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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 17:00 GMT
Chelsea 4-0 Wigan
By Sam Lyon

Arjen Robben
Robben celebrates after capping a fine display with a goal
Arjen Robben produced a fine display to help ensure Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho ended a tumultuous week with a win.

Despite a host of rumours surrounding Mourinho's predicted exit, the Blues saw off a poor Wigan side with ease.

Frank Lampard's free-kick drifted in for the first before Robben made it two from Kristofer Haestad's back-pass.

Chris Kirkland then put the Dutchman's cross into his own net, before Didier Drogba's header sealed the victory to make it six straight defeats for Wigan.

It was no more than Chelsea deserved against a desperate Latics outfit, and was the best possible answer after a week of speculation regarding Mourinho's future.

From the outset there was little doubt where the Stamford Bridge faithful's loyalties lay and, as choruses dedicated to Mourinho rang out across west London, it quickly became clear that the Chelsea players were keen to make their own statement about his future.

A return to a 4-3-3 formation helped, as did the form of Robben who lit up the match with jinking runs, clever passes and intelligent movement.

But, after three successive draws in the league and one in the Carling Cup to Wycombe, the Blues still needed a huge slice of luck to open the scoring.

Lampard's tame 35-yard free-kick from wide on the left was allowed to drift between defence and keeper and into the far corner, though replays suggested Kirkland in goal may have been distracted by Fitz Hall's clear foul on Drogba six yards out.

Thereafter, Chelsea assumed complete control, with Robben pulling the strings and Lampard and Michael Ballack attacking from deep at every opportunity.

However, while Salomon Kalou twice wasted decent openings behind the Wigan defence, it took until the 32nd minute for the hosts to force a clear opening, Kirkland doing well to keep out Lampard's firm low drive at his near post.

Frank Lampard
Lampard [centre] is congratulated after scoring the opener

Such was Chelsea's dominance, it took until the last minute of the half for Wigan to trouble the Blues' defence, Ricardo Carvalho deflecting Lee McCulloch's shot over from six yards.

There was little change to the pattern of the game in the second half, with the Latics virtual strangers to the ball.

And it was not long before the Londoners grabbed a deserved second, man-of-the-match Robben dashing onto Haestad's dire back-pass, rounding Kirkland and slotting home.

The champions were rampant and, seconds after Kirkland had done well to deny Robben's curled effort, the keeper then put into his own net on the dive from the Dutchman's cross to make it 3-0.

Wigan, on the worst run under Paul Jewell, were bereft of confidence and imagination and the Blues could even afford tame finishes from Drogba and Ballack late on.

Josip Skoko did go close with a 25-yard strike late on for Wigan, but then Drogba wrapped up the victory with a powerful header from John Obi Mikel's cross.

The win saw Chelsea end their worst winless run under Mourinho and remain six points behind leaders Manchester United, while Wigan are once again looking over their shoulder as they slip to just three points above the drop zone.

  • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho:
    "It was a very good result for us. We pushed the defence up, scored a few goals, played with a good spirit and dominated the game.

    "After a run of three league games without a win it is nice to get one. It has been a dark period in that we haven't won, but a light one because we haven't lost despite all our problems.

    "We have missed our special players recently. You saw the way Robben played today - imagine if we had been able to call upon him over Christmas, a lot of the results might have been different."

  • Wigan boss Paul Jewell:
    "I thought at half-time that if we could just nick a goal - even though we didn't look like doing so - we might get something from the game.

    "But their second goal was an absolute disaster and it really broke us. In fact, the first three goals were avoidable and you can't give away soft goals at this level and get away with it.

    "We have 16 matches left and, yes, it is going to be a battle to stay in this division. I think we need five or six victories and that's what we are aiming for."

    Chelsea: Hilario, Ferreira (Geremi 86), Carvalho, Essien, Bridge, Ballack, Makelele, Lampard, Drogba, Kalou (Mikel 82), Robben (Sahar 82).
    Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Wright-Phillips.

    Booked: Drogba.

    Goals: Lampard 13, Robben 63, Kirkland 70 og, Drogba 90.

    Wigan: Kirkland, Boyce, Hall, Unsworth, Baines, Cotterill (Taylor 66), Skoko, Haestad (Landzaat 73), Kilbane, Heskey (Johansson 77), McCulloch.
    Subs Not Used: Filan, Cywka.

    Booked: McCulloch, Cotterill, Haestad.

    Att: 40,846

    Ref: M Atkinson (W Yorkshire).

    Saturday's football photos
    13 Jan 07 |  Football


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