Saturday, August 21, 2010



Chelsea continued our emphatic start to the season with a 6-0 away win, but we didn't have it all our own way at the DW Stadium.
It took half an hour for the Blues to even register a shot on target, but as soon as Florent Malouda swept home Frank Lampard's parried effort, there was only going to be one winner, and five second half goals was the mark of a much improved showing from Carlo Ancelotti's men.
Nicolas Anelka claimed the first two, sub Salomon Kalou the next pair before Yossi Benayoun netted his first Chelsea goal in injury time.
It was a harsh lesson for Wigan, who for long periods in the opening half had dominated possession and stopped Carlo Ancelotti's men playing the football they so enjoy, but there will be no complaints that it was a deserved three points.
Chelsea's only change to the starting line-up was at right-back, where Branislav Ivanovic, now fully fit, replaced Paulo Ferreira who dropped to the bench.
Our last meeting with Wigan may have yielded eight goals, three points and a Barclays Premier League title, but Carlo Ancelotti was right to recall his first visit to the DW Stadium in September last year, when we were beaten 3-1 and eventually down to nine men.
It was the Italian's first defeat as Chelsea manager, but after last week's 6-0 win against West Brom and today's hosts' 4-0 home drubbing by Blackpool, he will have been confident of avoiding a repeat.
The Wigan side that started this game though looked a far more accomplished outfit than the one which appeared a week ago, and they were the more impressive side in the game's opening minutes. Left-back Maynor Figueroa tested Petr Cech's alertness with a long-range drive, and Hugo Rodallega then curled a free-kick at the goalkeeper in the 24th minute, both efforts before Chelsea had registered anything meaningful.
The Colombian sent another shot into the goalkeeper's arms shortly afterwards as the home side sought to convert possession and territory into goals before the inevitable Chelsea improvement, but they were out of luck.
On 33 minutes Chelsea put together the best move of the game as an intricate passing move eventually saw the ball come to Cole on the left, and when he pulled back to Lampard it looked as though the midfielder would score, but Chris Kirkland in the Wigan goal parried the ball back into play with a smart save.
On hand to tap in the rebound, however, was Florent Malouda, who netted his third Premier League goal in two games and gave the Blues a lead we hardly deserved.
Two minutes after half-time the advantage was doubled, and in sensational fashion.
Possession was well retained inside the Chelsea area, with Cole and Lampard working the ball to Mikel, who sent a 50-yard diagonal pass into the right channel for Nicolas Anelka to chase.
With the ball slowing as he approached, Anelka opted to shoot first time, and hammered it low into the far corner across Kirkland for his first of the season, and to more than likely put this game beyond Wigan's reach.
James McCarthy toe-poked just wide in response before Anelka grabbed his second in four minutes, nodding home from a yard out after Drogba had pulled Malouda's deep cross back across the face of goal.
Rodallega jinked his way past half the Chelsea defence before seeing his shot blocked, and then Alex performed a superb tackle on Charles N'Zogbia before the Frenchman could get his effort away.
Mauro Boselli's follow-up after McCarthy's deflected effort came back off the post was chalked off for offside, and then the Argentine headed straight at Cech when he should have netted.
Back on the attack Michael Essien forced Kirkland to save with his legs at his near post, and then Drogba dragged a shot wide moments after crashing a free-kick into the wall.
The Ivorian's next involvement was far more impressive, turning his man inside out and racing on towards goal, squaring for Kalou to tap home rather than trying to beat Kirkland himself as Chelsea made it 4-0 and 10 league goals for the season inside three hours.
With two minutes left Kalou was prevented from adding to his strike by a strong Emmerson Boyce tackle after showing skill inside the Wigan half, but a minute later he had his second of the game, flicking home Drogba's excellent cross from the left.
The scoring still wasn't complete, as sub Yossi Benayoun secured his first Chelsea goal, stroking home into the far corner from 10 yards to make it our best ever away win against the Latics, after another sub, Paulo Ferreira had supplied the perfect pull-back.
So two games, six points, 12 goals for and none conceded. Starts do not get any better than this.
Wigan (4-3-3): Kirkland (c), Stam, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa (Boyce 83); Thomas, Diame (McArthur 79), McCarthy (Watson 78); N' Zogbia, Boselli, Rodallega.
Chelsea (4-3-3):Cech; Ivanovic (Ferreira 62), Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien (Benayoun 78), Mikel, Lampard; Anelka, Drogba, Malouda (Kalou 69).
Scorers Malouda 33, Anelka 47, 51, Kalou 77, 89, Benayoun 90+3
Booked Ivanovic 36, Terry 60

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