Wigan Athletic 0-2 Chelsea – Match Reports, Goal Videos, Robbie’s Reaction

The match reports

The Guardian, Dominic Fifield: “This contest had drifted just beyond the half-hour when the referee Mike Jones’ patience finally snapped. Eden Hazard was face down on the turf, crumpled this time by James McCarthy’s frantic tackle, but, rather than book the offender, Jones sought an explanation from the captain, Gary Caldwell, for Wigan’s apparent strategy to nullify the Belgian. Judging by the panic that gripped the home players whenever the No17 picked up possession, any perceived plan that might have been hatched felt decidedly flawed. Hazard illuminated this occasion on his Premier League debut, his play eventually fizzling out in a mixture of over-exuberance and fatigue as the adrenaline faded. But if this was the 21-year-old finding his feet, then Chelsea will be salivating over everything that awaits. At £32m the playmaker has not come cheap, and his price tag demands a smooth transition from Ligue 1 to English top flight, but this was a tantalising glimpse of his qualities.”

The Daily Telegraph, Chris Bascombe: “It has been a long wait, but Roman Abramovich finally has his hands on a prize he has craved for years. A multi-million pound signing, coveted by every major European club, who genuinely looks value for money. Given the number of stings he has suffered in the transfer market recently, particularly when Andrei Shevchenko and Fernando Torres are considered, the Chelsea owner must have been watching Eden Hazard’s Premier League debut with a certain degree of trepidation. However, such concerns will have evaporated within 90 seconds at the DW Stadium. That was how long it took for Hazard, with Wigan Athletic’s debutant centre-half Iván Ramis breathing on his pristine new Chelsea jersey, to turn exquisitely and speed away before sending Branislav Ivanovic clear for Chelsea’s opening goal. The applause which followed was directed at the set-up as much as the emphatic finish.”

The Independent, Ian Herbert: “We certainly know now that he will be what his name suggests, to any who are off the pace or off the ball when he takes it up. Eden Hazard will also be a substantial part of the nine-month story which lies ahead, even though the rapid start to Chelsea’s Premier League campaign which he provided did not expand into a comprehensive statement of intent to challenge the Manchester duopoly.”

The Official Chelsea FC Website: “Chelsea are out of the blocks with a bang after a comfortable away win at Wigan on the opening Sunday of the season, thanks to two goals inside the first six minutes. It was the perfect start to the new league campaign as Branislav Ivanovic smashes us into the lead inside two minutes after Eden Hazard had put him through with a slide-rule pass, and Hazard created a second just minutes later when he was fouled inside the area.”

The goals

2′ Ivanovic 0-1
7′ Lampard (pen) 0-2
Match of the Day highlights

Robbie’s Reaction

“I’m very pleased with the performance and result. It’s always tricky, the first game of the season, like you saw yesterday.

“We played away at Wigan who finished last season on a strong note. Last season we drew here and in the home game had a tough encounter. We were expecting a difficult game and the two early goals really helped us and settled a lot of nerves.

“I give a lot of credit to Wigan. They never gave up and still tried to go forward. We nearly scored a third which would have killed the game completely but we were quite comfortable. They didn’t create many clear cut chances, a couple of half chances but credit to Wigan. I like Roberto Martinez’s teams and what he tries to do.”

There are 44 comments

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  1. Cunningplan

    I posted this on the other thread but I’ll cut and paste here as well…..
    No need to apologise, Nick. I just thought there would have been a bit more activity after the first game, although there is signs of life with Ryan and Benjami posting.

    One more observation from yesterdays game which I hope is down to rustiness, was Cech and some of his distribution which put our defenders in difficult situations.

  2. mark_25

    Ok Nick you’ve set yourself the challenge.  You need to come up with a unique Hazard metaphor for each game over the next 4 years of his contract.

  3. Chris

    It was a good win, and Hazard looked like the real deal, but after the initial two goals, Wigan played us more or less even. Thank god they couldn’t put a decent ball on goal. We didn’t even seem to be trying to keep possession. Since when did a Chelsea team not care about possession? Sitting deep, absorbing pressure and trying to strike on the counter is not a recipe for long term success, especially against teams that go ahead early and have their own disciplined defenses. I was surprised to see Bertrand on the wing given the other players sitting on the bench. But given that we have three games in a week, some squad rotation must have been on Robbie’s mind.

