Chelsea 4 Wigan 1
Chelsea got back to winning ways, at Stamford Bridge, although they left it late to wrap up the points.
Team News - With John Terry out injured, Rafa Benitez started with Azpilicueta at right-back, with Ivanovic partnering Cahill at the heart of the defence. In midfield, fresh from his exertions with Brazil in midweek, was given a place in midfield with Hazard returning from suspension to also claim a place. Up front, Torres was given the nod ahead of broken nose victim Demba Ba who was on the bench. Juan Mata was also on the bench after struggling with a virus. Petr Cech, despite fears to the contrary, started between the posts despite that broken little finger picked up last time out.
First Half - Wigan started a little brighter than Chelsea keeping possession better and had the first chance when Di Santo saw his effort, from ten yards out, kept out by the foot of Cech. The keeper then had to save well to deny Maloney as Wigan continued their bright start.
Chelsea responded with a Lampard shot that flew over before Hazard, who had started brightly, saw an effort blocked by Figueroa. Wigan wouldn`t concede ground and a cross from Beausejour just evaded Espinoza.
Torres, latching onto a Lampard free kick, saw his header go the wrong side of the post with Al Habsi stranded. Torres then beat Scharner, with a neat turn but his shot lacked any decent power.
Against the run of play, probably, Chelsea took the lead when Luiz broke forward, a deft touch from Torres found Ramires and the Brazilian curled his effort into the top corner. Torres and Cole, trying to get on the end of a Ramires ball, were denied by Caldwell and from the resulting corner Oscar`s delivery almost found Ivanovic.
Azpilcueta then provided a great cross that Torres met only to see Al Habsi turn the ball over the bar. Chelsea now had the impetus and Lampard saw a shot sail over the bar as they continued to push forward.
As half time approached, Maloney delivered a lovely cross but Azpilicueta rose to the occasion to produce a clearance to deny McCarthur.
Second Half - Neither side made any changes at half time. Pushing for that crucial goal it was to be Eden Hazard, with his 9th goal of the season who was to get it we he turned in a ball from the advancing Azpilicueta.
But those defensive frailties returned shortly afterwards, two minutes later to be precise, when Shaun Maloney beat the offside trap, evaded Cech and, from an acute angle, found the net with Cahill desperately trying to retrieve the situation.
Boosted by the goal Martinez brought on another striker in the shape of Kone. As Chelsea pushed forward Luiz had an effort that cleared the bar before a shot from Lampard skipped past the post. Wigan then had a penalty appeal waved away when Cole looked to have handled after the ball was struck at him from very close range by Stam.
With concerns about Chelsea letting yet another lead slip, Benitez introduced Juan Mata in place of Oscar on the 77th minute. Kone, freed by Caldwell, shrugged off the challenge of Azpilicueta but his shot, thankfully for Chelsea, was straight at Cech.
Chelsea put the game to bed, with a Frank Lampard goal, the 198th of his Chelsea career, with the veteran midfielder beating Al Habsi with a shot from the edge of the box after Mata stepped over Hazard`s cut back.
Chelsea netted a fourth win Marin headed home his first Chelsea goal, very late-on, from a chance that was created when Azpilicueta saw his effort parried by Al Habsi.
There could have been a fifth but Al Habsi did very well to deny Ramires and Torres. Three welcome points.
Chelsea - Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill (Benayoun-88), Ivanovic, Cole, Lampard, Luiz, Ramires, Oscar (Mata-77), Hazard (Marin-90), Torres
Unused Subs - Turnbull, Ferreira, Bertrand, Ba,
Chelsea Scorers - Ramires (23), Hazard (56), Lampard (86), Marin (90)
Chelsea Yellow Cards - Marin
Chelsea Red Cards - Nil
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