After four straight games on the road, Chelsea will be happy to return to their home ground at Stamford Bridge when they host Wigan in an English Premier League battle on Saturday Feb. 9. Chelsea will enter the weekend in third place in the league with 46 points from 13 wins, seven draws and five losses. They’ve scored 51 goals up to now and lowed 27 against. As usual, Wigan sits near the foot of the table and is in 18th position with 21 points from five wins, six draws and a league-leading 14 defeats. They’ve scored just 29 goals and let in 47.
Chelsea has been struggling under interim manager Rafael Benitez after he took over the club from the sacked Roberto Di Mateo. This isn’t surprising to most Chelsea supporters when Benitez’s dismal record with Liverpool and Inter Milan is taken into account. Chelsea hasn’t managed to win a game in their past four outings and is coming off of a 3-2 loss at Newcastle last weekend. They’ve also been blowing leads as they were 2-0 up on Reading and Southampton and had to settle for 2-2 draws.
They made a big move in the January transfer window by signing striker Demba Ba from Newcastle. Ba has looked fine in his first few matches and Chelsea and has chipped in with some goals. However, he suffered a broken nose last weekend when he took a foot in the face. If he can’t play then look for Spanish international Fernando Torres to lead the attack. Torres has struggled mightily though since coming over from Liverpool in a 50 million pound move a couple of years ago.
Chelsea’s best player at the moment is probably 34-year-old English midfielder Frank Lampard as he has 10 goals on the season and is the first ever English Premier League player to at least 10 goals for 10 straight years. Not bad at all for a midfielder. Lampard has been on a scoring roll lately and scored the winner for England in a 2-1 victory over Brazil at Wembley on Wednesday. Chelsea trails first-place Man United by 16 points and is seven back of second-place Man City. They’re also just one ahead of Tottenham and four in front of Arsenal.
Wigan is in the relegation zone again and are two points behind Reading and three adrift of Southampton. Amazingly Roberto Martinez is still managing the club and of course they need every point they can get. They seem to play better against the league’s top teams though and have taken points from the likes of Arsenal and the two Manchester clubs this season. They could give a struggling Chelsea side a tough game, but they’ve only beaten them once and earned a draw in their previous 14 meetings.
Eden Hazard will be back for Chelsea following his three-match ban, but goalkeeper Petr Cech has a broken finger and will likely be replaced by Ross Turnbull. Wigan is hoping to have defenders Antolin Alcaraz and Emmerson Boyce back in the lineup, but Ben Watson is out with a broken leg and the status of Ryo Miyaichi is unknown.
Chelsea should get back on track here with a win at home. If they don’t take all three points we may see Benitez sacked before the season’s out.
Sportsbook William Hill has the latest odds of a Chelsea win at 1/3 with a Wigan victory at 13/2 and a draw at 4/1.