  4. Cunningplan

    Ryan, I agree with regard Cech and his general kicking and awareness has been poor since our so called Barca transformation.
    I just thought it was more pronounced yesterday, either his standards are the same as last season, or our defenders weren’t switched on as they should have been. I certainly think he was more at fault, and it’s something that needs working on.

    • Ryan

      Don’t know if he is getting worse or it’s a case of the more you notice something the more you keep noticing it. It drives me nuts seeing him pump the ball up to Torres, Mata, Hazard and Bertrand. The last three will probably win two headers between them all season and Torres vs. Alcarez, Caldwell and Ramis isn’t a good match up. So why keep doing it? It’s not even as though we’re any good at winning the second ball.

      • E Is Mcsquare

        Someone should inform Cech that Drogba is not with us anymore.

        Good beginning. With Ramires available, the three behind Torres should get him enough balls at his feet.

        Any updates on getting rid of the passengers? I would dread the sight of Malouda in a blue shirt.

        Strangely, I am expecting least this season. The monkey is off the back. A lot of new signings, and a ‘new’ manager. A CL qualifying position is all I care this season, as long as we are putting together another great team for next 8 years.

        • Blueboydave

          Apart from 2 goals in the first 6 minutes, my most heartening moment of the day was realising that even with Ramires and Marin unavailable Malouda is so far down the pecking order now he couldn’t get his bum on the bench.

          Long may it continue, though the rumours of him moving on this transfer window do seem to have dried up?

        • Ryan

          Heard that Spurs have enquired about Meireles and Sturridge and we in turn enquired about Modric. But that was in the Mirror so they could’ve just made that up (it’s not exactly unheard of).
          Malouda will go in all likelihood, if we can find someone prepared to pay him an acceptable (to him) wage. McEachran has gone out on loan to Middlesborough today. Hutchinson went to Forest the other day. Can’t see Essien going anywhere. He provides good squad depth and nobody else would pay his wages, considering his injury record. Paulo Ferreira is a good squad player and club-man suited to helping our young Brazilians settle in. I expect there will be a role for him somewhere in the set-up when he retires. Can’t think of too many others who aren’t really going to play much part this season.

  5. Der_Kaiser

    Some encouraging signs, some less so, but early days and all that.

    Hazard obviously the big plus, impressive cameo from Oscar.  Defensively solid(ish), Torres and general lack of service a concern but he’ll get enough ammunition this season, just up to him to stick them away.  Concern is that if he doesn’t make a decent impact in the next couple of games his head will drop again.

    Definitely shouldn’t concede that much possession to anyone else, though; if Wigan had a finisher we could have found ourselves somewhat embarrassed.

    Please to say that between yesterday and the Community Shield there seems to have been a marked improvement on pre-season.  Brighton game looked a real cause for concern.

    Also a fine weekend elsewhere – QPR tonked, Liverpool fans going bonkers already and AVB winning friends up in North London.  A good opening weekend!

    • Cunningplan

      Agree with concerns with regard Torres, should have been awarded a stonewall penalty for that push in the first half, we could have done with Mr Dowd officiating the game.

      I do think he doesn’t get many favours with regard freekicks and penalties from the man in the middle. I think he showed that with his attempt when through on goal, when his toe poke was cleared off the line. I thought he was fouled (in the box) before he made contact with the ball, but he stayed on his feet and tried to score.

      He probably thought there’s no point me going down, as I won’t get anything

      • Der_Kaiser

        This is sort of the issue Drogba had when he first arrived, but in reverse.  He was denied a couple of nailed-on penalties in his first game or so (Villa away, I think?) but didn’t hit the deck.  Thereafter was where all the ‘diving’ came in, which plenty have suggested might have been his reaction to the lack of a decision in his favour previously.

  6. mark_25

    Poor old Malouda, now reviled by one and all.

    It would be interesting to create a first 11 of the most reviled players, of say the last 10 years.  Might be tricky to find a keeper.

  7. Cunningplan

    I think we should keep Malouda and buy Modric to go with all the other M’s we have in the team.
    Mata, Mikel,Meireles, McEachran and Marin.

    As a matter of fact we should only buy players who’s surname begin with M.

    • mark_25

      Good idea, then I Mark might get a game.

      McEachran is off to Middlesbrough on loan which is good because it’s a long way from Manchester so he won’t be distracted by his girlfriend.

