DW Stadium, Wigan
Auguest 21, 2010, 09:45 PM IST
A manager can choose to do one out of two things before any fixture – he can either dismiss the opposition on the back of a ‘home’ demolition job or he can learn from an ‘away’ humbling experience. Knowing the kind of person Carlo Ancelotti is, it’s safe to assume that the Italian would not forget to remind his Champions about the 1-3 loss that they suffered at the hands of Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium, last season, even if the 8-0 result on the final day slips his mind.
Carlito directs, Blues deliver.
The Blues had begin the 2009-10 season as if they wanted to run away with the title, but Wigan brought the Chelsea Juggernaut to a crashing halt, and the Londoners had to relinquish their position at the top of the table to Manchester United. Carlo Ancelotti would approach this match with caution, and would not let his team take Wigan lightly, who went down to the newly-promoted Blackpool 4-0 at home, on the opening day of the season.
Chelsea have scored 23 goals in their last four matches, and have not conceded a goal for 406 minutes of league action. In the last 10 meetings against Wigan, the Blues have come out on top, on eight occasions. Despite such overwhelming statistics, Wigan would be looking to prove their mettle to the Premier League, after a horrific start to the campaign.
Wigan, under Roberto Martinez, suffered monumental losses last season, but somehow ‘inexperience’ came to the manager’s rescue. However, after the Tangerines exposed them last Saturday, the media didn’t waste any time to make him the favorite to be shown the door, as this season progresses.
Charles N’Zogbia may be recalled to the starting line-up, after being ‘overlooked’ for the opening game. However, Victor Moses has been ruled out with a calf injury, while club captain Gary Caldwell remains on the sidelines after a hip surgery in the summer.
Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Chelsea’s newest signing Ramires trained with the team, but is unlikely to feature this weekend. Ergo, the fans will have to wait until the game against Stoke to see their new number 7 in action. Chelsea will make the trip without long-term absentee Bosingwa, while youngsters Bruma and Kakuta are also out injured. Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Branislav Ivanovic, would all be available for selection, after shaking off their slight niggles.
Chelsea were defeated six times in their double-winning campaign; still they managed to prevail in the end. The developments across England suggest that the battle for supremacy this term, would be an excruciatingly tight one. Manchester, collectively, would pose a greater threat this season. Arsene Wenger would again try to reach the summit, and Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool would be a different team altogether. Therefore, the Blues need to be a lot more consistent, if they are to defend their title.
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch Out For: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea)
Down, but not out..
After being banned for eighteen matches by the French Football Federation, which brought a de facto end to his international career, Nicolas Anelka would be eager to prove his worth to France. Since the ban, Ancelotti has also spoken in support of his striker, and that would only serve to increase Anelka’s confidence.