Wigan 3 – 1 Chelsea
By Aimee Lewis
Chelsea were searching for a seventh straight league win
Wigan produced a massive shock with a victory over 10-man Chelsea which ended the Blues’ 100% record and knocked them off the top of the Premier League.
A close-range Titus Bramble header gave Wigan a first-half lead, but Didier Drogba equalised with a scuffed shot.
Petr Cech then conceded a penalty and was dismissed for a foul on Hugo Rodallega, who scored from the spot.
Wigan put the result beyond doubt when the impressive Paul Scharner tapped-in from a Maynor Figueroa cross.
Martinez hails dominant display
Latics manager Roberto Martinez had called on his players to “create history” by defeating one of the top four for the first time in the club’s Premier League history.
Few gave his side a chance against a team who had started the season impeccably and were looking to equal their best start to a Premier League season with a seventh straight victory.
It had seemed that Chelsea, unbeaten since March, had forgotten how to lose, and with Wigan forced to tenaciously defend in the early part of the match it seemed the visitors’ impressive run of results would continue.
Wigan’s opener, from a clever play at a short corner, may have come against the run of play, but Martinez’s men out-played, out-muscled and out-thought the visitors for the majority of the match.
For the first goal, Charles N’Zogbia collected the ball and disorientated the Chelsea defence with a menacing cross which Bramble met for the simplest of headers.
Onlookers held their breaths for the much-expected Chelsea onslaught, but it never materialised as Wigan dominated.
Jason Scotland, making his first Premier League start, forced a last-ditch tackle from John Terry, while only a fine reflex save from Cech prevented Emmerson Boyce from doubling the advantage from four yards, after another well-worked short corner.
Cheers greeted Martinez’s men as they left the pitch at the break but within 90 seconds of the restart it was the visiting fans who were making the most noise.
A mazy run from Florent Malouda created space for Drogba, who scored his 100th goal for the club with a shot which trickled through Chris Kirkland’s legs.
The Wigan goalkeeper should have done better but his team soon regained the lead in dramatic circumstances as Cech conceded a penalty and was sent off for his misdemeanour.
We didn’t play well – Ancelotti
Cech, sprawled on the ground, seemed to trip Rodallega with a protruding leg as the Columbian surged towards goal, and with referee Phil Dowd deeming the goalkeeper to be the last defender the red card was subsequently shown.
Henrique Hilario replaced Malouda but the substitute goalkeeper could do little to prevent Rodallega scoring with a thunderous penalty down the middle.
Chelsea had few clear opportunities, the best coming to Frank Lampard who was off target with the header.
It went from bad to worse as Chelsea went down to nine men with Cole going off injured and in stoppage-time the effervescent Scharner scored the third after good work down the left by Figueroa.
From the deafening noise at the final whistle it was clear that the Wigan fans’ long wait for a victory over one of the top four – this was their 35th attempt – was well worth it.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez:
“When you are Wigan and playing against the top four you have options, you can be brave and beat them or you can get hammered.
“That is what happened. We were beaten 4-0 and 5-0 (by Arsenal and Man Utd) and here the only reason we won is because we learned our lessons.
“We have been brave from the first moment and no-one can say we did not deserve the win. That is a big compliment to our club.
“This is for the fans, who have been with us through the bad times and supported us all well. The great thing from my point of view was our reaction to conceding a goal. We continued to be positive.”
Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti
“It was a bad display. I don’t know why we didn’t play well but these things can happen after many wins.
“Wigan played better than us. They were well organised and played well. This was the right result.
“We played well in the first 10 minutes but when we lost the first goal it became more complicated.”