Wigan Athletic earned an excellent point against their super wealthy opponents in the late kick off at the DW Stadium on Saturday evening. Daniel Sturridge had given Chelsea the lead in the 59th minute but a mistake by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech handed Wigan an equaliser in the 88th minute.
Wigan often looked the more accomplished team as they out fought and often out thought a team who had only this week defeated title favourites Manchester City.
Chelsea had started well, John Terry and Oriol Romeu had long-range efforts and Didier Drogba headed wide from a good position, but the Wigan back five looked relatively solid for once.
As the game progressed the Latics seemed to grow in confidence as they came to realise that Chelsea were not invincible.
Victor Moses was causing problems for the Chelsea defence and he had a good shout for a penalty turned down by referee Martin Atkinson when his goal bound shot hit the arm of Branislav Ivanovic.
Just before half-time Moses nearly got on the end of a cross by Dave Jones, but the ball was fractionally too far ahead of him.
Wigan continued the second half in similar fashion to the first and Moses had another good chance when he produced a sublime piece of skill to flick the ball over John Terry’s head before blazing his shot out for a throw-in.
Chelsea’s goal came when Frank Lampard was off the field receiving attention for a cut mouth. A long cross field ball from Ashley Cole found Daniel Sturridge who expertly volleyed past Ali Al-Habsi from an acute angle.
Despite the set back Wigan maintained their passing game and continued to threaten the Chelsea goal. Maynor Figueroa had a long-range shot tipped around the post by Cech and substitute Franco Di Santo had his goal bound effort headed away by Ivanovic.
It was in fact the two substitutes Di Santo and Hugo Rodallega who combined to create the Wigan equaliser. Di Santo picked the ball up on the left-wing and his slide rule pass fed Rodallega whose shot was only parried by Cech and Jordi Gomez followed up to score his fourth goal in five matches.
The match statistics reinforced the view that Wigan had edged out their expensively assembled rivals. Wigan had 50.8% possession, Chelsea 49.2%. Wigan had 14 shots and Chelsea 11, Wigan had seven corners to Chelsea’s five.
This is quite an achievement for a team who have been struggling for most of the season, but augurs well for the rest of the season. If Wigan can continue to play the slick passing game while eradicating the basic mistakes that have been a constant thorn in their side, then we can look forward to another season at the top-level.