Date: 15th April 2008 at 1:17pm
Written by:

What a night, what a game, what a result.

Wigan Athletic have taken more points off the top four clubs since January than they have done in the past three seasons and this is down to one man, Steve Bruce.

Bruces tactics against the big sides cant be knocked as a late, late Emile Heskey goal severely dented Chelseas title hopes but almost cemented Latics position amongst the elite of the English Premier League for one more season.

Two minutes into stoppage time, Heskey stole in at the far post to nudge home a close range effort past Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal following a wonderful curling cross by Koumas and send the Latics fans, bench, team and not forgetting Manchester United team and fans into ectasy.

The first half of the game was a torrid affair with neither side looking like there was anything reliant on the result; Valencia came closest for Wigan whilst Anelka perhaps should have done better for Chelsea.

Chris Kirkland produced a fantastic one handed stop midway through the half but on the whole there was no real quality in the game.

At the start of the second half Grant threw on Joe Cole and he immediately lifted Chelsea and the crowd, Cole ran at the Latics defence and put a spark into the game.

It came as no surprise when Chelsea took the lead on 55 minutes following a full one minute of absolute pressure where Terry had hit the bar and Kirkland had produced his second world class save of the night.

Anelka with his back to goal slipped in the area under pressure from Boyce, he laid the ball back to Essien who was running into the Latics area, the Ghanaian international hit the ball with the side of his foot and it took a slight deflection as the ball sped passed Kirkland into the net.

Latics went under the cosh for a short period before Bruce made his substitutions bringing on Koumas for Taylor and a little while later Sibierski for the ineffective Bent.

With time running out Sibierski had a wonderful chance to equalise when the ball dropped to him 12 yards out, he had to be quick and didn`t get any real power behind the shot allowing Cech to gather.

It looked like that was the end of the Latics chances to get something out of the game but Heskey and Koumas had other ideas.

At the final whistle a chorus of boos rang out from the Chelsea supporters who were left in the ground, whilst in an upper tier of the away end a group of exuberant Wigan supporters danced like their club had just won the FA Cup

Player Ratings

Chris Kirkland…9
Absolutely super display, handling spot on, two world class saves, came out of his box to clear and commanded his box, an almost faultless performance

Mario Melchiot…6
Steady game from Super Mario

Emerson Boyce…8
Boycie was emense defended superbly

Paul Scharner…8
Superb display at the heart of defence, put his body on the line

Kevin Kilbane…6
Exposed at times but its har to knock Killer he aint a left back and he always gives 100%

Antonio Valencia…6
First half shot which Cech turned round the post was Antonio’s highlight in this game

Wilson Palacios…6
One of Wilsons quieter games but was involved throughout

Josip Skoko…6
Two goal line clearances and a good display from the likeable Aussie

Ryan Taylor…6
Didnt reach the highs of the birmingham game but worked hard covering back

Marcus Bent…5
Looked totally lost in the system that was being played

Emile Heskey…7
Ran tirelessly and took his goal well but his first touch was off last night

Jason Koumas…6
Glorious pass for Heskeys goal, though over all slightly disappointing

Antoine Sibierski…6
Had a glorious chance near the end…maybe we could have won this one
Not on long enough to rate

Manager Rating
Steve Bruce got this one spot on and we could have snatched a win with Sibierski missing late on

Rating – 9

Opponent Rating
Oh dear what can the Grant do? Wrong selection and tactics

Rating – 4

Ref Watch
Andre Mariner didnt have any controversial decisions to make though at playing 4 1/2 minutes of stoppage time when he said 3 seemed a bit unfair

Overall a good game – 7