Afternoon. There aren't many clubs at which a manager could win the Champions League and hear talk of him being sacked before the following season has even started. Such is the life of the manager at Chelsea. Such is life working for Roman Abramovich. You never know what's round the corner. It could be a new £30m superstar. It could be a boot up your backside and a P45. It must be thrilling. Life lived on the edge. It is difficult to know what to expect from Roberto Di Matteo this season. Of course, we must marvel at the outstanding way he salvaged the wreckage of Andre Villas-Boas's curious man-management, uniting the side and winning the Champions League and FA Cup. Yet this is an entirely different job. With expectations low last season, Di Matteo was able to revert to the Mourinho template. Now he has to introduce the fantasy. And sometimes there's no pleasing a fantasist.
In come Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin, then, with the possibility of Victor Moses, Hulk and Edinson Cavani still to come. Fernando Torres is expected to live up to his £50m reputation, supposedly liberated by stepping out of the shadow of Didier Drogba - who, lest we forget, was a huge part of everything Chelsea achieved last season. How they cope without his influence will perhaps define their season. So Chelsea are not the finished article and may need time to gel. That certainly looked to be the case against Manchester City last week, when the midfield of John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard was made to look rather ponderous. The defence, too, looked a tad creaky, Sideshow Dave still on the verge of calamity throughout.
Given the way that Wigan finished last season, it will not be a massive surprise if Chelsea struggle today. It's now seven years since Jose Mourinho's champions came to the DAVE WHELAN STADIUM, the visitors for Wigan's first ever top flight match. They weren't expected to last long and were beaten 1-0 by Hernan Crespo's brilliant late goal. Seven years later, they're still here, defying logic time and time again. Their escape last season was one of the more improbable of the modern era, as they beat both Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle to survive. Actually, scratch that: they outplayed Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle to survive. There has arguably never been a classier, more cerebral fight against relegation, Roberto Martinez's innovative 3-4-3 formation flummoxing loftier opponents. Wigan do tend to start slowly but for once have not been disrupted in the transfer market. It bodes well.
Team news: Chelsea target Victor Moses starts for Wigan. Otherwise they are as expected, with their new striker Arouna Kone on the bench. Chelsea give Eden Hazard a first league start, while the impressive Ryan Bertrand replaces Ramires, who is ill. Oscar is on the bench.
Wigan: Al Habsi; Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa; Maloney, McArthur, McCarthy, Ramis, Moses; Di Santo. Subs: Pollitt, Kone, Jones, Crusat, Watson, Gomez, Boselli.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, A.Cole; Lampard, Mikel; Hazard, Mata, Bertrand; Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Cahill, Ferreira, Essien, Meireles, Oscar, Sturridge.
Referee: Mike Jones.
New season, new haircut. For Gary Neville. He's got a trendy new haircut. He's really joined the media now. He'll be getting a geek pie soon.
The first email. "Great to see that Brendan Rodgers' move has not stopped his teams delighting the neutrals," says schadenfreude's Gary Naylor.
Here come the teams. Wigan are wearing blue tracksuits, Chelsea are in their black and yellow away kits. The menace of the tracksuit top must be eradicated from the game. What purpose do they serve?
Hang on, where was the countdown to kick-off? How did we know the game's started? I miss Euro 2012. It's Wigan, kicking from right to left, who manage to overcome the lack of Countdown Man, though. They keep the ball for 10 seconds, allowing their fans to boo John Terry whenever he gets a touch. That's not very Olympic and will no doubt lead to a spate of tedious think pieces from bored columnists.
GOAL! Wigan 0-1 Chelsea (Ivanovic, 2 min): What a start for Chelsea and what a sublime piece of skill from Eden Hazard to create the goal. There was seemingly no danger as the Belgian received a pass with his back to goal on the halfway line, only for a wonderful turn to make his marker, Ramis, look like a mug. With the entire left side of the Wigan defence going missing, he slipped a lovely pass through to the marauding Ivanovic of all people. He romped forward and then stroked a cool finish past Al-Habsi and into the bottom-right corner.
4 min: Does this mean Chelsea are going to win the league?
5 min: "Sorry, Gary, but there are no neutrals where Liverpool are concerned. There are Liverpool fans, and those who wish they were Liverpool fans," says Matt Dony. "As far as this game goes, I'm hoping to see Wigan continue their attractively attacking/bonkers approach, and buckle the swashes all the way to a 5 goal win. Seems to be the trend." It would seem unlikely at the moment. They're all over the shop here.
6 min: PENALTY TO CHELSEA! A tale of two debuts. On the right side of the area, Hazard diddles past Figueroa and then past Ramis, who clearly clips the Belgian in the area. Hazard is causing havoc, but Ramis is having the mother of all stinkers.
GOAL! Wigan 0-2 Chelsea (Lampard pen, 7 min): Lampard hammers a firm penalty straight down the middle, beating the dive of Al-Habsi, who was a bit unlucky. This is the stuff European champions are made of. Didier who?
