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Chelsea v Wigan


Can Chelsea get back on the right road against their Wigan peers? Former Blue Clive Walker weighs up the possibilities.

Key battles
'Our last home game - the win against Arsenal - seems an age ago, in time and performance compared to the last few matches. Even though that 2-1 was a great result we need to be looking forward, not back, on Saturday. I think the boys will fancy they ought to beat Wigan and there are also a few players returning to boost morale.

'A big plus at the moment are Frank Lampard's performances for Chelsea and for England the other night. Unfortunately John Terry is missing through injury this weekend but in times of adversity like we're experiencing now the tough get going, and there are no tougher than the likes of John, Frank and Ashley Cole.

'We need a bit of a stick it up 'em mentality and commitment to see out games. We need those players firing on all cylinders and primarily it's them we still look to for that.

'Petr Cech is another. Of course he damaged a finger at Newcastle and missed the Czech Republic game. I've known some goalies play with broken fingers in the past - they strap it to the next one - but it obviously depends on the nature of the injury and the pain involved. I think his teammates will be encouraging him to play and will make allowances if he does.

'We may see Demba Ba in the old Phantom Of The Opera mask to protect his broken nose. I'm still flabbergasted he didn't get a penalty when he was kicked like that in the face. Anywhere else on the pitch it's a foul. I hope he's fired up to make up for missing out last weekend.

'We need a run with everybody back and firing, especially the big players. Ba's become very quickly a bit of an icon and that's simply down to the energy he's brought to the frontline. It's very refreshing.

'His movement, strength and athleticism can cause any defence problems, and we're talking about a team that has given more penalties away than any other and is clearly out of sorts with a lot of players on the treatment table.

'They have been playing three at the back - 3-4-2-1 - all season and I think it's a system we are equipped to exploit.

'If I was running out to face them, as a winger I would be saying width is the key. Often we've seen the likes of Oscar and Hazard naturally run diagonally inside towards goal. But if you hug the line in the final third one of the three centre-backs has to attack and there's your gap straight away.

'Oscar played that kind of role for Brazil against England and I really think he's going to be such a player for us

'Space is such a factor. It sounds glib to say it but it's so vital for the likes of Juan Mata and Fernando Torres to express themselves. Stretching the back three out to the sides is key to make that happen, and you'll see Ramires, Mata, Lampard stealing into those danger spots.

'Wigan appear slightly weaker down their right - where Victor Moses used to play and I'm a little surprised Roberto Martinez has not moved to bring in more of the players he obviously likes. Maybe it's a purse strings issue.

'One thing you know is that no Martinez team will ever give up. They were outplayed and outcompeted at home to Southampton last weekend but still managed a last-gasp equaliser - and our record on conceding late on is a big issue.

'So we know we have to keep going and never let our foot off the pedal. They will always be looking to nick a goal and exploit any complacency.


'They will have Arouna Koné (pictured above) back after Ivory Coast were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations and Franco Di Santo has started scoring goals. At the same time some of our back four may need a break after a lot of matches. A few mistakes have crept in.

'So it's perfect timing that David Luiz is back. He has been missed at the back and in midfield too. But Eden Hazard's return may have an even bigger impact. He has that youthful vigour and drive that gets him beyond players. There's something special about his style - he gets the crowd going and creates fear.

'It's good he had an outing for his national team. He'll be raring to go.'

Squad fitness new
For Chelsea, John Terry is out with an inflamed knee, joining long-term absentee Oriol Romeu.

Wigan captain Gary Caldwell is a doubt with a hip injury and more defenders, Antolin Alcaraz (groin), Emmerson Boyce and Adrian Lopez (both hamstrings) are missing.

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The Blues are looking for our first win in five games since we beat Arsenal last month.

Of the 16 occasions Chelsea have opened the scoring in the Premier League, we have gone on to win 11 games and draw four. Only West Ham have defeated us.

Chelsea have the Barclays Premier League's second best scoring and defensive records this term.

The Blues are eight points better off compared to the corresponding 25 fixtures last season.

