Wigan - Chelsea Preview: Title challengers out to avoid potential banana skin early in the new season
Italian boss Roberto Di Matteo will be hoping that the club can hit the ground running after a summer of heavy investment off the pitch, with the pressure on to secure results
By James McManus
Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa
Boyce, McCarthy, McArthur, Beausejour
Miyaichi, Di Santo, Maloney
Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole
Ramires, Mata, Hazard
Wigan go into the new campaign pleased to still have Roberto Martinez at the helm after a summer which saw him linked with moves to the vacant managerial posts at both Aston Villa and Liverpool.
After securing Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal, the club's forward line was further bolstered by the arrival of Arouna Kone from Levante mid-week as they prepare for life after Hugo Rodallega. Victor Moses could be left out altogether with a proposed move between the two clubs still in the offing.
Like their hosts, Chelsea go into the fixtures with no fresh injury concerns, while Branislav Ivanovic will be available to play as his red card in the season's curtain-raiser against Manchester City in the Community Shield will not result in a suspension due to the non-competitive status of the game.
The club will need to check on the fitness of forward Daniel Sturridge, who has ruled out of the England squad to face Italy with a toe injury but will likely be fit to play some part, while Marko Marin has had a hamstring problem.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Wigan managed to score just 42 league goals last season, less than both relegated Bolton (46) and Blackburn (48).
- Roberto Martinez's side drew this very same fixture last season 1-1, with Jordi Gomez's late strike rescuing a draw after Daniel Sturridge got the opener.
- The club's top goalscorer in the league last season was former Chelsea striker Franco Di Santo, who scored seven times.
- Victor Moses (pictures right) could be set to complete a move to Stamford Bridge before the transfer window closes.
- Chelsea have spent £65m so far this sumemr on the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin.
- The club failed to score in eight separate fixtures last season, while for Wigan it was 12.
- Frank Lampard and Juan Mata combined scored and assisted 35 of the club's 63 league last season between them.
- They finished the campaign with just 10 clean sheets, seven less than champions Manchester City.
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Top 3 Predictions
Wigan Athletic 0-3 Chelsea FC
- 20.04 %
Wigan Athletic 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 13.67 %
Wigan Athletic 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 13.5 %
|Premier League (EPL)||9 Feb 2013||Chelsea FC 4 - Wigan Athletic 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||19 Aug 2012||Wigan Athletic 0 - Chelsea FC 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||7 Apr 2012||Chelsea FC 2 - Wigan Athletic 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||17 Dec 2011||Wigan Athletic 1 - Chelsea FC 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||9 Apr 2011||Chelsea FC 1 - Wigan Athletic 0|
|21 Dec 2013||Reading 1 - Wigan Athletic 2||ENG2|
|15 Dec 2013||Wigan Athletic 3 - Bolton Wanderers 2||ENG2|
|12 Dec 2013||NK Maribor 2 - Wigan Athletic 1||EL|
|7 Dec 2013||Millwall 2 - Wigan Athletic 1||ENG2|
|4 Dec 2013||Leeds 2 - Wigan Athletic 0||ENG2|
|26||Ali Al Habsi||Goalkeeper|
|9||Franco Di Santo||Striker|
|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
The Latics beat West Ham in the race for the 27 year-old's signature this summer and he comes to the club with a wealth of experience having played in La Liga for just under a decade. The club's infamously porous backline will have to cope with the likes of Torres, Mata and Hazard throughout the game and it could be a baptism of fire for the centre-back on his Premier League debut.
The glue that holds this Chelsea team together. While the summer may have been dominated by the arrivals of a series of glamorous names, it's the Brazilian's non-stop, all-action style that gives the side's engine room a heartbeat.
Roberto Martinez's side are perennial slow starters, only saving their best until it's vitally needed. The club's switch in style to a 3-4-3 formation towards the end of last campaign coincided with an upturn in results and it will be interesting to see whether it pays dividends again this season. Chelsea are a club in transition and face a season of inconsistency ahead despite the star-studded teamsheet, but they should have enough firepower to see off the hosts on this occasion.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed