Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday August 24 2008
First home game of the season and what better way to start than against the title favourites.
Steve Bruce will have his side ready for this one and he will be keen to get last weeks opening 10 minutes at West Ham out of the memory banks as the Latics look to get their first points of the season on board.
Eight Latics players have returned from midweek internationals and both Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa made the long trip to Mexico for Honduras` World Cup Qualifier, lets hope they haven`t been left too tired.
Of all the returning players Emile Heskey gives most concern following his participation in Wednesday nights friendly at Wembley against the Czech Republic where he spent almost the whole of the second half limping.
The lack of a mention coming out of the JJB about Heskeys condition is also worrying, lets hope I am being paranoid.
Latics first ever meeting with Chelsea was in January 1980 in the FA Cup third round. Latics who were eighth in Division Four in only our second season as a league club, won with a goal five minutes before half time scored by Tommy Gore. Ian McNeill managed the Latics at that time and became Chelsea assistant manager under John Neal in the summer of 1981.
The first meeting on 'home` soil in November 1981 for a third round League Cup tie was the last time we beat Chelsea, the score that night was 4-2 with a brace from Mark Wignall, oh the memories!
Latics boss Steve Bruce:
'Scolari's been at the top of the tree and you have nothing but admiration for people who get there.
'He's been the national coach of Brazil and won the World Cup, and this is what the Premier League is all about. We seem to have the best coaches and the best players now, which is fantastic.
'It was close last year and I'm sure they'll be neck-and-neck again. Which way it'll go will be like a toss of a coin, but I believe Man United are the team to beat after what they did last year.'
Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari:
"If I have 24-25 players with me and three or four for (every) two positions then I'm happy. I have three or four players in this wing-right and wing-left position."
Ryan Taylor has recovered from his shin injury and Erik Edman has resumed training but is still out.
Emile Heskey could be a doubt with a calf injury picked up on Wednesday with England
Kirkland, Melchiot, Boyce, Scharner, Figueroa, Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios, Kapo, Heskey, Zaki, Bramble, Brown, De Ridder, Kilbane, Koumas, Taylor, Camara, Sibierski, Montrose, Nash, Pollitt.
Fantastic debut goal last weekend and there is a lot more to come
Michael Ballack has responded well to treatment to his ankle and could figure, while fellow midfielder Michael Essien may also be fit.
Striker Didier Drogba is out but Salomon Kalou is available after returning from the Olympics
Cech, Cudicini, Bosingwa, Belletti, Terry, Carvalho, Alex, A Cole, J Cole, Lampard, Essien, Ballack, Deco, Mikel, Anelka, Wright-Phillips, Malouda, Di Santo
European superstar with Porto and Barcelona will be good to see him in the flesh so to speak
Last season corresponding fixture:
Wigan Athletic 0-2 Chelsea
3rd November 2007
Ref: Steve Bennett
Latics 0 wins, Chelsea 5, Draws 1
Alan Wiley Staffordshire.
Wiley was in charge of the Sunderland Vs Liverpool game last weekend and booked two players, both Liverpool
Heart says 1-0 Latics win.
Head says 1-1
Carling Cup 2nd Round
Latics Vs Notts County
Hull City Vs Latics
Date:Sunday August 24 2008
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