Lampard the difference again as Chelsea defeat Wigan 4-1.
This week’s fixture against Wigan Athletic saw Juan Mata start on the bench, leading only to confusion and frustration for Chelsea fans. The Spaniard had reportedly been suffering from a virus however.
Despite the omission of the number ten, Chelsea took the lead inside 24 minutes after a sublime finish from Ramires. Assisted by a perfectly weighted first-time pass from Fernando Torres, the Brazilian was able to open up his body and place it on the inside post.
Prior to the goal, the first half failed to entertain as the majority of Chelsea’s play was drowned out by their own inability to produce a final product. Wigan meanwhile posed little threat, and happily ended the half with a deficit of just one.
It was a similar story at the beginning of the second half, and it could only lead to an inevitable second goal from Chelsea, scored by Eden Hazard. Cesar Azpilicueta once again displayed his crossing abilities as he found the Belgian in space, leaving the £32 million signing with an unchallenged finish.
Chelsea then got that familiar feeling when Shaun Maloney was able to beat Petr Cech with a well-worked goal that agonisingly trickled into the net leaving Branislav Ivanovic unable to clear off the line.
Despite Wigan coming to life, mainly through Franco Di Santo, it wasn’t to be another 2-2, as Frank Lampard drove Hazard’s pass into the bottom left-hand corner in the 86th minute. Once again it was all about Chelsea’s number eight, as he delivered a man-of-the-match performance with his defence-shredding passes.
It got even better for the London side when Marco Marin came on as a substitute and found the net with a header in the 92nd minute. It was a game that could have gone horribly wrong for the home team, but Lampard’s goal proved to be the turning point.
The Observer, Dominic Fifield: “Chelsea were becoming increasingly edgy in this contest with the final whistle still four minutes away, their authority rather undermined by memories of recent failings, when reassurance was found from a familiar source. Frank Lampard waited until then to make a proper mark, a calmly placed and precise finish from the edge of the area securing goal No198 for this club and a first win in five matches for this team. The veteran’s class is a permanent, as are the calls for his time at this club to be extended beyond the summer.”
The Independent on Sunday, Glenn Moore: “Hold the tumbrils, put away the scaffold, Rafa Benitez survives for another week. Probably, since nothing is certain at Chelsea. It was close, though. Had Mike Dean not decided Ashley Cole’s 71st-minute handball was inadvertent when he blocked Ronnie Stam’s shot in the penalty area the executioner may have been put to work.”
The Sunday Telegraph, Jason Burt: “They came to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Defeat — even a draw, which appeared likely at one stage of this nervy contest — could have spelt the end for Rafael Benítez as Chelsea’s interim manager. But, instead, the goals and the relief came and the César in question was César Azpilicueta, another Spaniard, who was comfortably his team’s man of the match and gained the plaudits.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A run of four games without a win came to an end at Stamford Bridge. It was a victory which keeps us third in the Barclays Premier League table.”