Chelsea steal late undeserved victory

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There is a school of thought which states that unjust footballing decisions even themselves out throughout the season.

There is also a school of thought that believed that the moon was made of cheese and on today’s performance by the assistant referees, you would have more chance of persuading Wigan manager Roberto Martinez to hope aboard a space shuttle armed with a pack of cream crackers such was the appalling decisions meted out onto his Wigan side (not for the first time this season).

Martinez opted to keep faith the same line up which had won the last two games as he took his charges to West London seeking the away club’s first Premier League win at Chelsea.

The fact that he ultimately came up empty handed apportions no blame on his gallant charges but speaks volumes about the officials at today’s game.

The first half was an evenly matched affair where Wigan more than matched their more illustrious opponents, so much so that frustrated Chelsea were forced to shoot from long range, their first real attempt on the twentieth minute mark when Cahill’s shot was turned over the bar by Al Habsi.

Wigan responded in kind and both Figueroa and Moses launched powerful shots which were not far from goal.

The game ebbed and flowed and with the home crowd growing increasingly restless, Drogba thought he had scored when a Mata shot was parried by Al Habsi which fell to the Ivorian whose goal bound attempt was cleared off the line by Figueroa.

Half time came with Wigan more than a match for Chelsea with Di Matteo’s decision to rest seven players looking an increasingly foolish one.

Chelsea started the second half roared on by a partisan home crowd and once again Drogba was kept from adding to his goal tally by the Wigan keeper Al Habsi.

The first major controversial decision came when Chelsea were awarded a free kick for a foul on Ivanovic by Maloney who was booked for the foul. The free kick came to nothing but from the clearance , Mata floated the ball back in and fell to Ivanonvic who was at least a yard offside and the Chelsea defender slotted the ball home past Al Habsi. This sparked a mass protest from the Wigan players but the assistant referee stood firm on his decision and Wigan were behind.

In the past Wigan teams would have crumbled but this team is made of sterner stuff. They quickly re-grouped and Di Santo forced Cech into a smart save following a goalmouth scramble.

Wigan continued to press and earned a much deserved equaliser when forgotten man Mohammed Diame blasted an unstoppable shot home to make it one all and silence the home fans.

Wigan continued to look good value for a point but perhaps were too eager in trying to win the game as Caldwell was caught out of position up field, as Chelsea broke and a Torres shot rebounded back off the post and Mata in a  seemingly offside position, prodded the ball home for an undeserved winner leaving the Wigan team broken but unbowed.

Chelsea fans greeted the final whistle with cheers of relief but Wigan departed with heads held high after a performance which must give them confidence for the battles that lie ahead.


Al Habsi

Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa

Boyce, Beausejour,

McArthur, McCarthy,

Moses, Maloney,

Di Santo

Subs used; Diame, Watson, Sammon

Att,  40, 651

Man of the Match

Ali Al Habsi, not for the first time this season.

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