For today’s match at Stamford Bridge Wigan Athletic will be trying to register their first win against the Blues since 1980 but unfortunately, Latics old boy Victor Moses will miss the chance to play against his old team due to him being involved in the Africa Cup of Nations final being played between his Nigerian national team and Burkina Faso on Sunday at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chelsea’s other Nigerian player John Obi Mikel will also be involved in the final so will not be available for the Wigan game either.
Wigan have a very long injury list with key players like Arsenal loanee, Ryo Miyaichi, Ben Watson and Antolin Alcaraz amongst others are all out of the lineup due to an assortment of injuries. The good news for the Latics is that Ivory Coast striker Arouna Kone is back from international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations due to his team being eliminated from the competition so will be available to lead the Wigan attack along with the in form Franco Di Santos who has recently started banging the goals in as Wigan have started their now traditional late season push to avoid relegation.
The Wigan formation of 3-4-2-1, playing 3 centre backs who are likely to be Gary Caldwell, newly reacquired Paul Scharner and Maynor Figueroa, means that Chelsea with their awesome wide men are well suited to take advantage of the space this formation tends to provide and a fresh Eden Hazard, returning from his 3 match suspension will be licking his lips at the prospect of playing against the Latics defense and Oscar, after his solid performance for Brazil against England in mid-week, is also perfectly suited to exploit the space in wide areas which Wigan’s defense will almost certainly leave open. I think we can look for a Hazard master-class today as Eden will have something to prove in his return to the team and the somewhat pedestrian Wigan defense will have their hands full to contain the Chelsea attackers. Therefore, I think a resounding Chelsea victory to the tune of 4-0 is on the cards.
In other news there are numerous rumors circulating today suggesting that Rafa Benitez could be relieved of his duties if he does not guide Chelsea to a win today, stopping the team’s winless streak at 4 games. Roberto Martinez will be hoping that his Wigan team start a winning streak which will take them away from the relegation zone to premiership safety.