Date: 24th August 2008 at 5:09pm
Written by: baskerville

Steve Bruce made two planned changes to the team that lost against West Ham bringing in Bramble and Koumas for Scharner and Kapo

However his plans were thrown into disarray when his keeper Chris Kirkland suffered an injury in the warm up, being replaced by Mike Pollitt.

Pollitt`s first real involvement was to pick the ball out of the net, after Deco had curled a free kick into the top left hand corner. In all honesty this was Pollitt`s only real involvement in the game, with the Latics, as last week, one down within the first five minutes and this time against one of the best teams in the premier league. Chelsea passed the ball around nicely but were put under a great deal of pressure by a Wigan side who for all their skill and effort created very few chances.

Latics to their credit weren`t outmatched but the lack of actual chances created will be a worry for the Wigan manager. In particular every set piece seemed to land in the arms of Peter Cech

Bruce opted to try and match Chelsea`s 4-4-1-1 formation by playing Zaki up front with Koumas sitting behind when defending with Heskey on the left wing and Heskey moving to the front when we had the ball in a traditional 4-4-2 formation.

Both full backs Figueroa and Melchiot looked to push forward at every opportunity in the first half, overlapping the wingers Koumas and Valencia. Latics looked sharp, with Cattermole displaying a fine range of passes and Palacios looking to be worth more than the 6 million price tag that is rumoured to be around his neck.

At the back Bramble and Boyce didn`t look troubled against Anelka and Cole .

Chances were few and far between in the first half. A shot on the turn from the industrious Zaki had Cech scrambling to turn it round the post for a corner. The only other real attempt was a speculative shot from Palacios, which had Cech scrambling as he appeared to be disorientated as to where his post was. Unfortunately the ball went narrowly past the post.

Koumas, who had looked sharp when going forward, picked up a knock just before half time and was replaced by De Ridder at half time, with Valencia switching to the left wing. Chelsea started the second half the brighter but the Wigan back four looked secure and relatively untroubled.

De Ridder showed some nice touches and beat Ashley Cole on a couple of occasions but was unable to get the final ball into the centre.

Zaki ran his socks off but all too often had to show his skill out wide on the left due to the lack of quality ball into the forwards. He had a particularly interesting battle with John Terry who will certainly k now that he ahs been in a game this afternoon.

In the first 35 minutes of the second half, Latics hadn`t had a shot on the goal and Bruce opted to change things around bringing Kapo on for the tiring Palacios and Kapo immediately looked sharp and a rasping shot forced Cech into a sharp save.

Camara also came on with five minutes plus injury time to go but never touched the ball.

The final whistle brought to conclusion a disappointing afternoon in which Latics again fell to an early sucker punch played well but ended up losing.

They now go to a buoyant unbeaten Hull next week needing to kick start their season before this losing start becomes a losing streak.

Player Ratings

Had very little time to prepare himself after being called into the team but should have got nearer to the Deco free kick.

A good first half , faded in the second half

Linked well with Koumas in the first half, defended well but was caught for pace on a couple of occasions

A solid no nonsense performance including a run down the left wing.

Didn’t deserve to pick up losing pay

Looked superb in the first half, quieter in the second.

Looked good going forward, offered nothing when defending and poor set pieces

Not his best performance

His best performance in a Latics shirt. Defended tenaciously and passed the ball well. Not surprised that he received a yellow card.

Zaki ?7/10
Chased after everything, needs to be more in the centre of the pitch and needs better service.

Not his best day at the office, needs to develop an understanding with Zaki

De Ridder?6/10
Looked good going forward but needs longer studs, as every time he looked like creating a chance he slipped.

Produced the only shot of the second half
Didn`t touch the ball

Manager Rating
Tactics were fine. Must be concerned that we conceeded a goal so early again.

Hull City away
Not a six pointer yet and the alarm bells aren’t ringing, however we need to start picking up point quickly and also need to strengthen the squad with at least one more striekr