Chelsea, who were without the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry, registered a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic after grabbing a last minute winner in this must-win game. Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo earlier said the Blues’ season would only be successful if they won a trophy (the FA Cup remains their only realistic title triumph this season) and finished in the top four of the Premier League, so as to ensure Champions League football next season. His boys certainly seem to be heading in the right direction, no matter what.
“Somebody asked me is it time to bring in technology, no, it’s time to bring in officials who know the rules” -Roberto Martinez
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The match started off rather slowly, with both sides clearly showing a lack of momentum. Chelsea still appeared hung over from their Champions League victory over Benfica. Still, the hosts did create a number of chances, which they failed to capitalise on, in the first 45 minutes. Wigan also did manage a couple of attempts (which were easily blocked by Cech) through winger Victor Moses. The visitors missed a golden opportunity in the opening minutes of the second half, when defender Emerson Boyce put a header wide off an excellent Jean Beausejour cross. The match, which looked very much in the balance, opened up in the 62th minute via a very controversial goal by Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic. Ivanovic was clearly offside when he struck the bottom left corner of the post through a Raul Meireles cross. In spite of several protests by the visitors, assistant referee Dave Bryan and referee Mike Jones still awarded the goal. Moments later, Chelsea also missed a very good chance to double their lead, when Juan Mata, off an excellent Drogba assist, blasted the ball over the cross bar. However, now, the frustrated Wigan side, who received two bookings as a result of those frustrations, struck back. The visitors took advantage of Terry’s absence and started putting pressure on the Blues’ defence. The host finally cracked in the 82th minute of the match, when Senegalese defensive midfielder Mohamed Diame, from outside the box, struck a powerful shot past past Cech, off a Ben Watson assist. Finally, just as the game looked to be heading towards a draw, Spanish winger Juan Mata stole a late winner for Chelsea, in the 93rd minute, via a brilliant strike from the left side of the six yard box. The Barcelona scouts at the game witnessed Chelsea trying their best – but they will not have been worried by what they saw ahead of their Champions League semi-final clash.
Three points is now the gap for the Blues to make up, a single slip from Spurs, with Arsenal sandwiched between the pair holding a game in hand. With semi-finals in two competitions set to come, though, their charge for the top four could yet be derailed. The match against Tottenham at Wembley next weekend, if not having any real basis on the league run-in, will have a huge psychological boost for whoever runs out victorious. And with the small matter of facing old adversaries and the best team in world football today, Barcelona, in the Champions League the week after, Chelsea will have their season decided in a short matter of weeks. One thing they should be able to count on is an improved defence. If John Terry does in fact play through the pain of two broken ribs and Ashley Cole manages to overcome his injury problems, the Blues will have a solid base on which to mount an attack on all three fronts.
.Manchester United and Chelsea are set to battle it out for the services of Sao Paulo midfielder Lucas Moura. The 19-year-old is one of the hottest prospects in Brazil and the player’s agent Wagner Ribiero says that United and Chelsea have already been in
touch about a possible move. Despite his tender age, Lucas has already made 87 appearances for Sao Paulo scoring 23 goals and watching scouts have been impressed with what they have seen.Sao Paulo insist he is not for sale at this time and only a bid of £66million.
.Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has held talks with France’s World Cup and Euro winning skipper Didier Deschamps over becoming manager of the club, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday. It is the second time the 43-year-old has been viewed as a potential Chelsea manager by Abramovich – in 2004 he eventually lost out to Jose Mourinho whose Porto side beat Monaco, coached by Deschamps, in the Champions League final. However, according to the Telegraph Abramovich – who sacked his sixth manager since he bought the club in 2003 when Andre Villas-Boas was shown the door in early March – apparently held discussions with Deschamps a fortnight ago in Paris.
.Chelsea have again been linked with a possible summer move for Spanish international Jordi Alba after the player’s agent confirmed a number of clubs had already made contact with Valencia. The high-rated 23-year-old has been linked with a move to Chelsea for a number of months and Sky Sports now quote Alba’s agent, Vicente Fores Cornejo, as confirming representatives from Stamford Bridge have been in contact with Valencia, along with officials from Barcelona and Manchester City.