Latics lose to the Blues
Written By: Robert Halter
Third from bottom Wigan Athletic met third from top Chelsea as the Latics arrived in West London during the early part of February without a win in the Premier League during 2013 while the Blues slump in form had seen them win just two of their last six Premiership fixtures. Chelsea looked for a repeat of their 2-0 victory at the D W Stadium back in August but needed to watch out for the goal threat from a former striker Franco Di Santo, who threatened on five minutes as Di Santo’s low strike in the box was kept out by Petr Cech’s legs. The Latics pressed again a minute later with a curling strike by Shaun Maloney that Cech managed to clutch out of the air. After a foul by Ronnie Stam on Eden Hazard, from the resulting free kick by Frank Lampard, a flicked header off Fernando Torres, went narrowly wide of the right post in the fourteenth minute. Midway through the first half, Chelsea broke the deadlock after a weighted pass from Torres that found Ramires, who raced clean through and hammered the ball over Ali Al Habsi into the right side of the net. In the thirty third minute, Habsi was at his best with a flying save to deny Torres’s goal bound header, after he had been picked out by Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross. Two minutes later, Lampard then tried his luck from outside the area but his low drive drifted past the left post. The Blues doubled their lead in the fifty sixth minute, when Gary Cahill launched the ball forward and from a low right wing cross by Azpilicueta, the ball was turned into the right side of the net by Hazard. But the Latics pulled a goal back two minutes later, when a ball over the top by James McArthur, caught out both Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic which left Maloney in the clear as he rounded Cech to put the ball in and momentarily stun the home fans at Stamford Bridge. On sixty six minutes, a low strike by Lampard went agonisingly wide for the Blues, as he went close to putting the match out of reach. However, Lampard did wrap the game up on eighty six minutes after driving the ball home with a firm finish, after Hazard’s cross had been played through the legs of Juan Mata but all the credit went to Lampard as his low shot put the Blues 3-1 ahead of the Latics. In stoppage time, Marko Marin headed in his first goal for Chelsea as Habsi could only palm away a fierce strike by Azpilicueta, as Marin’s diving effort added a fourth. In the final piece of action a double save by Habsi kept out Ramires’s solid strike before a further reaction save by Habsi to stop Torres’s rebound effort going in but this only kept the score line down as Chelsea ended comfortable 4-1 winners.