Date:Sunday August 17 2008
WIGAN V CHELSEA
Wigan prepare to entertain one of the 'Top 4' teams at the JJB Stadium this weekend and its going to be a really interesting game, especially after Wigan's great triumph at Stamford Bridge earlier this year by grabbing an unexpected but fully deserved point through Emile Heskey's superb injury-time volley, for which he will be fondly remembered by the Wigan faithful.
That said, Chelsea are a very difficult team to beat at home or away from home and as much as it does pain me to say this, Wigan will find the challenge of stopping Chelsea very difficult. Wigan's record against Chelsea isn't wonderful and I think that ultimately, Chelsea will run out victors in this game.
Furthermore, though, Wigan are a tough team to break down and Amr Zaki will be a constant threat to the Chelsea back line and his stunning debut against West Ham will give Wigan fans much optimism and encouragement, having unjustifiably lost at Upton Park the last Saturday. Zaki's good work presented him with a hatful of chances, but, agonisingly, none of them were converted to nick a point or even a vital victory at Upton Park.
With Heskey also a menace to defences, Chelsea will have their work cut out having to deal with the pace of Luis Antonio Valencia, Olivier Kapo and Daniel De Ridder. Wigan's form at home is also quite encouraging as well.
Considering the Wigan team have a fully fit squad, the lads will be really up for this game and will let Chelsea know that they are not there for the taking and its going to take a strong Chelsea outfit to break Wigan down. Steve Bruce prides himself on defence but this is his first meeting with Phil Scolari - lets hope his reputation with Scolari turns out to be just like his reputation with
Benitez and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
The poor start will have, rather than dampened Wigan's enthusiasm, only strengthened it and they really will give Chelsea a battle at the JJB Stadium and Amr Zaki has only just begun in his pursuit of premier league success. He'll be eager to add to his tally and I think that ultimately, Zaki may yet score again but Chelsea's peformance might just outshine Wigan.
There are some things that are for certain. Wigan will give their all to try and upset Phil's party and if Chelsea think we're easy pickings, they'd better do their homework.
CHELSEA PLAYER TO WATCH
Deco causes trouble for any team and Wigan will really have a difficult time in trying to handle the skillful midfielder but they'll put in a determined performance to stop the midfielder in his tracks.
WIGAN PLAYER TO WATCH
Amr opened his account with a superb goal against West Ham last weekend and was unlucky not to snatch an equaliser. He will give the Chelsea defence a hard time and might get rewarded for his efforts.
The reality is that Chelsea are a cracking team at home and away and they want their trophies back starting with the premier league trophy. Wigan do not have a great record against Chelsea at home and as I expect a committed performance from Wigan, I cannot see them getting anything against a difficult opposition in the likes of Chelsea. It will be a Chelsea victory, but not without an honourable performance from the other boys in blue and white.
WIGAN 1 CHELSEA 3
Date:Sunday August 17 2008
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