Wigan were left to rue an awful start to the opening game of the season, as European Champions Chelsea put them to the sword in the opening minutes.
With only seven minutes played, Roberto Martinez’s men faced an uphill task following goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard.
Ivanovic was sent through as the impressive Eden Hazard led a Chelsea break at pace right through the heart of the Latics defence. The Serbian international, who was allowed to play despite his red card against Manchester City last weekend, finished confidently past Ali Al Habsi.
Hazard was then upended by debutant Ivan Ramis, and Lampard smashed his penalty under the body of Al Habsi. It was a horror start to Ramis’s career as he tormented early on. Although he crew in confidence as did his team, and produced an excellent clearance in the second half, when Fernando Torres was through on goal.
Victor Moses twice went close for the Latics, forcing Peter Cech into a sharp save and subs Jordi Gomez and Arouna Kone went close late on, as they went in search for a way back into the clash.
Despite the poor start the Latics dominated much of the play but were lacking the killer touch. The absence of Jean Beasejouer was telling as the Latics were continually left wanting in the final third.
|Arouna Kone & Franco Di Santo|
They were unlucky not to get at least one goal that their play deserved. Kone looked impressive when he came on, and once he settled was a real threat, and is sure to be involved from the start against Southampton.
Manager Roberto Martinez speaking after the games was delighted with the work rate and desire his side displayed, despite the poor start: “In those first six minutes we looked exposed, created our own problems and were punished as a result. We started with a low intensity just like a pre season game, against a side like Chelsea we could not afford to do that.”
The Spaniard went on to explain: “We were unfortunate not to get a goal we deserved; you know how well Chelsea defend but we created good chances that didn’t quite find a way through. So delighted with the reaction, disappointed we couldn’t start the game with the same high intensity as the response but it’s left us with many positives.”
“We were the best side for 75 minutes which is a real statement against a team like Chelsea.”
Despite the horror start fans will have left the DW on Sunday afternoon, quietly confident that their side do indeed have enough to stay clear of the drop zone, and will be backing the team at Southampton next weekend.