OUR BUSY SUNDAY of sport started as Chelsea looked to get their Premier League campaign off to a winning start at the DW Stadium.
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Wigan Athletic 0-2 Chelsea
13.22 – Afternoon all and welcome to the first Premier League Sunday of the brand spanking new, sparkly, shiny Premier League season. Are they calling it “Super Sunday” on Sky Sports? Probably but when you think about it, isn’t every Sunday a super Sunday? Yes. Yes it is.
Today’s first dose of superness takes us to the DW Stadium for the clash of the Robertos — it’s Martinez v Di Matteo as Wigan Athletic host Chelsea at the rather modestly named Dave Whelan Stadium. He owns the damn club, he can do what he wants.
Kick-off is in five minutes so I’ll just polish off the remnants of this baguette (tuna, sweetcorn, mayo) and clear the crumbs off the team-sheets.
13.26 – A lot of Chelsea’s new boys are still on holidays it seems as Abramovich di Matteo fields a familiar lo0king side. Eden Hazard and Ryan Bertrand come into an attacking midfield trio, flanking all £50m-worth of lone striker Fernando Torres.
Wigan: Al Habsi; Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa; Maloney, McArthur, McCarthy, Ramis, Moses; Di Santo. Subs: Pollitt, Kone, Jones, Crusat, Watson, Gomez, Boselli.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, A.Cole; Lampard, Mikel; Hazard, Mata, Bertrand; Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Cahill, Ferreira, Essien, Meireles, Oscar, Sturridge.
13.30 – No respect for the European champions from Roberto Martinez though. He sticks to his preferred 3-4-3 with James McCarthy anchoring that midfield.
14.15 – Moses creates another quarter-chance for Wigan, hooking the ball over Ashley Cole’s head and then outmuscling him to the byline. His cross to the back post was a little too high for di Santo — most things are, I suppose, but the striker always looks the most likely to get onto the end of a chance.
14.54 – A spark of life after a rather dull opening to this second half. With his first real chance of the game, Fernando Torres bundles his way beyond the Wigan defence and looks to clip the ball past Al Habsi. It trickles towards the line but as Torres gets set to wheel away, Ramis — the man directly responsible for both of Chelsea’s goals on his home debut — gets back to clear it.
Roared on by the crowd, Wigan charge straight back down the pitch where Moses mixes it up a bit and this time slides a low ball across the face of goal. John Terry is first to respond and turns it behind for a corner.
15.10 – Substitution: With 10 minutes to go, Ben Watson comes on to replace James McArthur. That’s Wigan’s final change but it’s not likely to change much in these last few minutes.
15.25 – That’s it so. Chelsea’s Hazard-driven blitz in the opening seven minutes is enough to secure all three points and get their campaign off to a winning start.
Wigan only have themselves to blame for that early sloppiness (well, everybody could blame Ivan Ramis if you want to be brutally specific about it) but that blip aside, they actually played quite well and had at least three gilt-edged chances to get back into the game.
Could Chelsea have stepped it up a gear or two if required? Almost certainly.