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Match Preview: Wigan Athletic vs Chelsea FC

Fernando has already got off to a goal-scoring start this season. Hopefully it won't score against us.
Fernando has already got off to a goal-scoring start this season. Hopefully it won't score against us.

Here it is, after all the long months of waiting, the Premier League it back, and guess what? Wigan will be the first Sky televised game, are they expecting us to play well? Or is it due to the current Champions League Champions being in town? Are they really that good? Unfortunately for Wigan, we are catching Chelsea at the wrong time.

The last time we played Chelsea at home for the first game of the season, it was 2005, and the eyes of a nation were on a small town in the north west of England. This was because what was called a 'pub team', was playing in the Premier League, and against one of the title contenders.

Unleash 90 minutes in front of a sell out DW (the then JJB) Stadium, where it would remains 0-0 till added time. Gary Teale could have won the game for Wigan running clear into the Chelsea half, and yet the Scottish winger was unable to beat a superb Petr Cech. From there Chelsea went down the other end of the pitch, before Hernan Crespo smashed home a volley to make it 1-0 to Chelsea.

Wigan fans were crushed and we still are from that dreadful day. Our day in the sun, and we came with in a hair breathes of a draw against Chelsea. It was unreal none expected that, yet it would and did get better. 10 months later, we had been to the League Cup final and finished a respectable 10th.

That is the kind of season that Wigan would love to relive this season, and the hope from both Dave Whelan and Roberto Martinez is that we can go on and do that, all starting with a win against Chelsea. That is something that Martinez has managed to do before, anyone remember the 3-1 win two years ago.

This time however Chelsea are looking a lot stronger. The additions of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marco Marin have added quality in younger forms, which they have needed for the past season or two. That fresher approach, which their manager Roberto Di Matteo has brought to Chelsea, can often be hard to play against.

Yet can Chelsea manage with only one striker? Fernando Torres is my player to watch for Chelsea, as he will have to and should be the main man when it comes to Chelsea and striker power. With no Didder Drogba at the club anymore, and that could prove to be their downfall.

Yet Torres showed at the European Championship that he can score and he can play well, and when Torres does play well he is world class. Pace to get in behind the back-line and create space where other players can move into the and cause the harm to the opposition.

Pace in our defence is a bit lacking, especially with no Maynor Figueroa, hopefully Ivan Ramis is fast enough off the line to catch Torres when he looks to move in behind. That is then suggesting that Hazard, Juan Mata and Ramires aren't all on song and running at us.

It will be a interesting match up in terms of tactics this Sunday. Chelsea looking to play their fast attacking football (like I said running at the opposition defenders), while we (Wigan) will continue to play are medium speed possession football, looking to break down and frustrate Chelsea.

I know its not the same, but in the community shield Manchester City played in OUR 3-4-3 formation with fast possession football. It worked really well to get in the gaps in the Chelsea midfield which didn't look to have gelled just yet. While the wide positions seem to be good area to aim for with only the Chelsea full backs really working in the wide areas.

Saying all that above, it could and will likely change come the weekend. Yet it is going to be a big game with a large crowd of Wigan supporters cheering on their side, and hopefully the team will go out and work hard closing players down and keeping control of the ball.

If we do that, then we all know what could happen.