Barclays Premier League
Venue: DW Stadium Kick Off: 13:30 Sunday 19th August
The last time that Chelsea faced Wigan on the opening day of the season was in 2005 when The Blues came out as 1-0 victors after a last gasp Hernan Crespo goal. This time though Chelsea will have to rely on an unpredictable Fernando Torres who won the golden boot in the European Championships this summer.
Marko Marin still has to wait for his Chelsea debut as he is again ruled out through injury. However Eden Hazard and Oscar are expected to make their Premier league debuts. Branislav Ivanovic is available despite his red card in the Community Shield since pre-season dismissals no longer result in bans.
Ivan Ramis of Wigan will miss out today because of a hamstring strain and will be joint in the stands by team-mate James McCarthy who is currently nursing a back problem. Finally despite being a target of Chelsea’s Victor Moses is in the squad and is expected to play.
Roberto Di Matteo claimed in midweek that £25million signing Oscar could make his debut, but whether that is from the bench remains to be seen. Chelsea fans will be able to see Eden Hazard in action for the first time in the Premier League and it will be the first clear indicater of whether or not he can cope with the physical side of the league.
Also Arouna Kone who took part in the 2006 World Cup is a new face for Chelsea to look out for as he could make his debut. Wigan have signed up Ryo Miyachi on loan who is suspected to fill the boots of Victor Moses as he has been strongly linked with Chelsea, however he does feature in the squad.
- Chelsea have claimed victory in five of their seven league games at Wigan, although they have won only once in their last three trips to the DW Stadium.
- In 2010 the Blues thrashed Wigan 8-0 and 6-0. However, the three meetings since then have been far closer, resulting in one draw and two Chelsea home wins by single-goal margins.
- Chelsea have won 11 and lost only one of 14 Premier League games against Wigan.
- The Latics won seven of their final nine league games last season, collecting 21 points – more than they managed in their opening 27 matches.
- Roberto Martinez’s men have lost just one of their previous eight home games (against Swansea in March), and have won the last four.
- Opta statistics show that Victor Moses completed 95 dribbles last season, more than any other Premier League player.
- Chelsea have not begun a league season with defeat since 1998, when they were beaten 2-1 at Coventry.
- They won nine opening games in a row until last season’s goalless draw at Stoke.
- The Blues have only won one of their previous nine away league games (W1, D4, L4). Their only victory in that run was the 4-2 win at Aston Villa on 31 March.
- The reigning European champions conceded 20 goals in the final quarter hour of Premier League matches last season, more than any other team.
For me I can’t see past a Chelsea win, and if Fernando Torres is on form today, which I suspect he will be, I think they’ll do it in style.
WIGAN 1-4 CHELSEA