EPL 2012-13: Chelsea vs Wigan Athletic preview

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London, Feb 9: Chelsea have been struggling all season to keep up pace with title rivals Manchester United and City, but now have to keep out Tottenham who are just a point below them in fourth place, while Everton and Arsenal are not too far.

The Blues managed only three wins in their last 10 games in all competitions and have given away the lead in three of their last four league matches. A Champions League spot is a must, so the pressure is high on both the manager and the players.

EPL: Chelsea vs Wigan Athletic preview

Frank Lampard has been in excellent form recently, scoring the winner against Brazil on Wednesday. The veteran also has 10 goals in the top flight this season and is only five short of club record Bobby Tambling's 202 goals.

Wigan, currently in the relegation zone, are struggling to get a result in the Premier League. Their one win in 12 games is similar to the run last season when they won once in 14 league matches. But they went on to win seven in their last nine games to survive relegation.

However, Chelsea have won 12 and lost one of 15 previous Premier League matches against Wigan. But the Latics have claimed more points away from home this season.

Chelsea skipper John Terry will be absent with a knee injury while Petr Cech is in serious doubt with a broken finger. Demba Ba may start in a mask to protect his nose. Eden Hazard, who was suspended for kicking a ball boy, returns after a three-match ban.

Antolin Alcaraz could return from groin problem but Gary Caldwell may miss the clash with a hip injury. Wigan will assess Arouna Kone's fitness after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.


*Chelsea have scored in all 15 league meetings against Wigan Athletic.

*Chelsea have not won back-to-back home games since October.

*Wigan have conceded the opening goal in 16 league games this season, more than any other club.

Probable Lineups:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech-Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole-Luiz, Ramires-Oscar, Mata, Hazard-Torres.

Wigan Athletic (3-4-3): Al Habsi-Stam, Scharner, Figueroa-Stam, McCarthy, McArthur, Espinoza-Beausejour, Di Santo, Maloney.

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