Like Blackpool, Chelsea probably wish they could play Wigan every week, though unlike Ian Holloway's team, the London club's supporters would soon become bored of such an arrangement. This was another six-goal mismatch for the Blues, and even if it only turned into a rout in the final minutes, the fact that Chelsea are in double figures for goals after only two matches gives the lie to the idea that there are no easy games in the Premier League. There are certainly easy starts, and they don't come much less demanding than West Brom at home followed by Wigan away.
Chelsea must have returned home wondering how on earth they managed to lose here last season. Wigan's support drifted off fearing the worst about the trip to Spurs next weekend, scene of a 9-1 mauling last season. People have been asking what is the point of Wigan Athletic, to which one of their own supporters claimed in a webchat last week that they were proud to sit at the bottom of the Premier League like an unflushable turd in a lavatory. Much more of this, one feels, and the U-bend beckons.
"The result was painful, but you need to be realistic," Roberto Martínez said. "We were unlucky to go behind in the first half, but once we were two or three goals down against Chelsea it was too difficult mentally for us to come back. The mental side is very important, and we need to react to setbacks better. We were very naive in the second half, there were too many cheap goals. I want us to be brave without being stupid."
Martínez says he cannot wait for the transfer window to shut, though at this rate he may have trouble lasting longer at the club than Charles N'Zogbia. Yet the side taken apart by Blackpool last weekend, causing more mirth at Wigan's expense than George Formby used to manage and prompting bookmakers to offer an astonishing 15-1 on a home victory here, actually kept the champions pinned in their own half for the first half-hour. That was just about all they did, Petr Cech made three comfortable saves from Maynor Figueroa and (twice) Hugo Rodallega, but they were three more saves than Chris Kirkland needed to make. Without ever looking seriously threatening Wigan gave Chelsea a few things to think about, with Mohammed Diamé and N'Zogbia working the ball up the right wing well and James McCarthy bristling with intent in central midfield.
John Terry, booed along with Chelsea's other England players, even made a couple of mistakes while the scores were still level, though Wigan being Wigan he was allowed to get away with them. Mauro Boselli, the home side's new record signing at £6.5m from Estudiantes, was not in the game enough to exude any menace as the spearhead of the attack, and neither was McCarthy quick enough to find him when Terry gave away the ball.
All too predictably, Wigan were left regretting this when Chelsea almost casually put a move together just past the half-hour mark and took the lead without too much trouble. Didier Drogba began the attack, before Ashley Cole combined with Frank Lampard on the left to remind the sparse Wigan crowd that booing decent players is not such a clever idea. Lampard only flicked a shot in Chris Kirkland's direction but the Wigan goalkeeper still had to dive full length to get a hand to it, and with no defenders on hand to help him out it was a simple matter for Florent Malouda to roll the loose ball over the line.
The question now was whether Wigan would retain enough self-belief to keep taking the game to Chelsea, or whether they would allow their heads to drop and suffer another heavy defeat. At the same stage last week Blackpool were three up. Unfortunately for Martínez, Chelsea needed only three second-half minutes to extend their lead and put Wigan into damage limitation mode.
Hugo Rodallega had a half-chance at the other end but could not make anything of it, and when Mikel John Obi played in Nicolas Anelka a minute later the man who blows his nose in the face of French football showed how a real finisher goes about his work, slotting the ball past Kirkland from a narrow angle.
That was all too clearly game over, though old habits die hard and Wigan characteristically conceded a third just four minutes later. Malouda's cross from the left was turned back across goal by Drogba, a couple of defenders on the line did nothing to address the situation and Anelka was allowed to get his head to the ball. One thing Martínez must sort out, if he is to keep his job and prevent any more embarrassing scorelines, is who takes responsibility at the back. Steve Bruce made Wigan hard to beat, if occasionally hard to watch. Martínez appears to have loftier ideals, but no amount of passing and moving can overcome three- or four- goal deficits.
Wigan played some of their best football after going three down, with N'Zogbia twice denied by Alex blocks, McCarthy seeing a shot touched onto the post and Boselli being denied his first goal by a raised offside flag, though by that stage Chelsea were easing up and thinking of their next game, even if Terry was fortunate not to see a second yellow card for a sly lunge at N'Zogbia's ankle. "I have never had such a start to a season before but the mentality is different in England than Italy," Carlo Ancelotti said, perhaps a little generously. "At three goals down Wigan kept trying to win the game. The first half was tough, they made it hard for us, but maybe that cost them a lot of energy."
Chelsea on economy setting were still too much for Wigan to handle, and once Drogba's run from halfway set up a goal for Salomon Kalou, there was always the chance that more would arrive. They duly did, with the excellent Drogba making another for Kalou and Yossi Benayoun notching his first for his new club at the end. Whatever it is that Wigan are good at, it isn't damage limitation.
THE FANS' PLAYER RATINGS AND VERDICT PAUL FARRINGTON, Wiganer.net Well it was better than last week - none of the players showed any effort then and there was obviously a marked improvement on that here. But it's a bit insignificant given the form Chelsea are in. They were always going to walk all over us. We possibly shaded the first half, but we came out all guns blazing at the start of the second and then let in two quick goals and lost our heads. The mood is not very good - everyone wants Martínez to do well but people can't really see a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment, and it's White Hart Lane next. There was barely a Wiganer left in the stands at full time .
The fan's player ratings Kirkland 4; Stam 6, Gohouri 6, Alcaraz 6, Figueroa 6 (Boyce 84 n/a); McCarthy 7 (Watson 79 n/a), Thomas 6, Diame 6 (McArthur 80 n/a), N'Zogbia 7; Boselli 4, Rodallega 6
TRIZIA FIORELLINO, ChelseaSupportersGroup.net It's rather dull winning 6-0 every week - why can't we make seven or eight? To be fair, we found it quite difficult in the first 20 minutes, but as soon as the first goal went in, Wigan faded away. In the second half, we commanded the game, the defence held strong, and the forwards and midfield took it in turns to score. In the end, we really made it look easy. I'm glad Anelka got a couple of goals because normally he plays the unselfish role, supplying Drogba. Today he played really well and the defence held strong. Benayoun came on for the last 10 minutes and you could not ask more than for him to score. It was a good finish as well.
The fan's player ratings Cech 8; Ivanovic 7 (Ferreira 63 7), Alex 9, Terry 9, Cole 8; Essien 8 (Benayoun 80 7), Mikel 7, Lampard 7; Anelka 9, Drogba 7, Malouda 8 (Kalou 70 8)
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