Chelsea hit their opponents for six for the second successive week as they trounced a demoralised Wigan side by the same scoreline with which West Brom had been dispatched the previous Saturday. Again the result somewhat flattered the Blues who were actually under pressure for much of the opening period, but eventually class told and five second-half goals highlighted Chelsea’s dominance.
Branislav Ivanovic’s return to the starting eleven marked the only change made by Carlo Ancelotti to the team which destroyed the Baggies, with Paulo Ferreira making way. Wigan’s side included a notable return for the disgruntled Charles N’Zogbia, Chelsea’s arch tormentor in the same fixture last season. He was instrumental in Wigan’s early pressure in this fixture, assisting Maynor Figuroa who tested Cech from range and causing problems for Ashley Cole on our left side. Hugo Rodellega also mustered a couple of decent efforts but for all Wigan’s attacking intent it was Chelsea who created the game’s first real chance and Chelsea who scored the game’s opening goal.
A swift intricate passing move found Cole in acres of space and his pass picked out an unmarked Lampard in the box. The midfielder got the ball out of his feet and shot for goal but was denied by an impressive Chris Kirkland save. The keeper couldn’t hold Lampard’s accurate effort, however, and it was Florent Malouda who was quickest to react and fire home from a couple of yards; his second predatory right-footed close-range finish in seven days, and again the supplier of the goal which opened the floodgates.
That was the final real action of the first 45 minutes and the travelling Chelsea contingent were certainly happy to see their team lead at the interval. Those fans that were too slow in sinking their half-time pint would have missed their side’s brilliant start to the second half. A raking Jon Obi Mikel pass from inside his own half, which contained both swing and backspin, ran perfectly for the pacy Anelka and his finish was inch-perfect inside Kirkland’s far-post. The Frenchman’s handcuffed celebration mocking the ban imposed on him by the French Football Federation highlighted just how relaxed he seems about the whole saga. Three minutes later Anelka scored again, this time nodding in Didier Drogba’s mishit back-post volley from a yard out. By this stage Wigan’s defenders appeared to have given up and didn’t even bother appealing for offside against Anelka when he clearly was.
This two-goal burst killed the game as a contest. Alas, not Wigan’s resolve. Despite being on the end of a 4-0 drubbing from Blackpool the previous week the Latics kept plugging away and were unlucky not to score. Rodellega went on a storming run past what seemed like most of those in black and orange before eventually seeing his shot blocked, while N’Zogbia was also denied by the diving Alex. James McCarthy did see his deflected shot beat Cech but was thwarted by the post. Mauro Boselli put in the rebound but was rightly flagged offside. It was also during this period that John Terry was fortunate to stay on the pitch. Already on a booking he kicked N’Zogbia in a blatant act of retribution for an incident in the first half but referee Mike Dean seemed to miss the hack.
Chelsea nearly added to their tally through Michael Essien and Drogba but Kirkland was on hand to deny them. There was nothing he could do about Chelsea’s fourth though, as Drogba’s brilliance and pace left many Wiganers in his trail before unselfishly passing to substitute Salomon Kalou for an easy tap-in. Kalou scored again as the game went in to injury time, this time glancing home Drogba’s teasing left-wing cross. Chelsea suddenly seemed keen to match their efforts the previous week and finalised this particular rampage with a first Chelsea goal for Yossi Benayoun, slotting home following good work from Anelka and the effervescent substitute Paulo Ferreira.
It capped another memorable day for the Champions who stay top of the league with a healthy goal difference, too. Add that to the fact that neither Lampard or Drogba scored and you know this is a team at its most clinical, but the goals will surely dry up at some stage, particularly against superior opposition, so all Blues fans must enjoy these goal fests while they last.