The Big Blue scoring machine of Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea team scored its second 6-0 shutout in a row on Saturday against Wigan, jumping out to a 2-0 record.
Media accounts were full of laudatory articles and comments one week ago when Chelsea blanked West Bromwich Albion by an identical 6-0 count. It was asked if added machines would be needed, as Ancelotti’s warriors had ended its regular season against Wigan last year with a whopping 8-0 victory.
The shrewd strategist he is, Ancelotti clearly presented a different scenario for his team as it prepared for its trip to DW Stadium and Saturday afternoon’s match with Wigan.
The recollection that Ancelotti no doubt posed was what occurred last season after Chelsea had jumped off to an impressive 6-0 beginning in EPL activity. A trip to Wigan resulted in Chelsea’s first loss of the season by a 3-1 count.
For a time Saturday, Chelsea stalwarts nervously wondered if history might repeat itself on the Wigan pitch. Robert Martinez’s squad did the main body of attacking during much of the first half in a scoreless affair.
In the 34th minute, Frenchman Florent Malouda broke the ice with a goal. One week earlier, he had scored twice in the rout of West Brom while Didier Drogba notched a hat trick and Frank Lampard supplied the other goal.
The sturdy play by Malouda is welcome news for Ancelotti. A solid campaign by the French performer provides additional scoring balance and can, in the process, set up Drogba for more goal opportunities since opposition defenses will be compelled to concentrate more emphasis elsewhere.
As for the brilliant Ivory Coast striker, the Golden Boot Premier League recipient last season with 29 EPL goals and 37 overall, Drogba passed up what could have been two scores of his own to initiate superb passes instead, resulting in Chelsea tallies.
While Wigan held the visiting scoring machine at bay for the first 34 minutes, once that Chelsea offensive operation moved into high gear, goal production flourished.
The first half ended with Malouda’s goal being the only point scored, but the Big Blue took little time to get rolling in the second half with two goals in rapid succession in the 48th and 52nd minutes. Each was deposited by another French performer, Nicolas Anelka.
After that, Ivorian striker Salomon Kalou secured a double of his own after replacing Malouda in the 70th minute. Kalou’s tallies came in the 78th and 90th minutes.
The final score came in stoppage time with Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun doing the honors. Benayoun had entered the contest in the 80th minute.
Ancelotti had to be delighted over the fact that two substitutes chalked up half of his team’s goals and that the Chelsea machine rolled with Drogba without a goal, but contributing in the distribution area.
Afterwards, the winning coach responded to a question about the first 34 minutes of the match and Wigan’s frequent attacks by stating that this is a game where you cannot be on the attack all the time. He felt that Chelsea had done a capable job of deploying defensively in a proficient manner, holding off Wigan assaults.
Wigan mentor Roberto Martinez believed that the edge his team enjoyed through portions of the match in shots taken was a point upon which to build for the future. Wigan enjoyed an overall 12-7 edge in shots on and off target while Chelsea held a 58-42 percent possession edge.
By the time Sunday’s play ended, the Big Blue was alone at the top of the English Premier League greasy pole with a 2-0 mark and six points. Chelsea’s major rival, who it edged out last season, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Big Red of Manchester United, was deadlocked 2-2 at Fulham.
Fasten your collective seat belts, EPL fans. It is a long season and this is just the beginning.
So much more lies in store!
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