19 August 2012 16:41
Chelsea got their Premier League campaign under way with a comfortable 2-0 win over Wigan at DW Stadium.
Goals within the first seven minutes from Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard secured the victory for Roberto Di Matteo’s side.
Di Matteo handed a Premier League debut to Eden Hazard, and the new signing from Lille was the catalyst as the visitors took the lead after just two minutes.
In what was a swift counter-attacking move, Hazard eased past Ivan Ramis in the middle of the pitch before releasing Ivanovic and the Serbian made no mistake, blasting past Ali Al-Habsi.
The hosts were soon two behind as Hazard again wreaked havoc on the Wigan defence, the Belgian escaping a challenge from Maynor Figueroa before Ramis, enduring a nightmare start to his Premier League career, came across and bundled the 21-year-old forward over for a penalty.
Lampard made no mistake from the spot, drilling the ball low underneath Al-Habsi’s arms to put the Champions League holders two goals ahead.
Wigan fashioned their first chance after 18 minutes when Emerson Boyce crossed to Franco Di Santo and although the former Chelsea man did well to climb between David Luiz and Ivanovic he could only direct his header onto the top of the net.
Roberto Martinez’s side asserted themselves on to the contest as the half wore on and Victor Moses came close to pulling a goal back, flashing an effort across goal that Petr Cech diverted away for a corner.
Chelsea were struggling to hit top gear in spite of their pulsating start and Di Santo could have halved the deficit in first-half stoppage time but failed to beat Cech when through one-on-one.
Wigan continued to push forward in search of a way back in to the match with Di Santo and Moses both shooting wide shortly after the break but Fernando Torres then had the chance to put the game beyond the hosts with his first real sight of goal.
The Spaniard snuck in behind the Wigan defence after Ryan Bertrand had headed on but despite touching the ball past Al-Habsi, Ramis successfully chased back to clear off the line.
Brazilian newcomer Oscar was then introduced just after the hour mark for his Chelsea debut and he came close to extending the lead but his low shot across goal drifted inches wide of the post.
Martinez’s men refused to lie down and were looking the most likely as new signing Arouna Kone headed wide following a corner before Jordi Gomez acrobatically fired over the bar.
Luiz then came close to adding a third for the visitors but his header was comfortably claimed by Al-Habsi as the Blues, despite struggling to build on their impressive start to the game, saw out the final minutes to pick up the three points.