The scoreline suggests a thumping win by Chelsea, but the home side were flattered by late goals. A brave fight by Wigan was undone by the experience and technique of Frank Lampard in the last five minutes. Up until then, Wigan had kept a nervy Chelsea hanging on to a 2-1 scoreline. Lampard’s goal was later matched by an opportunistic goal from Marko Marin in stoppage time following Ali Al Habsi’s parry of a shot from Cesar Azpilicueta.
Wigan had kept Chelsea largely at bay during the first half, but had been undone by a well taken goal from Ramires following Fernando Torres’ pass. Wigan had prevented Chelsea from firing on all cylinders and were assisted by good last-gasp defending. At times they threatened the Chelsea goal, but another goal from the home side had seemed more likely. The difference in class between the players in the two teams was showing, not surprisingly.
Roberto Martinez had chosen to use his conservative lineup, with five players in midfield and Arouna Kone on the bench. The second half was to bring a goal to the hosts in the 56th minute from the unmarked Eden Hazard. However, following a beautifully taken goal from Shaun Maloney two minutes later, Martinez brought on Kone for Roger Espinoza. Wigan rallied and had a good call for a penalty as Ronnie Stam’s shot hit Ashley Cole’s arm. The game remained open and was by no means over until those final minutes.
An encouraging performance from Al Habsi. His best game in quite some time. The talismanic goalkeeper has had a difficult season and Wigan will need him to be at his peak in the games that remain.
Wigan played with organization and spirit and hung in there until the last five minutes when the game swung away from them.
They deserved more than the final scoreline suggested.
The midfield was mysteriously absent in the home side’s first two goals.
Ali Al-Habsi: 8 — An excellent performance, making some spectacular saves.
Ronnie Stam: 5 — Worked hard, but struggled against Hazard.
Paul Scharner: 7 — Solid, showed good technique. A valuable addition to the squad.
Gary Caldwell: 6 — Seemed to be struggling with his hip injury. Nevertheless, he hung in there, showing his usual tenacity.
Maynor Figueroa: 6 — Tried hard to stem opposition attacks.
Jean Beausejour: 5 — Worked hard, but his touch was disappointing.
James McCarthy: 6 — Worked hard, but unable to make the telling pass.
James McArthur: 6 — Worked hard as always.
Roger Espinoza: 5 — Tried hard, but looked short of Premier League experience.
Shaun Maloney: 8 — Wigan’s most energetic and creative player. Took his goal beautifully.
Franco Di Santo: 6 — Worked hard as a very lone centre forward until Kone came on to give him support.
Arouna Kone — Came on after 59 minutes for Roger Espinoza. Looked useful.
David Jones — Brought on seven minutes from the end for Ronnie Stam.