      (Is the comment count up to an acceptable level yet?)

  8. Fat Nakago

    This a paraphrased from my match report on my blog: http://www.themagicworld.org/bloog/?p=4568

    Well…we’re off to good start. A cracking win at DW Stadium led by
    Eden Hazard. We were up 0-2 by the 7 minute mark and it was all downhill
    from there. Hazard was superb. Our defense held solid. And my only
    complaint is that after we were up 0-2, we took our foot off the gas.
    It’s a habit we have a tendency to fall into, and I’d like to see us
    curb that habit. We really need to work on our attack and better
    integrate Hazard and Oscar into the mix. We had a perfect opportunity
    today, but didn’t take it. That concerns me because we’re not going to
    be spotted an early 2 goal lead all that often this season. So I would
    have rather have seen us keep the pedal to the metal for the full 90
    minutes. Or at the first 45 minutes,

    We’ll have another opportunity on Wednesday when Newly-promoted Reading comes to town. We need to be merciless at the Bridge.

    Final takeaway from today’s match? We got to wear our 3rd kit!! Our third kit is WAY cooler looking than our regular away kit.

    • Ryan

      I quite like the aqua sash. It’s certainly better than the greasy spoon cafeteria tablecloths Utd. are wearing tonight.

      • mark_25

        The United shirts don’t look red.  I’ve been increasing the gain on the red gun on the TV but they still don’t look red.

        • Cunningplan

          Do you mean Kevin Pietersen? and I don’t know how to text anyway.

          As far as our 3rd kit goes the yellow slashes make us look like Super Heroes from a Marvel comic.

      • Fat Nakago

         ANYTHING beats ManU(re)’s tablecloth garb. But I’m still not too keen on our away kit.

        On Wigan’s away kit though, their logo looks like Skeletor.

  9. Benjami

    Its interesting how little Man Utd passes back to De Gea compared with us passing to Cech. Without Drogba upfront Cech kicking long balls to Mata/Hazard/Torres is just madness and RDM must stop us doing that.

    If I was playing us I would put considerable pressure on Terry/Luiz and Cech as you have a good chance of turning possession over relatively easily from our defence.

    For comparison (from http://www.whoscored.com) passes done by GK in the first game:

    Cech – 26
    Szczesny – 4
    Hart – 12
    De Gea – 15

    Cech to De Gea did 73% more passes.

    • Ryan

      Why do you think that is?

      We do seem to invite pressure. Are our full backs pushed on too far to help spread the play and get out of our own half? Cech certainly seems to try to hit the flanks with the halfway clearance quite a bit (not with any great accuracy).

      Do the midfielders drop too deep to receive passes from Terry and Luiz. They seem to be a bit on top of each other at times and don’t make the passing triangles that are commonly associated with playing out from the back. Our passing and movement looks too lateral/horizontal and doesn’t create enough angles to make it hard enough for teams to set up an effective press against us.

      Anyway. Fuck knows eh? We won. Maybe I’ll just leave it at that and see how we go.

  10. Musumba

    I think we should sign Leandro Damiao,Cavani,Demba Ba,Chicaritto or Falcao.Torres should be third choice striker ,he looks like he is running on a treadmill,  he should come in as a substitute for an already wrapped up game the way he does it for Spain.

    • E Is Mcsquare

      Am I the only one who is tired of this “lets buy x, y, z and then a, b and c” syndrome?
      I had hoped that by this time, we would be producing something out of the academy. Buying one or two new singing is one thing – but the expectations of buying a whole new team full of ‘stars’ just boggles my mind.

      • Ryan

        Trouble is in order to achieve the success the owner wants it’s not possible to rely on our academy. Is there a Cavani/Falcao loitering in our youth team? Nope. There isn’t one in Utd’s either that’s why they’ve spent £70million(fee+contract) getting a 29 year old from the team who finished one place below them last year. Isn’t one at City either. Thats why they’re paying Dzeko £170,000 a week to warm their bench.

        If you want to win PL and CL regularly you must recruit the best talent from around the world. Chelsea can only scout young players from within (I think?) a two hour drive. And for every top class prospect there is an Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham etc. chasing them too. We aren’t Barca, we don’t have a complete monopoly on every talented youngster for hundreds of miles around.

        We are building the academy but it takes decades, not seasons. Johan Cruyff started Barcelona on the right path a long, long time ago. We are playing catch-up.

