Facing Chelsea, what is the appropriate mental state?
My cousin, a Tottenham supporter, recently asked me how I was feeling about this weekend’s Wigan-Chelsea matchup. I jokingly said I expect a 4-0 victory, but then conceded that I was OK with something like a 3-1 loss. Coming off a 4-0 loss to Blackpool, it’s pretty awful to think that starting the season being outscored 7-1 would be deemed acceptable.
Afterall, the last time these sides met, Chelsea was yukking it up and winning 8-0 to close out the EPL campaign.
Making matters worse is an apparent row between Wigan manager Roberto Martinez and Charles N’Zogbia that may have kept the French midfielder out of last weekend’s match against Blackpool. Martinez claims there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on here and there’s still a decent chance that he’ll play this week. I’m still holding out hope that N’Zogbia will stick around, but this does not seem to bode well.
Such is life as a lower-table supporter, I guess.
Then again, maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Sports in general, and soccer especially, is full of upsets. Look no further than last year’s Chelsea-Wigan match at DW Stadium.
You could be forgiven for forgetting that Wigan won that match, and not by some fluke, either. The score was 3-1 and Wigan never trailed. Wigan took the lead at 16′ on a Titus Bramble score. Chelsea equalized right before the half. But Peter Cech was eventually red-carded, Wigan converted the penalty and then put the game away witha 90′ strike.
That marked the first time Wigan would ever beat a “Big Four” side in 34 tries and would ultimately be the first of three victories against those teams, as Wigan went on to also beat Arsenal (3-2) and Liverpool (1-0) at home.
Last season’s victory over Chelsea, it should also be mentioned, came in the midst of a not-so-different run of form. Wigan entered that match having lost four of its first six EPL matches and had also lost to Blackpool (4-1) in the Carling Cup.
I’m not going to pretend as if I think a victory is likely on Saturday, but I think the game should at least be worth watching. There’s no way Wigan can play worse than it did last week and even tying Chelsea would give me some valuable bragging rights, which I would probably have to forfeit if I don’t at least watch the match.