Wigan Athletic vs Chelsea Preview (2012/13)

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So for an 8th time we return back to start another top flight football season, yes & another one in the exclusive Barclay’s Premier League.

But who would have thought it?

If you remember back in late January, Wigan returned back from White Hart Lane, bottom of the Premier League, played 23, won 3, drawn 6, that defeat to Spurs their 4th on the spin, oh and a goal difference of -28.

After that, the rest was history!  Ironically taking all that into account, we come in to this match as one of the Premier League form sides, but I’ll get to that later.

I do digress but to the matter in hand, Wigan Athletic play Chelsea, kick off is at 1:30pm on the 19th August.  The match being moved from the original 18th August date so it can be shown on the beloved master that is Sky.

Wigan’s opponents are Chelsea, who I’d like to point out, are the current European Champions, that’s right they have ‘Old Big Ears’ in their trophy cabinet.

The match is of course the first match of the 2012/13 season, Wigan’s 8th in the Premier League, our 35th in the Football League and our 75th as a football club (bet you didn’t know that).

The tie with Chelsea is the 20th time we’ve met, if some of you are as old as I am, you’ll remember one particular match way way back….no not the 3-1 win in 2009!

I mean the 1979/80 FA Cup run (Blackpool & Northwich Victoria) & the 3rd Round win @ Stamford Bridge in 1980.  A 1-0 win, with Mr Gore getting the goal that Monday night.  It of course set up a rare 4th round FA Cup tie against Everton @ Goodison.  I was a 9 year old who traveled with my dad on a Triangle Valve laid on coach, okay we lost 3-0, but those were the days.

Okay I’ve digressed again, Chelsea matches; along with that FA Cup match in 1980, we also beat Chelsea late in 1981, a 4-2 win in the 3rd Round Milk Cup Tie.  We drew 2-2 in another 3rd Round FA Cup match in 1985, losing the replay 5-0 @ Springfield Park with Kerry Dixon getting a few.  Finally a recent 2008 FA Cup 4th Round tie, saw us lose 2-1 @ the JJB.

In the league we haven’t been as strong.  Last season saw a well earned 1-1 draw in December @ the DW, April saw Chelsea beating Wigan 2-1 @ Stamford Bridge in a game officially sponsored by SpecSavers.

Chelsea scoring both their goals from off-side positions that the linesman didn’t see.  But hey we ain’t bitter in the end, controversy aside, it still meant we stayed up @ the annoyance of the Premier League.

Other Premier League matches have seen Chelsea win the league, 8-0 in May 2010, but also lose the League April 2008, 1-1, HESKEY…….

In all Wigan have played Chelsea in the league 14 times, with 1 win, 2 draws & 11 defeats.  All in all, it’s meant 3 wins, 3 draws & 13 defeats.

The referee for the Match Sunday is Mike Jones, with his linesman as Beswick & Halliday (which do sound like a Solicitor’s firm) and the 4th official is Mr Halsey (fun).

Ermmm, so as I was saying about SpecSavers, Mike did take charge of  that same 2-1 defeat to Chelsea!  A match that also saw that pleasant lad Ivanovi?, receiving a retrospective 3 match ban for a forearm to Shaun Maloney’s back.  Yes that’s right, the same Ivanovi? who avoids a 3 match ban due to Charity Shield rules from 2006, nice.

I’ll not mention the Beachball, shall I Mike…..

Form coming into this match has been mixed for both teams, you have to remember they are friendlies, some non-competitive games, hey Ivanovi?.  Wigan picking up results in Austria but a home defeat against Real Mallorca, with also an away 1-0 defeat to Celta Vigo.  Chelsea’s USA tour also included defeats to the MLS All stars and AC Milan.  Along with this weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in the Charity Shield.  Premier League form from the end of last season saw Wigan win 5 of their last 6, Chelsea win 2 & draw 2 of their final 6 games of the season.

Current League positions have Chelsea 3rd & Wigan in 20th place, the table of course in Alphabetical order as well no one’s played yet!  Okay so last season, Wigan finished in 15th with 11 wins & 10 draws, Chelsea finishing 6th with 18 wins & 10 draws.

On the injury front Wigan looked like they have one key injury in James McArthur and his recent back injury.  But as he played the last 10 minutes of the Celta Vigo match, we @ TNS assume he’ll be fit for Sunday?  So along with James, the new signings in KoneMiyaichi, Ramis, Fyvie and in a way Boselli, it’ll be a full strength Wigan Athletic.

For Chelsea it looks likes the Charity Shield (I’m not calling it the Community Shield) has meant both Daniel Sturridge (toe) and Marko Marin (Hamstring) may miss the match against Wigan, but Mike Jones has said he’s fit for the Chelsea starting 12.

Looking to the match, it’s always an unknown at the start  of the season, with summer friendlies no matter how Sky Sports dress them up, they are still friendlies!  You really can’t read too much in regards to form & expectations from these?

I’m just hoping a continuance of for

m from the end of last season with Wigan.  Realistically a draw would be a good start for Wigan, more curious how Bob will bring in the new players & will we continue with the 3-2-4-1 formation?

So before I go & the reason why ‘Big Ears’ is the featured picture here.  I want to show you how far Wigan have progressed in those 35 years, since making it as a Football League team.

Come Sunday, Wigan will play the reigning European Champions @ the DW, yes we’ve done it before Feb 2006 with Liverpool, May 2009 with Manchester United.  But we never played a European Champion at the start of the season, you know we get first bite at beating them in the league.  So the perspective at the start of a few season who we actually played then & who at that time we could only have dreamt of playing:

1978 – Hereford United – Liverpool

1982 – Lincoln City – Aston Villa

1987 – Notts County – Porto

1992 – Stockport County – Barcelona

1997 – Wycombe Wanderers – Borussia Dortmund

2002 – Cheltenham Town – Real Madrid

2007 – Everton – AC Milan

Andy

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Them and Us – Ron Suart (Wigan Athletic and Chelsea)

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