On Friday, during my game previews, Sam wondered how Wigan could score? Today, Chelsea gave us an answer, complacency. For much of Wigan’s trip to Stamford Bridge, it was Chelsea on the back foot.
Completely against the run of play, John Terry put Chelsea ahead twenty-five minutes in. Before that, Chelsea saw Wigan have five near misses and two saved off the line. It was definitely not the opening twenty minutes Chelsea were looking for, but it did serve as a reminder that it hasn’t been easy for the Blues since Hiddink was appointed temporary manager.
After Terry’s opener, Chelsea had plenty of first half chances to put the game away but simply didn’t do the job. The second half saw Wigan return to the ascendancy but doing very little to get the equalizer. However it was after Michael Mancienne’s substitution for Ricardo Quaresma that Wigan found an equalizer they deserved. It certainly helped that Olivier Kapo had to get past Anelka and that the space Mancienne was covering from his left back roll was the location Kapo ended up in, a slow roller all that was required to beat Petr Cech. It may have been the first goal Chelsea have allowed under Guus Hiddink, but Chelsea’s second half performance only matched those of the previous two outings.
Now to the big point of contention, Chelsea’s game winner. Michael Ballack’s flick on just inside the penalty area was a weak one, Lampard’s header didn’t exactly have that much pace on it. However the looking effort had just enough on it to be Chris Kirkland and the Chelsea celebrations ensued. But live something didn’t look right to the situation, replay confirmed how jobbed out Wigan can feel.
Getting a closer view of the game winner, look carefully at Frank Lampard and former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot. There was just enough of a push to take Melchiot out of the play, and to have the goal disallowed. Yes you may argue that it was a weak push and that Melchiot should have went up stronger to head the ball clear, I’m having none of that. Letter of the law states that goal should be disallowed and Steve Bruce has every right to be upset about it.
Wigan deserved at least a share of the spoils and would have got them had Lampard’s goal been correctly disallowed. While Chelsea got three points out of this, Wigan again exposed Chelsea’s lack of a killer attitude in the second half, and it was only after Wigan equalized did they wake up and get a game winner. While all Chelsea is doing is fighting for second place, and are currently in second place, they have to start playing better football in the second half. Yes Guus has ‘just got the result’, but if Wigan could crack Chelsea’s complacency, just about anyone could.
Other Thoughts From Today’s Action
Two jinxes couldn’t be broken today.
1) Wenger can’t do any complaining about Fulham ‘not playing football’ because Fulham out played Arsenal full stop. Until Arsenal prove otherwise, my predictions for their games will simply be 0-0.
2) As for Liverpool, make it eight years now they haven’t won at the Riverside. Despite the open Liverpool had, once Alonso’s own goal on the half hour they simply gave up the ghost. It was sad to see what happened to Liverpool in the second half. That said, that was a much needed three points Gareth Southgate needed and for the evening gets them out of the relegation zone.
I was simply wrong about the fight West Brom would have against Everton. However they just don’t have the class in front of goal to scare anyone. Sure Tim Howard had to do a little bit of work in the early kickoff, but he didn’t have much difficulty doing his job.