Wigan Athletic v Chelsea – as it happened

Chelsea play like drains, go ahead anyway and then give away a daft late equaliser as Wigan battle back to take a point

3.00pm: Early arrivals were treated to this excerpt from the Secret Footballer's analysis about whether Andre Villas-Boas is the new Kevin Keegan, and there's no reason why you latecomers should miss out:

Player power takes many forms. It can strike over an unjust fine or even when a manager criticises performances. It can strike in the face of unfavourable training hours or because of negative tactics. Often, though, it strikes when a manager tries to change too much too soon.

These are interesting times for André Villas-Boas, Chelsea's manager. A run of three victories, including the 2-1 defeat of the Premier League leaders Manchester City, means that the Portuguese is only seven points off top spot and safely through to the knockout stage of the Champions League. But it has been anything but a comfortable ride and there have been casualties along the way.

Villas-Boas has attacked pundits, players, officials and managers at various points in an attempt to justify his tactics and deflect blame from poor results. Perhaps the most high-profile spat came when he rejected Gary Neville's assertion that David Luiz appeared to be under the control of a 10-year-old with a PlayStation. If ever Villas-Boas does restore Chelsea to their former position of title challengers, Sir Alex Ferguson must be licking his lips at the prospect of engaging the former Porto manager in a round of mind games. This could be Kevin Keegan all over again. As for Neville, he has been a breath of fresh air since his appointment at Sky.


5.00pm: Since the start of 2010 these teams have met three times, Chelsea winning every game with an aggregate scoreline of 15-0. That an average of five goals per game, maths fans. In all Chelsea have won 10 of 12 league games against Wigan, and on six of their seven visits to the DW Stadium. Wigan have won their last two away games, but have lost four of their last five at home and haven't won here since August. That's a very serious lack of encouragement for the home side.

5.05pm: And I've got some teams!
Wigan: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Stam, Jones, Diamé, McCarthy, Moses, Gomez, Sammon. Subs: Pollitt, Gohouri, Crusat, Watson, Di Santo, McArthur, Rodallega.
Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Romeu, Lampard, Meireles, Sturridge, Drogba, Mata. Subs: Turnbull, Torres, Mikel, Malouda, Ferreira, McEachran, Kalou.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

5.08pm: ESPN are interviewing Juan Mata. He's been to the theatre once since his arrival in London – to see the Michael Jackson musical Thriller Live. "I like," he reveals. "Is good."

5.10pm: Frank Lampard, obviously, is back in the team today. Is that because AVB has suddenly decided he's great, or because he's saving Ramires for the Spurs game on Thursday?

5.15pm: "He's like my own son," says Dave Whelan of Roberto Martínez, which is votes of confidence go is pretty emphatic.

5.24pm: There's something ineffably melancholic about Ray Stubbs these days, I find.

5.26pm: I know it's a funny old game and stuff, but I can't see anything other than an away win today. Sturridge/Drogba/Mata as a forward line is too good for them to cope with.

5.29pm: The players are on the pitch. Action very much imminent.

1 min: Peeeeep! We're off!

2 min: Incidentally, it's not too late for you to call our own Barry Glendenning and pledge some money for a good cause. 020 3353 4368

3 mins: Cech hares to the edge of his area to collect an over-hit through-ball, and shows his awareness by letting go as he slides out of it.

4 mins: John Terry getting booed every time he touches the ball. Can anyone with a better memory than myself remember why? Other than being from the sounds of things a fairly objectionable human being, obviously.

6 mins: Gomez collects Moses's pass on the edge of the penalty area, surrounded by black (Chelsea) shirts. He jiggles into the box and the goes down, the referee is well-placed and unimpressed.

7 mins: I've not yet mentioned this week's world pie-eating championships, held in Wigan. ESPN's commentary team, on the other hand, have already mentioned them half a dozen times. Enough now. Northerners eat pies. It's funny. We get it.

10 mins: Chelsea work their way into Wigan's penalty area for the first time, but Sturridge's low centre is easily cleared at the near post.

12 mins: Daniel Sturridge's record against Wigan isn't great, incidentally: three games – all of them while he was at Manchester City – and two defeats.

13 mins: Nothing has so far happened that would merit the description "good", though Mata just attempted a backheel flick to Sturridge that wasn't far off being excellent.

14 mins: John Terry comes close with a vicious dipping 30-yarder. A pretty good effort, that was, though he was under absolutely no pressure. The keeper dives full length, but the ball flies a couple of yards wide.

16 mins: Chelsea need to buck up their ideas pretty fast if they think they're getting five goals in this one. Wigan are defending very deep, meaning that when Chelsea's midfield picks up the ball on the halfway line there's 50 yards between them and an attacker. They then attempt a long pass which gets headed away by Caldwell.

20 mins: In other football news, David Beckham is expected to arrive in Paris tomorrow to complete a move to Paris St-Germain. Here's a link for francophones.

21 mins: Ashley Cole has had a particularly poor opening 20 minutes. Several misplaced passes already, and he just let the ball bounce out of play.

