Terry-Inspired Blues March On  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 1 Wigan Athletic 0

Joe Cole against WiganChelsea produced a typically professional display as a John Terry header handed them a 1-0 victory over Wigan.

The Latics set their stall out to frustrate Jose Mourinho's cosmopolitan outfit and for long periods the plan worked to perfection as Mike Pollitt kept them at bay with a string of fine saves.

Pollitt had made a clutch of fine stops, but he could do nothing to keep out Terry's powerful header 23 minutes from time as Mourinho's men continued their seemingly relentless march towards a second successive title.

It may only be December, but 14 wins from 16 matches and eight out of eight at home is a record of champions and has left the rest of The Premiership struggling to keep hold of their coat-tails.

The Blues were not at their fluent best on Saturday, but credit should go to Paul Jewell's Wigan for that as for the second time this season they were not overawed by Chelsea's array of big names.

However, Chelsea had the cutting edge when it mattered, even if it came from a centre half, and were never in trouble after taking the lead.

Chelsea were measured in their approach in the early exchanges, keeping possession and probing for weaknesses in Wigan's backline.

Michael Essien had the first effort on target when lashing over the bar, while at the other end Wigan's first venture into the Chelsea third resulted in Graham Kavanagh firing wide from 25 yards.

Joe Cole has won over Mourinho after adding steel to his craft and it was the latter side of his game which almost broke the deadlock on 15 minutes.

A quicksilver Chelsea break allowed Cole to run in on goal from the left and he checked inside before shooting low and forcing Pollitt into a sprawling save.

The blue tide swept forward again on 20 minutes, with Lampard seeing a shot deflect wide following fine link play from Asier Del Horno.

The decibel level was raised at Stamford Bridge 25 minutes in, as Terry tumbled to the floor following a wrestling match with Lee McCulloch - with the England defender aghast to see referee Howard Webb wave away his appeals for a penalty.

Del Horno has adapted well to life in England and a moment of opportunism from the Spanish full back almost helped Chelsea take the lead. The defender took a quick free kick and Hernan Crespo glanced a header past Pollitt, but the Argentine's celebrations were cut short as Leighton Baines appeared from nowhere to head the effort off the line.

Wigan offered little by way of attacking threat, but in Pollitt they had a keeper at the top of his game and he proved the point in first-half injury time when making a superb low save from a dipping Lampard volley.

Essien was the villain of the piece in midweek when almost removing Dietmar Hamann's kneecap with a high tackle, but he showed the cultured side of his game when flicking a pass into the path of Didier Drogba, but the Ivorian was the latest player to find Pollitt blocking his way to goal.

Just as the Stamford Bridge natives were beginning to get restless, Terry stole in front of his marker to meet a Lampard corner and power a header into the corner, with the effort proving too hot even for Pollitt to handle.

Pollitt came to the rescue of his side 15 minutes from time as he raced off his line to smother an effort from Cole who had scampered clear down the left.

Chelsea failed to find the second goal needed to ease the nerves, but Terry and Ricardo Carvalho shackled substitute Henri Camara and David Connolly to ensure the visitors headed back up the M6 with nothing to show for their efforts.


Chelsea  Cudicini, Del Horno, Gallas, Terry, Carvalho, J. Cole, Duff (Drogba 45), Essien, Lampard, Crespo (Geremi 69), Robben (Gudjohnsen 59)
Subs Not Used  Cech, Huth
Booked  Carvalho
Goals  Terry 67

Wigan Athletic  Pollitt, Baines, Chimbonda, Henchoz, Jackson, Taylor, Kavanagh (Bullard 73), Skoko, Connolly, McCulloch, Roberts (Camara 73)
Subs Not Used  Walsh, Francis, Teale
Booked  Roberts

Attendance  42,060

Referee  H. Webb

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