WIGAN, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea is congratulated by team-mate Juan Mata after scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea at DW Stadium on August 19, 2012 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Early goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard proved enough to see off the Latics, who were lively but ultimately toothless.
Wigan endured a torrid opening seven minutes as Eden Hazard showed early flashes of brilliance, first releasing Ivanovic through on goal, resulting in Chelsea leading with the first shot of the game after just two minutes. Minutes later, Hazard was again the creator as he was clumsily bundled over in the penalty area by Wigan debutant Ivan Ramis. Frank Lampard blasted the penalty home to double Chelsea's advantage, and a thrashing looked on the cards for the typically slow-starting Latics.
In reality, however, Wigan immediately upped their game and slowly began to exert their influence. The combination of James McCarthy, Shaun Maloney and Victor Moses (aided by the excellent Emerson Boyce) proved to have the creativity to penetrate the Chelsea midfield several times, but could never find the final pass, often being forced wide to cross the ball for Franco Di Santo, who stood little chance against the attentions of John Terry, David Luiz and Ivanovic, although the former Chelsea striker did have a pair of half-chances with which he should have done better.
Wigan were not the only team to spurn their opportunities either, as Chelsea had several chances to put the game beyond doubt, with Torres still looking somewhat out of sorts. The Chelsea number 9 did do well in the second half to poke the ball past Ali Al-Habsi, but he was denied by Ramis' goal-line clearance, atoning for his earlier error. Hazard's influence on the game began to wane during the second half, and he was eventually replaced for another Chelsea midfielder making his debut in Oscar.
Wigan were to enjoy heavy spells of possession, but ultimately their insistence with playing it wide and an inability to find a killer pass resulted in few chances, leaving the result looking certain from the moment Lampard had scored his penalty. Depite the result, here were encouraging signs for Roberto Martinez here, and perhaps some concerns for Roberto Di Matteo to mull over as he watched his side slip into cruise control. Then again, that proved to be enough, and with a midweek game coming up, Chelsea will be glad to get the three points out of the way.