        Arsenal’s academy has been effective but their unwillingness to buy world-class players x,y and z has meant that the best players they have nurtured have left and gone to teams who have spent money and succeeded. There has to be a balance. I’d love to see us produce great young players and I enjoy monitoring the progress of our u-21s and loanees but if the talent isn’t there to promote what do we do? Wait 5 years until it is? Failure to qualify for the CL regularly would have huge ramifications. RA wants us to be one of the worlds elite football clubs. Unfortunately our academy is not able to satisfy that need yet.

        • Blue_MikeL

          I am not sure there is any academy in the world, which is capable of supplying talent year after year. 

        • SweetDairyAir

           This current crop of Barcelona talent is a freak, once in a generation
          thing like Man Utd’s of the Neville brothers, Beckham, Butt, Giggs etc.
          This can be seen with the next, up-and-coming crop of Barcelona youth,
          who aren’t quite up to the level of Messi, Xavi, Fabregas, Iniesta etc.
          Even though they can poach Spanish youth from all over the country as
          opposed to us who have to compete with many other London clubs, their
          next crop won’t be as good as this lot. Bojan was sold, Cuenca is no
          Messi, Thiago is no Xavi or Iniesta, and in fact their policy is to now
          sell some of their youth every year to supplement their income because
          they are in so much debt. Unless we get incredibly lucky, the best most
          first-class academies (including ours) can hope for is to produce good
          squad players, maybe one genuinely top-rate first team player every few
          years, and sell the others as they don’t quite meet our high standards
          (Scott Sinclair, Tore etc).

          To stay at the top then, I agree that most teams have to buy expensive,
          world-class players to actually make up the bulk of their first eleven.
          When Arsenal get a better sponsorship deal in 2 years or so, and pay off
          their stadium, I think they’ll be a scary team. They have the youth
          system to fill out a lot of the squad, and if they pushed the boat out
          for the likes of Hazard, they’d be a top team again.

          But as for the present, our squad still has some dead wood with the
          likes of Malouda, Ferreira and arguably Meireles and Essien. In the long
          term I think Oscar will replace Lampard, orchestrating the midfield
          from a deeper position, next to the likes of Mikel or Romeu. Hazard and
          Mata are our long term creative threats. A defence of Cahill and Luiz
          looks good for when Terry finally succumbs to his injuries. When Cech
          retires we have a ready made replacement. There are signs of a great
          team there, and we aren’t even finished yet. We’re still aiming to bring
          in a right back (which is a weak position for us with sixty odd games
          this year, and Ivanovic our only current option (Ferreira maybe)), and a
          striker/right winger who can play out wide and take over from Torres in
          case of injury or rest. The names we are linked with show this…Hulk,
          Cavani, Moses etc. They’re similar players to Sturridge in the sense
          that they can play up front but also offer more attacking threat from
          wide. Di Matteo looks to be playing a more flexible shape this year
          (which might need tweaking so that Cech has more options to pass to as
          oppose to hoofing it up to Torres), and I’m excited to see what he can
          do with the two more signings he appears to want to finish the squad.

          If we fill these positions, I think we might have the strongest squad in
          the league this year (and hopefully our youth can step up to the plate
          and fill out any holes in the squad in the future to ensure long term
          success). Having said that though, Robbie will still have to find a way
          of rotating the squad or playing a system that isn’t so high tempo (less
          of the high line/high pressure on the opposition maybe, and more
          sitting back a bit like against Wigan (?)), if we are to survive to the
          end of the season with all the games we have coming up. But winning the
          Champions’ League seems to have opened Roman’s coffers, and attracted a
          higher calibre of player too. Now that the season has properly started, I
          can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and read this blog
          every few days to check up on what people are saying. I’m not surprised
          it was a bit quiet for a long time. The Olympics took away all of my
          enthusiasm for a bit, and I just wasn’t that excited about football. But
          after this weekend with all our rivals showing signs of weakness,
          seeing our fancy new players perform, I cannot wait. Bring it on.

  11. Cunningplan

    And on a side issue, is anyone else wondering why Citeh I buying Scott Sinclair, and dumping Adam Johnson. I think Johnson is head and shoulders above Sinclair, and I don’t mean just in height.

  12. E Is Mcsquare

    I never said we should not buy good players. Of course we have to keep getting one or two good players from the market. My question was more towards “lets add Hulk, Cavani, Gotze” to “Marko, Hazzard, Oscar”.