We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term. Only Man Utd (27), Everton (21), Man City (16) and Arsenal (13) can better that. We have dropped 14 points from winning positions.

Last six results
Jan 16 Southampton (h) D 2-2
Jan 20 Arsenal (h) W 2-1
Jan 23 Swansea (League Cup SF 2 a) D 0-0
Jan 27 Brentford (FA Cup 4 a) D 2-2
Jan 30 Reading (a) D 2-2
Feb 2 Newcastle (a) L 2-3


Premier League scorers
Lampard 10 (4 pens), Mata 10, Torres 7 (1 pen), E Hazard 6 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Ba 1, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1 (pen), Sturridge 1, Terry 1, own goals (Walters, Stoke) 2. Total 51

League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 1
A home defeat: 2

Chelsea's next three games
Thu 14 Feb Sparta Prague (Europa League) away 6pm GMT
Sun 17 Feb Brentford (FA Cup 4 replay) home Noon
Thu 21 Feb Sparta Prague (Europa League) home 8.05pm


If selected, Juan Mata will make his 50th Premier League start

Frank Lampard needs a hat-trick to reach 200 goals for Chelsea and five to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling.

We need four goals to reach 100 for the season. We currently have scored 96 goals in 42 games. The fastest we have achieved a ton was in 1960/61 when it took 40 games followed by 2009/10 (43 games)


Major trophies

It took 47 years and 34 unsuccessful attempts before Wigan were elected to the Football League. They made incredible progress to reach the top flight for the first time in 2005. They have been Second and Third Division champions as well as winning the Freight Rover Trophy in 1985 and the Auto Windscreens Shield in 1999.

Wigan have won more points away from home than at the DW Stadium this season.

They have conceded the first goal in 16 of their 25 league games, more than any other top-flight team, and came back to win one of them.

Wigan have won one of their last 12 Premier League games

They have only kept three clean sheets in the league this term including one in the last 15.

The Latics have won 11 points from a possible 36 on the road this term. They have won at Southampton, Tottenham and Aston Villa, drawn at Fulham and Stoke and lost at Manchester United, Sunderland, Swansea, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich and Everton.

Wigan have conceded more penalties than any other Premier League club - seven

Manager Roberto Martinez
Days in charge:1,335
Played 158
Won 43
Drawn 44
Lost 71

Wigan's last 10 year league history
Pts Pos Division Level
2002/03 100 1st League Division Two 3
2003/04 71 7th League Division One 2
2004/05 87 2nd Championship 2
2005/06 51 10th Premier League 1
2006/07 38 17th Premier League 1
2007/08 40 14th Premier League 1
2008/09 45 11th Premier League 1
2009/10 36 16th Premier League 1
2010/11 42 16th Premier League 1
2011/12 43 15th Premier League 1




Last six results
Jan 12 Fulham (a) D 1-1
Jan 15 Bournemouth (FA Cup 3 Rep a) W 1-0
Jan 19 Sunderland (h) L 2-3
Jan 26 Macclesfield (FA Cup 4 a) W 1-0
Jan 29 Stoke (a) D 2-2
Feb 2 Southampton (h) D 2-2

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Koné 6, Di Santo 5, Gomez 3, Maloney 3 (1 pen), Boyce 2, McArthur 2, McCarthy 2, Ramis 2, Caldwell 1, Henriquez 1, Watson 1, own goals 1. Total 29

League games since
An away win: 2
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 3


Completed January transfers
Demba Ba (Newcastle, undisclosed)
Outs Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, undisclosed), Lucas Piazon (Malaga, loan), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Billy Clifford (Colchester, loan), Sam Walker (Colchester, loan), Patrick Bamford (MK Dons, loan)
Roger Espinoza (Sporting Kanzas City, free), Angelo Henriquez (Man Utd, loan), Joel Robles (Atlético Madrid, loan), Paul Scharner (Hamburg, loan)
Outs Mauro Boselli, loan)

This will be Mike Dean's first appointment at Stamford Bridge this term. His two previous Chelsea games were away at Tottenham in October and Southampton in the FA Cup in January.

There are no suspensions.

Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi are away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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