- Venue: Stamford Bridge
- Date: Saturday 9th February
- Kick-Off: 3pm
Chelsea are without captain John Terry who is suffering inflammation of his knee, while John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are at the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, and long-term absentee Oriol Romeu remains sidelined. David Luiz is back after a calf injury, and Eden Hazard is back after serving his ball-boy-kicking ban, while goalkeeper Petr Cech should be available after making his recovery with no flare ups.
Demba Ba is expected to wear a protective face mask to shield the broken nose he got off the end of Fabricio Coloccini’s boot last weekend. He’ll probably be on the bench though.
For Wigan, captain Gary Caldwell is rated at about 50-50 to be fit after pulling out of Scotland’s midweek friendly with a recurrence of a hip problem, and Antolin Alcaraz, Emmerson Boyce and Piscu are all still injured. They could welcome back Ivory Coast striker Arouna Koné after his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, though Roberto Martinez has said he is a little underweight.
After last week’s energy sapping loss at Newcastle, Chelsea will be looking to bounce back to stay within touching distance of the two Manchesters at the top of the table, as well as keeping their current boss in a job (if media speculation is anything to go by). It’s unlikely they can hand out another 8-0 drubbing to Wigan, as was the case two years ago, but Rafa might well be happy to be playing at home, after four away games without a single win.
Wigan will take confidence from Chelsea’s current form, and their lack of fire-power, but a point is probably all Roberto Martinez’s team can hope for. But stranger things have happened.
Currently, it doesn’t seem that Rafa Benitez knows what his future holds, as he disclosed to the Telegraph, though he does suggest his boss is happy with the football side of things:
“After the Arsenal game, 20 days ago, we were doing really well and he [Abramovich] was really happy. Since then I’ve had conversations with people close to him, but not directly.
“Do you know what he thinks? If you don’t know, you can’t say this or that will happen. Nobody knows. I was talking with him. We were talking about football and in terms of football everything is fine.”
Quite how Abramovich feels in terms of losing is yet to be confirmed, but history suggests something has to change.
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; Luiz, Ramires; Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Torres.
Wigan: Al Habsi; Stam, Scharner, Figueroa; Stam, McCarthy, McArthur, Espinoza; Beausejour, Di Santo, Maloney.
Referee: Mike Dean
Source: The Telegraph.
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This article was first posted on February 9, 2013