found the back of the net since February 10th (458 minutes), but Oscar and Ramires (10 each) have been in a steady run of scoring form. Chelsea will jump to 6th with a victory, while Wigan will leapfrog Arsenal back to 4th after yesterday’s fixtures.
WORLD SOCCER: “Wigan have found it difficult on their travels of late and I can’t see that changing in this game. I’ve got to go for a Chelsea home win.”
HOME: Ricky van Wolfswinkel (wrist), Lamisha Musonda (knee), Nathaniel Chalobah (hernia)
AWAY: Shaun Maloney (ankle), Guille (wrist)
ODDS: Chelsea 1-2F, Draw 13-5, Wigan 9-2
LAST: Wigan 1-0 Chelsea (27.10.12)
KEY PLAYERS: HOME: John Terry, AWAY: Ali Al-Habsi
OVERALL FORM: Chelsea WXWLLL, Wigan OWOLWW
WIGAN AWAY FORM: OLWLLL
REFEREE: Kevin Friend, 14 matches 48 yellows, 4 reds.
WEATHER: Dry, 10°C
Livetweets from @realtimeFM:
Preview posted. Line-ups to be confirmed. Kickoff at 1800 GMT.
0′ Kevin Friend blasts the whistle and the hosts kick off here at Stamford Bridge.
6′ Early exchanges are all Chelsea, but Wigan break and win a freekick right on the edge of the D. Caldwell puts it in, Ramis nods wide.
9′ Penalty shout as Watson goes down under a challenge from Terry, nothing given. Wigan burst forward down the right with Reginaldo.
11′ 1-0 CHELSEA. Crusat plays the ball across his own goal and Frank LAMPARD slams it home low and hard first time from 20 yards.
15′ Quarter of an hour played, Chelsea 63% possession and deservedly lead. Hazard cutting through Wigan midfield far too easily.
22′ Wigan win the first corner of the game, looking more lively since conceding. Ramires and Hazard still controlling midfield though.
22′ Beausejour can’t beat Torres with the corner, hurts a second chance at a cross and repeats the same move. Sigh.
30′ Half hour gone, possession evened out now, but Chelsea look the more likely to score next. Crusat having a stinker on Wigan’s left wing.
31′ …I say as he’s on the end of a ball from Beausejour which he strikes first time, hitting the far post and spinning away for a throw.
36′ John Terry has given away five free kicks since the Chelsea goal. No sign of a yellow yet as he clatters through Watson.
40′ Ben Arfa bends a free kick round the wall from 25 yards and forces a fingertip save from Al-Habsi. Heads the resultant corner just over.
42′ Wigan pour forward on a counter, Beausejour sends Guidetti clear, but John Terry makes a last-ditch saving tackle (injuring himself).
45+1′ Boyce clears off the line after Al-Habsi spills Ben Harfa’s shot. Hazard inches away from slamming home a second.
HALF-TIME: Chelsea 1-0 Wigan
HT: Change for Wigan, Santiago Garcia replaces Albert Crusat. Beausejour pushes forward, Garcia at left full back.
46′ Chelsea made a change at the break too. David Luiz on for Cesar Azpilicueta.
55′ Ben Watson cautioned, first of the game, for a late challenge on Eden Hazard.
59′ John Guidetti beats Terry to a long ball, rounds Petr Cech who forces him wide, but his shot from the tight angle hits the near post.
62′ 2-0. Hazard doesn’t give up the chase on a ball down left, his cross is met by BEN ARFA at the far post who can control and smash home.
65′ Franco di Santo replaces Ben Watson.
70′ 3-0! Wigan fail to clear a corner and Torres squares the ball for RAMIRES to knock home from close range. Oscar replaces Juan Mata.
72′ 4-0 and Fernando TORRES ends his goal drought with an absolute screamer from about a yard out. Ramis can’t clear a cross and he pounces.
75′ Florian Klein replaces Gary Caldwell for Wigan’s third substitution as Ivan Ramis is booked for a foul on Ashley Cole.
80′ John Guidetti is absolutely flattened by a flailing elbow from David Luiz. Referee Kevin Friend is calling the Brazilian oaf over…
80′ …IT’S RED.
81′ Wigan pull one back! McCarthy immediately exploits gap in midfield, getting the ball wide to Reginaldo. GUIDETTI beats Cech to his cross and nods home.
88′ Wigan have had more shots in the last eight minutes than the first 80. Not troubling Cech too much though. Chelsea lead 4-1.
FULL-TIME: Chelsea 4-1 Wigan. Man of the Match: Frank Lampard.
Next Fixture: a v. West Bromwich Albion (Premier League) 30.03.13