Sit there for a moment and take a deep breath. Smell that? That’s the sweet aroma of victory.
Okay, you can breathe out again if you want. Now, like the vast majority of Latics supporters at the DW Stadium today, I fully expected to be expelling my fair share of oxygen to the point I would resemble an asthmatic chain-smoking monkey come five O’ clock. Oh how wrong I was, eh?
Had a couple of crucial moments not gone our way, it could have been so different. But let’s concentrate on Latics’ excellent performance and not fall into the Match of the Day ‘unlucky Chelsea’ mode. After all, it isn’t often that Wigan beat a top four team 3-1, is it?
Latics played a solid, convincing first half, and could so easily have been two or three up had one or two of our half-chances been slotted away. As it transpired, a Titus Bramble header gave his team a more than deserved one-goal lead going into the break.
Ancelotti must have subjected his team to a right dressing room rollocking, for it seemed that no sooner had the game restarted, Didier Drogba had the ball in the back of Chris Kirland’s net. It was somewhat unfortunate, and you could perhaps criticise the Latics defence for not closing up properly. Oh no, here we go again…
But then came the game changing moment. Rodallega was through on goal, and looked certain to score… until a clip from Chelsea keeper Petr Cech sent him flying. A stonewall penalty, and a sending off to boot! It was all a bit of a blur, but it seemed like aeons between the moment Rodders was fouled and the second he placed the ball into the back of the net.
The game was there for the taking – Chelsea looked rattled, and though they continued to push forward, Latics always looked like sneaking one on the counter attack. As it happened, we did get one, but by this time Chelski were down to nine men as Ashley Cole was injured but Ancelotti had no more substitutions at his disposal. Typical Paul Scharner, poaching a goal at the back post.
Cue frantic celebrations and a party atmosphere. The five minutes of stoppage time indicated by the fourth official, mainly accumulated due to Didier Drogba’s drama and Kirky’s surreptitious time-wasting, passed by in a relative flash.
Latics had their first win over Chelsea in the Premier League. Match of the Day pundits will no doubt focus on how unlucky Chelski were to have their 100% record snatched away from them by little Wigan, but the truth of the matter is they were beaten soundly. Drogba — or Drug Bar, as Motty continues to insist on calling him — was relegated to Kirkland’s ball boy for much of the second half, which no doubt saved Chris from straining his back too much. Cheers, Didier!
As for the rest, well Terry and co. did the best they could, but it was always gonna be an uphill battle with ten men. Titus ‘For England’ Bramble was typically steadfast in defence and bagged a man of the match bottle of champers. Or is that sparkling water in a plastic cup? That Credit Crunch means we all have to do our bit, you know.
In all, a day to add to the Latics scrapbook for sure, though I doubt even the most optimistic of fans would have predicted this. In fact, one bloke sitting near me was so shocked that his eyes popped out and his spectacles went flying three rows down. True story.
Oh, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the steward I spent the whole game shouting down the earhole of. If you’re reading this, I owe you a beer. Or at least, a sparkling water.
Dan, Jesus Was a Wiganer
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