Frank Lampard was once again the star of the show as Chelsea saw off Wigan to end a run of four games without a win.
The Blues seemed to have the game sewn up early in the second half when Eden Hazard fired home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cut back to make it 2-0 after a sweeping move had seen Ramires slot home in the first period. Two goal leads have been something of kryptonite for Chelsea recently however, and the more cynical inside Stamford Bridge probably feared the worst when Shaun Maloney beat the offside trap and rounded Petr Cech haul Wigan back into the game.
Cue Lampard with his customary goal to settle any late nerves, and Marko Marin added his first for the club to give the scoreline a slightly flattering look for Rafa Bentiez’s side.
A knee knack for John Terry meant that the skipper was left out, so Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic where paired at the heart of the defence, with David Luiz moving into midfield alongside Lampard.
The whole performance lacked real conviction on a soggy day at the Bridge, but Chelsea did strong together a sweeping move for the first goal, midway through the first half. Luiz burst beyond Espinoza and picked out Torres on the move, the Spaniard’s first time pass was perfect for Ramires to run onto. The Brazilian steadied himself and planted the ball in Al Habsi’s top corner. It was a move of real cutting edge, something that the Blues have struggled with of late.
Franco Di Santo was looking determined to get Wigan back into a game that they never really seemed out of, but when Hazard swept home Azplilcueta’s low cross ten minutes into the second half it would have been easy for the visitors’ heads to drop. Instead they were back in the game within a minute; Maloney doing well to steer home from an acute angle after rounding Cech.
The doubt set in all around Stamford Bridge, and it took the introduction of Juan Mata, on the bench nursing a cold to help get Chelsea over the line. The little magician linked with Hazard, and when Mata let the Belgian’s cut back from the right run through his legs, Lampard was in acres of space to steer home the settling third goal. There was still time to gloss the result further when Marin headed home after Al Habsi had failed to hold Azpilicueta’s drive. Winning games will do for now, but the performances must pick up soon for the European Champions.