    Why is that? Suddenly, almost all of the team that won CL last year is shit?

    Lampard who provided so many great assists and created plays in last 3-4 CL matches is now suddenly old that we have to just go out and buy two 50million players to replace him overnight? He is still kicking ass. So is Terry. 

    Of course, we do have people we need to get rid of. Malouda, Essien etc. (Essien, no matter how much I hoped, just never recovered from his numerous injuries). But this super mall shopping expectations have to stop.

    Post Roman success was not based on just expensive buys, it was based on creating a team out of talented bunch of people. And it takes time. And it certainly does not happen by just adding items from the shelf into your basket.

    I think my dislike from this stems from the fact that, so far, I could stand up and ask the haters who would call us plastics to fuck off by pointing at the team Jose Mourinho made out of talented players. It took City a lot more money and a lot more time to win their title than what we did with what we had. 

    I want to see a team, not just some backheels and tiki-taka.

    • SweetDairyAir

       Firstly, I apologise for the double post earlier. My firefox was acting weirdly last night.

      Anyway I don’t think it is a matter of people saying buy Hulk AND Cavani AND Gotze, but Hulk OR Cavani OR Gotze, and I agree with this. We need one more striker, and if he is more flexible and can attack from wide too, that’s a bonus. And we undoubtedly need a right back. I don’t think that’s being greedy. And we aren’t chucking out all the old guard either. Lampard and Terry will still play, but we can’t wait for them to retire before we buy their replacements. That would be foolish. And having won the Champions’ League last year, we have a lot of extra games to play this year. We are building a good squad, and if Roman wants to spend more money and make this squad not just good but maybe expensive and great, then I’m happy.

      Also Mourinho’s squad wasn’t cheap either. Drogba, Essien, Carvalho and Ferreira were all expensive. The rest of the team was made up of Ranieri’s expensive signings too, with Robben, Duff, Lampard etc. When we tried to cut back on spending we ended up with Pizarro and Sidwell, and that didn’t end up too great. It’s just the nature of things nowadays. Barcelona spent a lot of money on the likes of Ibrahimovic and Chygrynskiy too. Real Madrid went crazy a few years ago. There’s Man City. I don’t think I could name too many teams who have won their respective leagues without spending quite a bit over the years on their team. I’d love us to be a bit more like Dortmund, and hopefully we get there eventually with our youth system and scouting network, but like I said earlier those things happen rarely so until we can pull that off, we have to make expensive signings. I agree with you that these things take time though, so we might as well buy these players early and get them to gel sooner rather than later.

      And I don’t think we have to worry too much about playing like Barcelona. Most teams are trying to improve the technique and passing of their footballers, but that doesn’t equal tiki-taka. Afterall we still have Lukaku on our books. Like you said, let’s hope they become a cohesive, successful team, whatever style of football they play.

    • E Is Mcsquare

      Seems Cech was seeing 11 Stephen Hunts in yellow shirts. Though, to his credit, Psychological damage is difficult to recover from.

  13. Blue_MikeL

    I like our new striker Branco 🙂 Is he going to score in every game we are going to play from now on? Hope the answer is yes. 

  14. mark_25

    For £35m you could have either Carroll or Hazard. Eden looks amazing and our future looks exciting with the trio of him, Mata and Oscar.

    Result wasn’t too important tonight because if we cock up in the league we’ll just have to win the Champions League.

  15. Benjami

    I don’t want to become Liverpool 😛 Giving up by Christmas and committing to the Champions League, the Premiership is our first priority to the very end in my opinion!

    I don’t want us to buy anymore players either, granted a striker to challenge Torres would be good but there is no value in the market at the moment.

    Interesting stuff here as well: http://www.whoscored.com/Matches/614123/MatchReport/England-Premier-League-2012-2013-Chelsea-Reading

    Check our average player positions about halfway down. If it wasn’t for Ramires, our midfield and attackers would all be through the middle. 5 of them are pretty much on top of each other.

    Can’t knock the fact we dominated possession 72:28, shots 27:7, and most importantly won the game!

    Like to see Mata or Hazard sit out on the left next game and try to spread our formation a bit more, we are too narrow at the moment.

    Oscar looked good again, lots to learn but he really gets us moving the ball and is willing to take a risk to try and get a goal scoring opportunity.

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