Chelsea v Wigan Athletic, Premier League: Preview, Injuries and Probable Teams
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 9, 2013 7:29 PM EST
Wigan Athletic travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday 9 February for a Premier League fixture. Chelsea remain third in the league despite not having won a game since the 2-1 defeat of Arsenal in mid-January. Wigan, meanwhile, are struggling to clear the relegation zone; the Latics are 18th and two points behind Reading.
The last time these sides met was in August, when goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard gave Chelsea all three points at the DW Stadium.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is set for 3pm GMT. Catch highlights on Match of the Day, on BBC One and BBC One HD, at 10.20pm GMT.
Chelsea come into this game after last weekend's 3-2 defeat at St James' Par. The Blues have not won in the Premier League since beating Arsenal, at the Bridge, on 20 January and even then they've only won two of the last six league fixtures.
Fortunately for Benitez, the club had enough of a points cushion over Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton to allow them to retain third place. However, if Benitez wishes to convince owner Roman Abramovich of his credentials for a long-term contract, he needs to ensure vastly improved (and consistent) performances.
The lack of clean sheets will worry the ex-Liverpool boss. Chelsea have only had one clean sheet in the last six games and conceded seven goals in their last three. The attack may be working well, with six scored in the same period, but a lack of defensive stability is a major problem. And the defence is likely to come under increased pressure in this match, after it was confirmed captain and veteran centre-back John Terry will not play, owing to a knee problem.
Wigan have had a poor run of league form. The Latics may have drawn two games in a row now (2-2 results at Stoke and against Southampton) but no wins in five games leading up to this match means Martinez needs a strong result here in west London.
The Latics face a run of hugely important games, with games against Reading and Newcastle United already settled as six-pointers. In addition, they must also face Manchester City and Liverpool in the next few weeks.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): L D D D W
- Last Result: Newcastle United 3 - 2 Chelsea
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D W L W
- Last Result: Wigan Athletic 2 - 2 Southampton
Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu and captain John Terry (both knee) are unavailable; Romeu is ruled out for the rest of the season. Left-back Ashley Cole picked up a hamstring knock in England's midweek game against Brazil and is doubtful. He joins Brazilian centre-back David Luiz on that list. Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech (finger) is not yet ready so deputy Ross Turnbull continues. Belgian forward Eden Hazard returns after a three-match suspension for a red card. Senegal striker Demba Ba (nose) is fit but expect Spain striker Fernando Torres to start.
Probable Line-Up: Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Bertrand; Ramires, Lampard; Hazard, Oscar, Mata; Torres
Wigan top scorer Aruna Kone returns from international duty at the African Cup of Nations but may not be match-fit. Antolin Alcaraz (groin), Adrian Lopez and Emerson Boyce (both hamstring) are expected to feature at some point but on-loan midfielder Ryo Miyachi (ankle) and Ben Watson (leg) are unavailable until the end of the month, at least. Captain Gary Caldwell (hip) is a doubt.
Probable Line-Up: Al Habsi; Caldwell, Figueroa, Alcaraz, Scharner; McCarthur, McCarthy, Beausejour; Espinosa, Di Santo, Maloney
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