8 min: This wouldn't be the first time Wigan have been hammered at home on the opening day. Two years ago, they lost 4-0 to Blackpool. And, indeed, were beaten 6-0 by Chelsea a week later.
11 min: Caldwell steams into the back of Hazard and picks up a booking. That's a moronic challenge, presumably done in a bid to rough up Hazard. Welcome to English football, etc. Well done, Gary. "For a moment I thought you had written that Gary Naylor had really joined the media, then I realised that I had the wrong Gary N," parps Prateek Chadha. "My poor reading skills aside, given how often the man contributes to MBMs and that the transfer window is still open, let me be the first to suggest that the Guardian signs him up!"
13 min: Wigan have improved slightly, but have managed to do nothing more than swing a few harmless crosses into the Chelsea box.
"Do you think anyone out there can explain why we have bought 14 attacking midfielders but not one defensive midfielder?" says Carl Whinder. "I would like to argue that John Obi Mikel is a tryer but he's not even that." I'm amazed that Mikel is still at Chelsea.
15 min: The big issues, covered in detail by your Guardian: should James McCarthy and James McArthur be allowed to play in the same midfield, let alone the same team? If only for the sake of football writers.
17 min: There is a feeling that those two early Chelsea games have killed the game. The crowd are subdued and so are the Wigan players. They weren't expecting this. I suppose that's the difference between early season Wigan and late season Wigan.
18 min: Torres, who's been quiet so far, speeds past Alcaraz on the left and is bumped over by the defender rather aggressively, but Mike Jones rules there was nothing in it. I beg to differ, but Chelsea can afford to be phlegmatic about it given that they lead 2-0.
19 min: The game nearly gets the Wigan goal it needs as Di Santo, under pressure from Terry and Luiz, heads just over the angle of post and bar from eight yards out. "That's a pretty terrible challenge there," says Andrew Enloe. "Since the intent is to hurt Hazard and clearly not to get the ball, why isn't it a red card? I'm not saying tackling needs to be phased out of the game, but those are the kinds of challenges that can ruin a player's career if you get it wrong. Stupid and needless." I suppose the argument would be that it wasn't high or two-footed.
23 min: Mata slides a low cross from the left into the six-yard box but Al-Habsi plunges on the ball before it can reach Torres. "Blame Manchester City for the tracksuit thing," says Fraser Thomas. Manchester City, responsible for so many of the game's evils.
25 min: Wigan win a corner on the left. They take it short. And make a mess of it.
26 min: Early impressions of Hazard are that he is very quick and direct, but also very unselfish. He's beaten his man with ease every time. He needs to work on his backheels though.
27 min: Chelsea get away with one as Cech races to collect a loose ball, but seemed to grab it as it just veered outside the area on the left. It probably wouldn't have been a red card - at the ground where Cech picked up his only ever red card for Chelsea in a 3-1 defeat in 2009 - but it would have been a free-kick. It was one of those that was arguably too tight to give, however. Wigan protest, but Chelsea play on and counter, with Torres threatening on the edge of the area. He eventually overruns the ball and is tackled.
29 min: It's not clear what's up with him, but Terry seems to be carrying some sort of injury. If pushed, Dr Steinberg diagnoses a problem with his knee.
31 min: Wigan have dominated possession. Chelsea lead 2-0.
32 min: Wigan's players are taking it in turns to foul Hazard, reflecting the threat the Belgian carries. McCarthy is the latest to foul him, but escapes a booking after a long chat with Mike Jones.
34 min: Now the yellow card is out - but for David Luiz, who clipped Maloney.
38 min: Moses runs at Cole and then fizzes in a cross-shot that Cech palms behind for a corner on the left. That was flying into the top corner.
42 min: There's not much happening. I miss dressage.
43 min: Moses adds another couple of million to his price tag by controlling a long ball on his chest, before flicking it over Cole, driving down the right flank and, er, driving a cross out of play. That sums up Wigan's attacking in the first half. There's been plenty of attractive approach play, but ultimately Chelsea are comfortable.
45 min+1: Franco Di Santo wastes a glorious chance to get Wigan back into the game on the stroke of half time. He was played in behind the Chelsea defence by a brilliantly curved pass from left to right from Figueroa that took out both Luiz and Terry. Di Santo was clean through on goal, but a dreadfully heavy first touch allowed Cech to come off his line and close the angle. Di Santo tried to dink it over him but Cech took the pace off his effort and Luiz was on hand to mop up before the ball could cross the line.
45 min+2: With the last kick of the half, Maloney curls a free-kick straight at Cech.
Half time: Wigan 0-2 Chelsea. Who needs Pep Guardiola?
46 min: Off we go again. Wigan will be hoping for a better start to this half than they managed in the first half. "As a Chelsea fan, Mikel can be a big waste sometimes, but he does step up when needed," says Joe Balfour. "Since Essien got injured, we've needed the 'Makelele role' filled. In the Champions League Final, I think Mikel was our best player, stepping up and making tackles and breaking up attacks. I do miss Maka though." Forget Maka - there are strong rumours linking Kaka with Manchester United. I say strong rumours. I mean people chatting hot air on Tw*tter.
