Game in a sentence
Two goals in the first seven minutes saw Chelsea through, but their overall performance was less than convincing on a subdued afternoon at DW stadium.
- Any questions regarding Eden Hazard’s ability to acclimate himself to the style of play in England were answered two minutes into the Belgian’s first premiership start. Hazard received the ball at mid-field, made a deceptively tricky turn and fed the ball to a streaking Branislav Ivanovic. Ali Al-Habsi had no chance.
- Just five minutes later Chelsea’s big summer signing was the focal point again. Hazard was brought down by Ivan Ramis in the box, resulting in a clear penalty. Frank Lampard – perhaps the most prolific penalty taker in league history – made it 2-0 Chelsea in front of a shattered crowd at DW Stadium. An absolutely atrocious start for a Wigan side that will do well to avoid relegation.
- Gary Caldwell was lucky to avoid a straight red card for his egregious tackle on Hazard in the 11th minute. Referee Mike Jones did the Latics a favor.
- Wigan’s response to an early two goal deficit was promising. Chelsea transfer target Victor Moses challenged Petr Cech with a well placed strike in the 37th minute. Just before half Franco Di Santo was put through and should’ve cut the lead to one, but was felled by a disastrous first touch.
- John Terry completed 28 successful passes (29 attempts) in the first half. Private life aside, the man is still one of the top defenders in the world.
- A dour start to the second half was enlivened by Fernando Torres in the 63rd minute. The Spaniard could’ve went down for a penalty, but remained upright and nearly beat Al-Habsi. Ramis – who should’ve been called for the foul – cleared the ball off the line to keep the scoreline at 2-0.
- A minute later Brazilian phenom Oscar was introduced to the Premiership, replacing Hazard. He nearly scored just minutes later after beating Ramis – surprise! – but sent the shot just wide. Rumors surrounding Luka Modric and a move to Chelsea have resurfaced once again. If today’s performance is any indication the Blues would do well to save their money. Both Hazard and Oscar acquitted themselves quite well.
- With the score what it was it shouldn’t have been surprising – but the mortuary like atmosphere at DW was an opening weekend buzz kill.
- An away victory to open the season should be considered a success, but Chelsea were incredibly sloppy and the lesser side for most of the match. A similar performance against better clubs in the EPL will be rewarded with defeat.
6 – Chelsea had just six shots vs Wigan today, their fewest in a PL game since September 2007 (4 vs Man Utd). Timid
— Opta Sports (@OptaJoe) August 19, 2012
1. Eden Hazard
2. Victor Moses
3. Branislav Ivanovic