Two early goals from Chelsea proved enough to grab all three points against an impressive Wigan side at the DW Stadium.
The game’s opening ten minutes paid witness to a barrage of offensive plays courtesy of the visiting London club, with Eden Hazard playing a part in not only Ivanovic’s second minute opener, but also Lampard’s penalty conversion just minutes later.
Both clubs put forth full-strength teams for their opening day clashes, but despite both clubs enjoying intensive pre-season preparations, there were a number of very tired faces to be seen quite early on.
Despite Chelsea’s sheer domination in the opening ten minutes of their Premier League campaign, home side Wigan turned the game in impressive fashion. Enjoying the majority of possession for the remainder of the half, the Latics were unfortunate not to hit the back of the net at least once against a Chelsea side who had quite obviously gone to sleep.
Favoring a lore direct style of play, Wigan proved extremely effective on the counter attack. A tactic that Chelsea seemed to be none the wiser to until the second-half.
Franco Di Santo’s strong first-half performance has potentially given us a glimpse of what’s to come later in the season from the striker. The Argentine played a vital role in the home side’s attacking offering, with the 23-year-old producing a number of chances on goal.
New signing Eden Hazard was on the end of the home side’s physical approach to dealing with the Belgian, enduring a hefty challenge in the Wigan box to give Chelsea a penalty, which Lampard converted. He also suffered a series of unfortunate and at times reckless tackles and pushes, with the most notable coming just before half-time when he received an accidental full-force slap to the face courtesy of James McArthur.
Chelsea’s second-half performance showed far more of the football they played in the game’s opening moments. The Londoners did well to keep the ball in Wigan’s half for the majority of the game, although a third-goal to seal the deal for Roberto Di Matteo’s side was nowhere to be seen despite a series of close chances courtesy of Torres, who looks set to have a tremendous season for Chelsea.
If this game is an indicator of what performances both teams will display this season, the two clubs look likely to enjoy comfortable if not hugely successful seasons in England’s top-flight. Wigan are definitely candidates to be fighting for the drop, but based on today’s performance, they will hit form just before the campaign’s close in order to stay up.
Chelsea will need to work on dominating games if they are to retain their Champions League title at present, but a push for third/fourth place and perhaps the FA Cup doesn’t look too far out of their reach. Of course, Fernando Torres and Hazard’s performances during their campaign will play a huge part in what success they do enjoy.
Wigan; Al Habsi, Boyce, Alcarazy, Caldwell, Figueroa; Maloney, McArthur, McCarthy, Ramis, Moses; Di Santo.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Lampard, Mikel; Hazard, Mata, Bertrand; Torres.
by Sion Cleaver