Premiership review: Chelsea 4 – 0 Wigan Athletic (includes video)

Match reports

The Observer, Jamie Jackson: “After the week that might just have begun Jose’s long goodbye, this rout was heartening for the Portuguese coach. Wigan, with six consecutive defeats before this match, may have proved all too easy opposition, but the crowd and the Chelsea players went beyond securing three points to produce a rousing display of unity. In the closing minutes the champions, then coasting, went looking for a fourth goal and collected easily. It came from Didier Drogba’s twenty-first strike of what is becoming a career-defining season.”

Independent on Sunday, Steve Tongue: “Whatever their problems after a series of unconvincing performances amid renewed doubts over Jose Mourinho’s future, Chelsea still have far too much about them for a team playing as feebly as Wigan Athletic did yesterday. Following four draws in five games, they kept Manchester United in sight at the top of the Premiership with the most straightforward of victories.”

Sunday Times, Joe Lovejoy: “The first three goals were all gifts, to a greater or lesser degree, but the champions were massively superior ”” so much so that Wigan failed to muster a single noteworthy goal attempt. The return of Arjen Robben, after hamstring trouble, gave Chelsea the width and penetration they were lacking during three consecutive draws in the Premiership, and when he went off, after 82 minutes, it was to a hero’s reception from a grateful, appreciative crowd. Wigan will feel haunted by him, the Dutchman having scored the winner in the corresponding fixture at the JJB stadium three weeks ago.”

Sunday Telegraph, Patrick Barclay: “Some teams – if another of Shakespeare’s works may be paraphrased to describe this comedy of Wigan errors – earn victory, while others have it thrust upon them. Chelsea fell into both categories. By far the superior side, Jose Mourinho’s champions still had to rely on gifts for three of the goals that kept them tucked in behind Manchester United at the top of the Premiership table; the fourth, from Didier Drogba, came in stoppage time.”

Official Chelsea FC Website: “Drogba has his 21st goal of the season and with major players returning and this morale boosting big win, the team has every reason to approach next weekend’s trip to Anfield with confidence.”

The goals

The good

  1. The performance overall was better than we have seen for a while. But in all honesty, Wigan handed us the three points on a plate. Then again, as the old adage goes, you can only beat what’s in front of you.
  2. Arjen Robben. Breathed new life into the team. The switch to 4-3-3 in Andriy Shevchenko’s absence allowed Robben to supply some much needed width and penetration. Different class.
  3. Wayne Bridge. On Wednesday he was asked to play in a front three and duly obliged with a goal. Switched to his preferred left back position in this game because of Ashley Cole’s suspension, he once again showed his ability to support the front players.
  4. The fans. Made it patently obvious where their support lies with renditions of “Stand Up For the Special One” and “Jose Mourinho” throughout the game. Whatever is happening behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, Jose Mourinho has the backing of those that matter.
  5. Michael Essien. Lined up along side Ricardo Carvalho at the centre of defence for the second game running. Wigan didn’t offer much going forward, nonetheless Essien’s versatility continues to impress.

The bad

  1. All the talk of Mourinho leaving the Bridge is making me edgy. I’m not normally one to believe what’s written in the press, but in this case there must be an element of truth to the reports; John Terry’s insistence that he would be prepared to lead a players’ protest to persuade the club’s hierarchy to keep Mourinho confirms this.

Man of the Match

Arjen Robben. By a country mile.

Final thoughts

Are we becoming the Hearts of England?

We live in interesting but increasingly worrying times.

Related links