Wigan Athletic: The New Greatest Side in the World After Beating Chelsea
Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC) witnessed another defence yesterday as champions Chelsea took on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Chelsea's encouraging start to the season—six wins from six in the league and a place in the fourth round of the League Cup—had fans optimistic of an all-conquering campaign.
With Carlo Ancelotti yet to taste defeat as a manager of an English club, things looked promising for the club.
Wigan, on the other hand, had only won twice all season and had already suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Arsenal, Manchester United, and Blackpool. In addition to this, they had never beaten a top four side in the Premier League.
Needless to say, then, that the smart money was all on Chelsea to pick up the three points.
In what will undoubtedly prove to be one of the biggest shocks of the season, however, Wigan came away with the win, and deservedly so, running out 3-1 victors in the end.
The visitors had the better of the early exchanges, forcing Wigan back and putting them under the expected pressure. It was Wigan who got the opener, though, after just 15 minutes.
Following a short corner, Charles N'Zogbia whipped in a dangerous cross which was met by the head of Titus Bramble who couldn't fail to give Wigan the lead.
Instead of sitting back and protecting the invaluable lead like many of the "smaller" clubs would do, Wigan carried on playing, stopping Chelsea at the same time.
Much to everyone's surprise, it was Wigan who looked most likely to get another goal.
John Terry saved a goal-scoring opportunity with a fine last-gasp tackle before Emmerson Boyce saw his close-range effort saved by Petr Cech.
Despite Wigan's domination, they couldn't get a goal before the half-time interval and were duly punished immediately after the break.
Florent Malouda embarked upon a jinking run to set up Didier Drogba who managed to squeeze the ball past Chris Kirkland for his 100th Chelsea goal.
Chelsea's delight turned into despair just five minutes later, however, as Cech brought down Hugo Rodallega inside the box. Phil Dowd pointed to the spot before heading to his pocket and showing Cech the red card.
Substitute keeper Hilario's first action was to pick the ball out of the back of his net after Rodallega picked himself up, dusted himself off, and fired his penalty straight down the middle.
The expected Chelsea onslaught was once again found wanting as the visitors couldn't create any meaningful chances.
Frank Lampard had a half-chance with a header, but that was about as good as it got for the Blues.
Even in the dying seconds they didn't look like scoring and, after going down to nine men courtesy of an injury to Ashley Cole, their misery was compounded when Paul Scharner made it 3-1, inflicting Carlo Ancelotti's first Premier League defeat.
The result brings to an end Chelsea's record-breaking title reign of 22 matches, as well as their record winning streak of eight matches, and makes Wigan the seventh team to hold the UWCC title.
Drogba's goal was his 13th UWCC goal, extending his lead in the goal-scoring charts while Rodallega's penalty was the 13th penalty in a UWCC title match.
Petr Cech's red card was the eighth time a player has been sent-off in a title match but the first from Chelsea.
Just 10.9 percent of voters in the poll predicted that Wigan would beat Chelsea and claim the UWCC title, so well done to anyone who got it right!
Wigan 3-1 Chelsea (Wigan become new champions)
(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)
Wigan's first title defence comes next Saturday as they take on Hull. Can Phil Brown's men make Wigan the first team to lose the UWCC title on their first defence?!
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