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Premier League preview: Chelsea v Wigan

7 February 2013 09:16

Chelsea are in danger of losing third position in the English Premier League if they fail to beat strugglers Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

The visit of lowly Wigan should be a straightforward proposition for a team in the automatic UEFA Champions League places, especially given the match will be at Stamford Bridge.

But Chelsea have been anything but a sure thing in 2013.

Since the start of January, the Blues have suffered defeats to relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle, while they were also knocked out of the League Cup semi-finals by Swansea City.

The London outfit also had to settle for a draw with third-tier Brentford in the third round of the FA Cup while Reading and Southampton – both sitting in the bottom five of the English Premier League table – also won a point against Chelsea.

Adding more pressure to the Blues is the fact that fourth-placed Tottenham are only a point adrift of them and they will fancy their chances of securing three points at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.

Anything less than a win will heap further pressure on the under-fire Benitez as Chelsea – who are now 16 points behind table-toppers Manchester United – lose further ground this season.

They are only five points above the sixth-placed Arsenal and with Chelsea's controversial owner Roman Abramovich hell-bent on the club achieving European success, failure to qualify for the Champions League would be an unmitigated disaster for the team who won the competition last season.

What is in Chelsea's favour is their terrific record against Wigan.

Of the 14 top-flight meetings between the two sides, Chelsea have won 12 and only lost one.

The current European champions have never failed to score against the DW Stadium outfit and celebrated their 2009-10 title with an 8-0 success at Stamford Bridge, which included a Didier Drogba hat-trick.

Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard will return for the match from a three-game suspension but striker Demba Ba (broken nose) and Peter Cech (broken finger) are fresh injury concerns for Benitez's side.

David Luiz (ankle) and Oriol Romeu (knee) are also on the casualty list at Chelsea.

Wigan will hope to welcome back defensive duo Antolin Alcaraz (groin) and Emmerson Boyce (hamstring) for the match but Ben Watson (broken leg) is at least two weeks away.

Roberto Martinez's side have slipped into the relegation zone after a run of form that has seen them win just one of their last 12 Premier League matches.

Consecutive 2-2 draws against Stoke City and Southampton in recent weeks have been impressive – Wigan have had to come from behind on both occasions – but they need to go on a run of form if they want to kick away from the bottom three.

With Ba sidelined, Chelsea will rely on Fernando Torres up front and Wigan will hope he does not bring his shooting boots.

But with captain Frank Lampard and Juan Mata having scored 10 goals each, Chelsea should have too much firepower for their opponents.

Wigan's top scorer, Arouna Kone – who has bagged six goals – will be assessed by the club's medical staff before the match after returning from the African Cup of Nations earlier this week.

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Info

Competition
Premier League
Date
9 February 2013
Game week
26
Kick-off
16:00
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
4 - 1
Venue
Stamford Bridge (London)
Attendance
41562

Goals

Ramires 23'
(assist by Fernando Torres) 
1 - 0
E. Hazard 56'
(assist by Azpilicueta) 
2 - 0
2 - 1
58' S. Maloney
 (assist by J. McArthur)
F. Lampard 87'
(assist by E. Hazard) 
3 - 1
M. Marin 90'+2  
4 - 1

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
10
30
21 90+2' 90+4'
19
22
29
34

Tuesday 2 September

Monday 1 September

23:44
23:39
23:19
22:59
22:47
22:45
22:35
22:28
22:04
22:02
21:51
21:44
20:53
20:46
20:39
20:26
20:12
20:09
20:07
19:35
18:45
18:40
18:33
18:23
18:15
18:08
17:52
17:52
17:44
17:43
17:33
17:23
17:18
17:04
17:03
16:49
15:49
15:35
15:33
15:31
14:32
14:32
14:28
13:50
13:14
13:09
12:57
12:50
12:06
11:58
11:39
11:07
10:57
10:50
10:22
10:16
09:26
09:19
07:47
06:50
06:48
06:01
05:35
04:55
04:51
04:00
03:56
03:53
02:58
02:45
02:27
02:27
02:00
01:06
00:25
00:17
00:14
00:03

Sunday 31 August

23:49
23:32
23:32
23:25
23:24
23:03
22:59
22:52
22:45
22:21
21:57
21:31
20:59
20:14
20:06
20:04
20:00
19:31
18:54
18:42
18:36
18:27
18:18
18:12
18:00
17:56
17:36
17:31
17:10
17:05
17:03
17:01
16:51
16:41
16:26
16:26
15:47
14:32
14:02
13:37
13:04
13:03
11:44
11:38
11:03
10:07
09:14
07:26
06:56
05:50
05:07
04:11
04:02
02:52
01:43
00:55
00:45
00:11

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 3 +7 9
2 3 +5 9
3 3 +2 7
4 3 +3 6
5 3 +2 6
6 3 +2 6
7 3 +1 5
8 3 +1 4
9 3 +0 4
10 3 +0 4
11 3 -1 3
12 3 -4 3
13 3 -1 2
14 3 -1 2
15 3 -2 2
16 3 -2 2
17 3 -3 2
18 3 -3 2
19 3 -3 1
20 3 -3 1

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