47 min: Maloney swings a free-kick into the area from the left. Cech punches it as clear as Alcaraz on the edge of the area. His cross drops to Di Santo in the six-yard box, but his touch takes him wide and Lampard clears his ball in.
48 min: Terry is down after a nasty challenge from Di Santo, who left a foot in. Somehow he's not booked.
49 min: Wigan make their first change, Jordi Gomez on for Shaun Maloney. "To your question: Liverpool fans, who seem to labour under the impression Pep can turn Jay Spearing into Iniesta," says Philip Podolsky. "Now I'm not necessarily saying he can't, I just don't share the sense of certainty."
53 min: Torres scampers down the right flank and pulls a cross back to Cole, all alone on the edge of the area. It sits up invitingly for the volley but he gets it all wrong and slices his effort high and wide.
54 min: Bertrand leaves a Wigan defender in his wake with an electric burst down the left. He finds Lampard, who should shoot first time but is instead robbed by Caldwell.
57 min: McArthur is booked for a tackle from behind on Lampard. The match is getting scrappy and fragmented. There's no flow to it at all. Which suits Chelsa more than Wigan.
61 min: "It wasn't just Bertrand's pace that electrified, but the turn as well," says Nate Elliott. "He looks better and better. Finally something useful from the Chelsea academy. But why the interest in Moses? He just doesn't look very good. And it's not as if RdM needs any more wide players; he's already been busy loaning out the ones he's got! A right back seems more in order." And a midfielder.
63 min: Ramis atones for his earlier errors by clearing off the line from Torres. He was played through by an errant header and though he was struggling to keep his balance, he poked the ball past Al-Habsi only for Ramis to refuse to give in and deny Chelsea a third. From which ...
64 min: Wigan stream forward on the counter-attack and a win a corner on the right as Luiz clears Moses's dangerous ball across the face of goal behind. Before the corner's taken, Oscar comes on to make his Chelsea debut. Off goes Hazard. When the corner's taken, nothing happens.
67 min: Arouna Kone comes on to make his debut for Wigan, replacing the hapless Franco Di Santo.
68 min: The first glimpse of Oscar. He runs on to a flick on from Torres and despite Ramis having a few yards on him, the Brazilian steams past the Spaniard before dragging a low shot just wide of the left post from the right.
70 min: A horrible miss from Jordi Gomez. He was found by a lovely chipped pass from Figueroa, but put a dismal free header well wide. The flag went up, but he was well onside. "He's cleared that," says Sky's Alan Smith. Quite.
73 min: Lampard fouls Gomez 25 yards from goal, giving Wigan a free-kick in a promising position. Though given their finishing today, I'm not sure what qualifies as promising for Wigan.
74 min: Three Wigan players, Gomez, Ramis and Figueroa, stand over the ball. And Gomez hammers a low effort straight at Cech, who did well not to spill it.
76 min: Nuri Sahin is close to signing for Arsenal. There are so many playmakers in the Premier League this season, Lee Cattermole isn't going to know what to do with himself. He's spoilt for choice.
80 min: Wigan make their final change, Ben Watson coming on for James McArthur. They've not been poor today, but really the game was over after five minutes. They've never recovered from that terrible start and Chelsea have only had to keep their concentration since then.
83 min: Chelsea bring on Raul Meireles, complete with silly haircut, for Juan Mata.
84 min: Kone misses a great chance to make it an uncomfortable finish for Chelsea, putting a free header wide from Gomez's corner from close range. He should have scored but got too much on the header to send it off target.
85 min: Wigan are finishing this strongly, Chelsea having gone to sleep. Moses reaches the byline on the left and finds Kone in the six-yard box. His instinctive prod is blocked smartly by Cech but the ball spoons up for Gomez, who puts the rebound inches wide with an acrobatic overhead kick. Frank Lampard has been booked for something or other by the way.
87 min: Torres is brought down just outside the area by a flailing leg from Watson on the right. From the resulting free-kick, Luiz's header is well saved by Al-Habsi.
89 min: Oscar's chip finds
Dani Alves Ivanovic in the area, but this time he's too unselfish, opting to try and set up Torres instead of score his second goal. He gets the pass wrong and the chance is gone.
90 min: From Kone's pass, Gomez bends one a few yards wide of the right post. Wigan's finishing has been shoddy.
90 min+1: There will be three minutes of stoppage time.
Full time: Wigan 0-2 Chelsea. A routine victory for Chelsea ensures Roberto Di Matteo avoids talk of the sack for at least another week. Well done to him. The European champions barely had to get out of second gear today and fully deserved their victory, the architect of which was Eden Hazard. He'll dominate the headlines after an excellent Premier League debut, setting up Branislav Ivanovic's goal, winning Frank Lampard's penalty and generally impressing with his all-round play. Oscar also sparkled when he came on. Wigan weren't bad, but were stunted by a dozy start. After that, Chelsea switched off and let them back into the game - but there was never any real prospect of them salvaging anything from it. Thanks for reading. Bye.