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Preview: Chelsea v Wigan
06 May 2010 - 13:44:50
Last weekend's 2-0 victory at Liverpool edged Chelsea closer to a third Premier League title in six seasons but they still have to beat Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge to be certain of ending Manchester United's recent dominance.
It should be a foregone conclusion against a Latics team that has little to play for, having banished any relegation concerns last month, but Carlo Ancelotti will be aware that one of his team's six league defeats this season came at the DW Stadium.
On that occasion, Roberto Martinez's side produced an excellent display as they thrashed a Chelsea team that had gone into the clash with a 100 per cent winning record, 3-1, thanks to goals by Titus Bramble, Hugo Rodallega and Paul Scharner.
Chelsea had Petr Cech sent off for a foul on Rodallega during a nightmare afternoon for the side from the capital and had Didier Drogba to thank for their only goal.
A similar result on Sunday would be unthinkable for Chelsea though, who have been revitalised since their premature Champions League exit to Internazionale in March and they now stand on the threshold of a Double as they face Portsmouth in next weekend's FA Cup Final.
Since the loss to Jose Mourinho's team, Chelsea have taken 19 points from a possible 24, scoring an amazing 26 goals in those eight matches.
As well as beating Chelsea, Wigan have also shocked Aston Villa, Liverpool and Arsenal this season but they are the most inconsistent team in the division, having also suffered several humiliating losses including a 9-1 defeat at Tottenham and two 5-0 drubbings against Manchester United.
Ancelotti is expected to be without John Obi Mikel, Jose Bosingwa (both knee), Ricardo Carvalho (ankle) and Michael Essien (knee ligaments) while Wigan have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from.
In Wigan's five seasons in the Premier League, they have lost seven of their nine matches against the Blues with only their DW Stadium success earlier this term and the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge during the 2007-08 season bringing them any joy.