Wigan’s recent unbeaten run came to a cruel end at Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, as they were denied right at the death in controversial circumstances. The Blues stole all three points deep into added on time when Juan Mata bundled the ball home from an offside position, following up on Fernando Torres’ strike. Justice seemed to have been done when sub Mohammed Diame`s great solo strike levelled things up after Chelsea’s contentious opener.
Branislav Ivanovic put the home side ahead, just after the hour mark, much to the disbelief of the away team. Three Chelsea players were offside when Raul Meireles flouted a pass into the box for the Serbian international Ivanovic to score. Despite the protests lead by Captain Gary Caldwell referee Mike Jones upheld his original decision.
Roberto Martinez who is the nicest man in the game did not hold back at full time, when he spoke to the press: “The linesman had a disgusting performance in my eyes. They aren’t even difficult decisions. Both goals are clearly offside. Everyone says football can be cruel but from our point of view, that’s as bad as it can get.”
Martinez kept faith in the same XI that had picked up back to back wins over recent weeks, and his side dictated much of the game. Despite having much of the possession chances, once again, were at a premium and the Latics had to rely on keeper Ali Al Habsi who was called upon on a number of occasions. The Oman international put in an outstanding display to keep the Chelsea front line at bay.
Victor Moses continued with his impressive recent form, and was a constant threat all afternoon. He worked effectively alongside former Chelsea man Franco Di Santo and they both ensured the home sides backline were kept on their toes throughout.
Towards the end of the game Caldwell had a great chance to be the hero once again on the road, but wasted his chance after a barnstorming run. Within seconds Mata’s late strike ensured that the Latics would leave London empty handed once again, and leave Latics fans wondering how they did not pick up anything from the game.
With two more visits to the capital to come in the run, they have to improve on their recent record. Since their 1-0 victory against Tottenham in August 2010, they have lost every encounter down South since.
Results elsewhere on Saturday were very kind. Bolton and Blackburn both lost 3-0 and Wolves remain cut adrift at the bottom following their narrow defeat at Stoke. They will take a lot of pride from the game and despite the defeat, Martinez and his backroom staff, will be keen to ensure that they continue with their recent performances against Manchester United on Wednesday.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Essien (Mikel 73), Mata, Drogba, Malouda (Torres 59), Meireles, Sturridge (Kalou 82), Cahill, Bertrand
Unused Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Bosingwa, Ferreira
Wigan: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Figueroa, Caldwell, Di Santo (Sammon 79), Maloney, Moses, McArthur (Watson 70), Boyce, Beausejour (Diame 70)
Subs: Kirkland, Crusat, Gomez, Stam
Read more from Niall Owens on his blog: laticsinanutshell.blogspot.co.uk
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