The Wigan Athletic F.C. looks to continue their hot streak, much as they did last year when they won seven of its final nine matches, as they square off against Chelsea F.C. Wigan avoided relegation with its impressive run last year, and they have yet to look back.
When: Sunday, August 19 at 9:30 a.m. EST (12:30 GMT)
Where: The DW Stadium (Wigan)
Wigan will be going against a team that has struggled to score goals, which has been a major disappointment considering the millions they have shelled out to strengthen its overall attack. Russian owner, Roman Abramovich spent millions on the likes of Eden Hazard, and Oscar and Marko Marin, who have all come to Stamford Bridge this summer and should bring the goals with them.
With Didier Drogba gone (Shanghai), a large amount of pressure will be placed on Fernando Torres to perform. With the amount of talent on Chelsea, the goals are bound to follow.
Wigan Athletic manager, Roberto Martinez pulled off an unthinkable run at the end of last season, beating the likes of Manchester United, Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal to avoid a for-sure relegation from the Premier League. A run that many think has run its course. Will their luck ever run out?
In any case, Martinez has done a sparkling job, given that Wigan has one of the smallest fan bases, to go along with one of the smaller stadiums (holds approximately 25,000), and is based in one of the poorest towns in the league.
Wigan did lose some key bench players from last season in Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega, but brought back Mauro Boselli, a deadly striker and the always consistent centre back Ivan Ramis.
With all that said, Wigan has faced relegation multiple times in the past decade, but has come out unscathed each time. It will be a tough match, but the rugged club found a way to beat the top teams at the end of last season.
Look for their success (or luck) to continue as Chelsea continues to struggle to assimilate and gel as a club. Wigan is a patient club who have simply played well under pressure in recent times. More of the same will ensue in this matchup.
Prediction: Wigan Athletic 2-1 Against Chelsea