Nicolas Anelka scored his first goal for Chelsea to help them beat Wigan in their FA Cup fourth-round tie.
Anelka puts Chelsea ahead with a fine volley
The opening half was highly forgettable with Joe Cole's first-minute shot the only real effort of note.
But eight minutes after the interval Anelka put Chelsea ahead with a sublime volley from Juliano Belletti's pass.
Anelka set up Shaun Wright-Phillips to make it 2-0 before Antoine Sibierski pulled a goal back with a super volley, while Marcus Bent hit the bar late on.
The Wigan pitch looked in a poor state and unfortunately the quality of the football in the first half was no better.
With a wide, boggy stripe running right down the centre of the field, it was perhaps unsurprising that neither side opted to pass their way through it.
But that made for a scrappy, fragmented match as the ball spent a fair amount of time pinging about in the air.
It might have played to Wigan's advantage but striker Emile Heskey struggled to impose himself on the game and
And the one time the striker did make a telling contribution, Marcus Bent allowed the pass to run across his body and Wayne Bridge nipped in to clear.
At the other end, Anelka was largely anonymous, but Cole showed glimpses of attacking verve without making a breakthrough.
Aside from Cole's early strike, there was nothing that resembled a chance in the opening period.
Chelsea, though, were the team who had showed a little more control and creativity and they deservedly took the lead on 53 minutes.
Belletti chipped a teasing pass into the box and Anelka, with one eye fixed on the onrushing Chris Kirkland, steered a sublime volley into the net.
Shortly after, Wright-Phillips showed purpose with a direct run but his shot lacked precision and did not trouble Kirkland.
Cech, though, was called into action to prevent Heskey's shot sneaking in at the near post.
But as Wigan pressed for an equaliser they were undone by some route one football.
Anelka raced clear after beating Kevin Kilbane to Cech's long goal-kick and the Frenchman squared the ball to provide Wright-Phillips with the simplest finish.
Wigan appeared to be out of the game by then, but Sibierski produced a moment of sheer brilliance to give them a lifeline when he controlled the ball on his chest, swivelled and smashed an edge-of-the-box volley into the top corner.
An unlikely comeback was almost completed when Bent lashed a shot against the bar, but Chelsea held on to progress to the fifth round.
Wigan manager Steve Bruce:
"I thought we had a real good chance but the one thing you cannot do is make individual errors. We made a couple that have cost us the game.
"We looked as though we were trying to play offside but that is a big risk against someone like Nicolas Anelka.
"It is a real shame because we had a chance to nick this one."
Chelsea manager Avram Grant:
"We did a very good job. It was not easy to play on that pitch but we did try to play good football.
"We scored two nice goals, we controlled the game and the defenders did a really good job.
"When were 2-0 we almost let it slip when they scored but I think we deserved the win."
Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Scharner, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Palacios (Sibierski 77), Taylor (Koumas 58), Bent, Heskey (Aghahowa 85).
Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Boyce.
Booked: Bramble, Scharner, Palacios, Aghahowa.
Goals: Sibierski 87.
Chelsea: Cech, Belletti, Carvalho, Alex, Bridge, Malouda (Ferreira 80), Makelele, Sidwell, Wright-Phillips, Joe Cole, Anelka (Pizarro 90).
Subs Not Used: Cudicini, Sinclair, Ben-Haim.
Booked: Alex, Carvalho.
Goals: Anelka 53, Wright-Phillips 82.
Ref: Uriah Rennie (S Yorkshire).
BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Wigan's Jason Koumas 9.00 (on 90 minutes).
Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.