The Stamford Bridge outfit made hard work of the game in front of a subdued crowd, but two late goals added to Hazard and Ramires' strikes, rendering Maloney's a consolationChelsea came through with a 4-1 win over relegation-threatened Wigan at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. The Blues were eased over the line by a trademark Frank Lampard strike to move back ahead of Tottenham in third place.
A more lively Fernando Torres, who replaced Demba Ba in the starting XI, showed good awareness to play Ramires in on goal for Chelsea's opener, before Eden Hazard displayed a cool head to drill the Blues into a two goal lead following enterprising build-up by Cesar Azpilicueta.
A poorly timed offside trap – Gary Cahill the culprit – allowed Shaun Maloney to scamper through and finish beyond Petr Cech but Rafa Benitez's team rallied and finished the job courtesy of Lampard and a late Marko Marin header.
The Blues opened the scoring. David Luiz's pass from midfield in the 23rd minute was turned around the corner by Torres into the path of the overlapping Ramires. The Brazilian steadied himself as he entered Al-Habsi's box and coolly stroked the ball high into the net to give the hosts the lead. It was all too easy for the Blues.
Wigan emerged for the second period sticking to its principles of controlled possession and for a moment it looked as if it might trouble a relaxed Chelsea. But the Latics found chances difficult to come by and on the 56th minute a routine ball over the top found Jean Beausejour out of position and chasing Azpilicueta.
The right back plundered into the Wigan box and squared neatly for Hazard, who controlled his right-foot effort well as he fired through a crowd and under Al-Habsi.
But Wigan was not done. Two minutes later, it had a goal as James McArthur's cute ball over the top of the defense exposed a frail offside trap. Cech looked to pounce on the loose ball but Maloney was faster and bent his shot into the unguarded goal from a wide angle.
Arouna Kone was introduced as Martinez pushed for an equalizer and for a time it seemed like it was imminent. Kone tested Cech and McArthur should have done better with a deflection that fell to him in the box. The away team appealed in unison for a penalty as Ronnie Stam's shot appeared to strike Ashley Cole's arm, but Mike Dean decided it was unintentional.
And so it was left for Lampard to steal the headlines. A scampering Hazard run down the left drew the defense towards the Belgian and his cutback was intelligently dummied by substitute Juan Mata, leaving Lampard the space to firmly smash a trademark right foot shot beyond Al-Habsi.
In the dying moments, the late substitute Marin pounced to plant a diving header into an empty net after Al-Habsi could only parry a booming Azpilicueta effort wide. Torres almost repeated the feat moments later but Al-Habsi denied the Spaniard with a double save from Ramires and then the striker.