23 mins: Bosingwa's fine cross is headed away at the near post and Romeu volleys the ball back towards goal from 25 yards. It would have gone wide anyway, but al-Habsi made sure with a diving save.

26 mins: Completed passes so far: Chelsea 190, Wigan 184. Chelsea are hogging the ball greedily as Wigan defend the edge of their box, but they're yet to figure out a way of actually getting into the box with any frequency.

29 mins: Any minute now Chelsea will realise that playing 87 passes in useless areas before sending in an optimistic cross that's easily swatted away isn't going to cut it, and try something else.

32 mins: Wigan in attack shock! The ball ends up with Victor Moses in the middle of Chelsea's penalty area, and Ivanovic clears off his toes for a corner. A minute later, the corner having been cleared, Diamé's right-footed shot from the left corner of the penalty area curls the wrong way and goes wide.

35 mins: John Terry joined in Chelsea's last attack as a supplementary striker, but even then when Mata crossed the ball Chelsea had two men in the penalty area to contest the header, and Wigan had six.

38 mins: Wigan give Chelsea a taste of their own medicine ... by stringing a dozen passes together in their own half and then giving the ball away.

39 mins: Chance of the half! Meireles chips a measured cross into the Wigan penalty area and Drogba dives ahead of his marker to win the ball and send it trundling just wide of goal.

40 mins: Moses cleverly wins a corner, which falls to Caldwell at the back post. He shifts the ball onto his left foot but his touch is slightly heavy and the ball is intercepted.

41 mins: Penalty claim! A decent cross from the left is half-cleared and Moses arrives to hammer the ball goalwards. It hits Ivanovic on the arm and bounces away. Craig Burley on ESPN is saying it should have been a penalty, and the referee was perfectly placed. Me, I'm not sure. His arms were tucked right into his body – there was absolutly no attempt to make himself bigger by putting his arms out. Had his arms magically disappeared at that moment, the ball would have bounced off his chest. He could have held them behind his back, but I'm not sure he did anything worth punishing.

44 mins: Damien Neva emails to beg for a Hernan Crespo moment. Great goal that, and a horrible injustice. "Something, please," begs Damien, "I feel drowsy." I know what you mean.

45+1 mins: Only one minute of stoppage time here, and it starts with Meireles volleying wide from 20 yards. The commentators are talking pies again.

45+1 mins: And it ends with Wigan's best moment, the ball being rolled across the goal by Sammon and Moses arrives only just too late to turn it in. Half-time.

Half-time thoughts: Everything appears to be going to plan for Wigan, though it's not making for much of a spectacle. They've defended deep and in numbers, Chelsea have shown absolutely no creativity and only one of their very many optimistic crosses has actually threatened to lead to anything. At the other end, Wigan might feasibly have won a penalty and could have scored with the last kick of the half, which isn't bad given that they've had about 8% of the possession.

Pie-eating latest: "I'm perpetually confused by the characterisation of us northerners as pie-scoffers," rages Tom Midlane. "Yes, we all own ferrets and live in 'modest' red-brick terraces with outhouses, but surely pies are geographically neutral? West Ham fans don't seem to be portrayed as boss-eyed cockney wideboys forever tucking into their pie, mash and eels. Curious that. There's even a posh pie shop in Spitalfields Market, but I guess it's different if the filling is something poncey like pumpkin and goats cheese. Grrr." Well quite. Though we prefer quiches down here.

Tactical update: Chelsea are bringing Kalou on for Romeu.

46 mins: Peeeeeep! They're off! Again!

47 mins: Gomez collects Ivanovic's weak clearance and sends a shot wide of goal from 20-odd yards. Cech had it covered anyhow. "I'm trying to keep awake by watching some old Saint and Greavsies," writes Jon Millard. "Strange. Billions of oil dollars and a dedicated hype machine = this crud. £4.50 and Mick Harford = Entertainment. Go figure."

48 mins: Didier Drogba, who's not having a good game, is upset because someone hurt his arm.

49 mins: Figueroa tries a shot from almost exactly the spot where Gomez had his a couple of minutes back. It's on target, but an easy save.

52 mins: Victor Moses juggles the ball in Chelsea's penalty area before producing perhaps the least on-target shot of the season, a sharp volleyed chance was high, wide and, though to be fair he was under pressure, utterly useless. Chelsea take the resulting throw-in.

55 mins: Kalou gets to the byline and pulls the ball back, Drogba improvises a shot that flies just wide of the near post. Good effort.

58 mins: Frank Lampard is bleeding from the mouth after Diamé accidentally smacked him with a stray elbow.

59 mins: Well that came out of nowhere. With Lampard still off the pitch, Cole's long crossfield ball over Wigan's defence finds Sturridge running into the penalty area. His first touch is good, his second sends the ball flying low and hard across goal and in at the far post. Very nicely done, that.

65 mins: "Pies, like sex and football, might be universal pleasures, but frankly I'd be proud (and a bit territorial) to live in an especially pie-scoffing region (but then I am from Glasgow)," writes Ryan Dunne. "Northeners should embrace their culinary heritage, Italy and pizza style! (Plus didn't Wigan win some kind of award for the best footballing pies in England? It's not just a spurious cliche!)" I don't know about Wigan's pies but I spoke to the head chef at Morecambe earlier this year. He takes his pies very seriously indeed, and definitely has some awards to prove it.

66 mins: Substitution: Chelsea replace Mata with Mikel, presumably with Thursday in mind. "In answer to Tom Midlake, I'm from Wigan but live in London, so I speak from experience; the caricature is accurate," writes Chris Doyle. "People in Wigan literally walk the streets eating pies. The are no bakeries in Wigan, just pie shops that happen to also sell bread. In London you can't even get a pie in Gregg's. To me, that makes it a pie shop that doesn't sell pies."

70 mins: Wigan are preparing a double substitution but first they take a corner, which ends with McCarthy controlling the ball on the edge of the area, bursting forward a few yards and half-volleying it well wide of the near post when he really should have done quite a lot better.

71 mins: A lovely ball from Bosingwa releases Sturridge in loads of space down the right. Kalou is unmarked at the back post, but Sturridge waits too long before releasing the ball and his cross is blocked.

72 mins: And now for that double substitution. Jones and Sammon come off, Di Santo and Rodallega come on.

73 mins: John Terry goes down injured, and this looks bad.

73 mins: Terry seems to have hurt his left knee landing after challenging Di Santo for a high ball. He's limping off, but not being substituted immediately. In fact, he seems fine. A miracle recovery. He was beeing booed throughout, obviously.

76 mins: Chelsea escape! Ivanovic's back-pass is too weak, but Cech gets there just before Rodallega. His clearance, though, doesn't go very far before being returned with interest. Di Santo spins on the ball, with the goalkeeper nowhere, and shoots goalwards but Ivanovic is well placed to head clear. Cech, though, is now limping.

78 mins: Now Sturridge is rolling around, apparently with a buttock complaint. He, too, turns out to be fine. The Wigan fans are by now booing everybody.

79 mins: Florent Malouda is preparing to come on for Chelsea, their final substitution. So no need for Torres then. "The nickname of people from Wigan is 'pie-eaters'," point-of-informations Sean Lynch. "It is generally taken as fact that this is because of the amount of pies the townspeople consume and the amount of pie shops in the town (the most per sq mile of any town/city centre in the UK apparently). However, the real reason that Wiganers are known as 'pie-eaters' is because they were the first town to go back to work in the General Strike of 1926 and hence were said to have eaten humble pie by the neighbouring towns."

80 mins: Sturridge is coming off, with Malouda replacing him.

81 mins: "I was going to let the matter go but that last back pass has changed my mind. Ivanovic has been absolutely heinous. And brutal. Brutally heinous," complains JR in Illinois. It's true, he's had a poor game. Almost enough to make you pine for David Luiz.

85 mins: Roberto Mancini will be having sleepful nights after this one. In fact, if he's watching there's a good chance he's having a sleepful afternoon. Chelsea are winning, but they've not excelled.

GOAL! Wigan 1 Chelsea 1 (Gomez, 88 mins)

88 mins: Nice little move that for Wigan, which ends with a lovely pass from Di Santo for the onrushing Rodallega, bursting into the penalty area just to the left of centre. He tries to roll the ball across goal but there's no pace on the ball and Cech will surely intercept. But no! He lets the ball bounce off his arms and Gomez is left with a tap-in.

90 mins: We'll have four minutes of stoppage time.

90 mins: Stoppage time still hasn't quite started, and Di Santo has a headed half-chance, perhaps more of a quarter-chance, that flies well wide.

90+1 mins: There's only one team trying to win this. Stam cuts in from the right wing and crosses to the far post, where Di Santo heads across goal and wide. The referee blows his whistle for a foul on Bosingwa. I'm not convinced, but it didn't much matter.

90+2 mins: Moses has the ball on the right and Di Santo is entirely unmarked in the middle. A decent, early pass would have sent him clear on goal. Instead the pass is late and underhit and the ball is cleared.

90+3 mins: When I say "the ball is cleared" what I meant, of course, is "Di Santo is obviously taken out by Bosingwa". Could have been a free-kick or worse, but to be fair the referee has ignored all sorts of plausible reasons to stop the game all day.

90+4 mins: Peeep! It's all over!

Final thoughts: That's as deserved as a draw can be when one team barely touches the ball for an entire half. Chelsea were pretty dismal, absolutely idea-free in a first half when they controlled possession and given hope of victory only by a goal from nowhere. But as soon as Wigan didn't have anything to defend, they started attacking. They brought on two strikers, and were the only team that looked like scoring from then on. Sure, it took a bit of a goalkeeping blunder for them to actually score, but this has to go down as Martínez 1 Villas-Boas 0.

For Chelsea, there's no good way of looking at this result. Too many poor performances, particularly from Drogba and Ivanovic. An apparent lack of motivation and ambition. The equaliser was just hideous, in timing and construction. They're a long way off looking like champions, however good their three previous results.

Anyway, that's all from me. It's been a pleasure, of sorts. Bye!

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