Chelsea: 6 Ways They Proved Their EPL Title Credentials Against Wigan

Dan Renfro@danrenfroCorrespondent IIIAugust 19, 2012

Chelsea: 6 Ways They Proved Their EPL Title Credentials Against Wigan

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    Chelsea defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 on Sunday, solidifying themselves as EPL title contenders.

    There was a lot of hype surrounding Chelsea, and they responded by winning in a convincing fashion. Although Wigan aren't the toughest of opponents, this was a big win for the Blues.

    Even after the first week, it looks like Chelsea will be hanging around the top of the table all year.

Defense Can Secure a Clean Sheet

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    Chelsea scored two goals right away, and then they shut things down.

    Some call it parking the bus, but on Sunday, Chelsea simply pulled back. After two goals in the first seven minutes, they didn't need to keep pushing forward. Instead, the team hung back and prevented Wigan from moving forward.

    Even if Chelsea's attack is having an off match, the defense, as shaky as it might look, can lock things down for a full 90 minutes.

Win Away from Home

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    Going back to last year, Wigan had only lost one of their last eight Premier League home games. Meanwhile, Chelsea had only won one Premier League away game.

    Despite that fact, the Blues were victorious on the road. Last year, they dropped too many points on the road. Regardless of the opponent, Chelsea need to lock up three points on the road as often as possible.

    By beating Wigan, a tough team at home, Chelsea proved that they can get three points at any location.

Old Guard Can Still Play

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    Even though the naysayers don't believe in Chelsea's old guard, the legends can still get the job done.

    Frank Lampard converted a penalty to double the Blues' lead in the seventh minute. John Terry was solid in the back for the entire 90 minutes and was able to clear any chance Wigan could muster.

    Obviously, those two will be unable to play every match. However, when they're on the pitch, they can still play. As long as they're effective, Chelsea will be in the hunt for the EPL title.

Win on Juan Mata's "Off" Day

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    Juan Mata simply was not good against Wigan.

    He seemed nonexistent for long stretches, and he just didn't seem dangerous. After playing in the middle last year, Mata was moved back outside. Even with more space, he didn't get a lot done.

    Nevertheless, Chelsea won comfortably. If they can beat teams when Mata isn't playing well, Chelsea will be incredible when he does play well. And it won't be long before he finds his form, so EPL teams better beware.

Roberto Di Matteo Understands the Difficulties of Schedule

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    In the first week of the EPL season, Roberto Di Matteo has to manage three matches.

    Even with Ramires ill, Di Matteo was able to get Eden Hazard and Juan Mata off the pitch before 90 minutes. They'll have to be ready for Wednesday's match, and there's no reason to push them this early in the season.

    Chelsea will be playing a lot of matches this year, and Di Matteo has his work cut out for him. Luckily for the Blues, it's clear that Di Matteo understands what he needs to do to optimize his team's performance.

Eden Hazard Is the Real Deal

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    After all the hype, speculation and uncertainty, Eden Hazard got the job done.

    He played extremely well against Wigan, and he was easily the man of the match. Despite only being 21 years old, the Belgian looked right at home in his first EPL match. Obviously, there are tougher defenses than Wigan, but they're still no slouches.

    As excited as everyone was for Hazard, no one at Chelsea could be sure of how successful he would be. After the first match, it seems pretty clear that he is talented enough to make an impact in England and help Chelsea compete for the EPL title.