Wigan take on Chelsea live on BBC 1 with kick off at 17 15 in the 4th Round of the FA Cup.
Emile Heskey will be fit to play and Wigan will give debuts to defenders Erik Edman and Maynor Figueroa.
Chelsea will wait to see if Michael Ballack passes a fitness test, but players out include John Terry (foot), Andriy Shevchenko (back) and Frank Lampard (thigh) and the african players Salomon Kalou, Mikel John Obi, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba all playing in the african nations currently.
Wigan (from): Kirkland, Granqvist, Palacios, Sibierski, Kilbane, Heskey, Koumas, Brown, Aghahowa, Valencia, Boyce, Scharner, Bramble, Olembe, Cotterill, Skoko, Melchiot, Bent, Edman, Figueroa, Pollitt.
Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Hilario, Ferreira, Belletti, A Cole, Bridge, Carvalho, Ben-Haim, Alex, Sidwell, J Cole, Malouda, Pizarro, Anelka, Wright-Phillips, Makelele, Ballack.
Wigan and Chelsea have only met nine times in their histories and with the Londoners boasting six wins then it’s going to be a tall order for Steve Bruce’s side to get anything from this FA Cup 4th round tie.
In fact those victories have all been in the last six times they have played, twice a season for the last three seasons in the league. Chelsea have netted 11 goals in those games and with only conceded two, with five clean sheets, then plenty of people might be tempted by the Evens on offer on Chelsea not letting in goal in the game.
Since Avram Grant’s reign as Chelsea boss started back in September the Israeli has only tasted defeat twice, to Man Utd and Arsenal, with the Blues currently on a run of 9 wins in their last 10 games and Grant’s overall record looking mightily impressive – P28 W21 D5 L2
Chelsea will also still be reeling in their midweek Carling Cup triumph, where they set up a final against London neighbours Tottenham, and with them still in the Champions League, only four points off behind Man Utd and Arsenal in the Premiership and of course having this easier than most FA Cup match against Wigan – then it’s worth checking out our ‘Chelsea Multiplies’ that are on offer, which include them doing the quadruple at a massive 150/1!
Sorry to keep harping on about Chelsea but lets also not forget that they have achieved all this with three of their most influential players, Lampard, Terry & Drogba, missing for most of the season. They have captured the services of Nicolas Anelka and with him sitting out Bolton’s third-round game then the French striker is available to line-up for the Blues. He’s yet to score for his new club, but has shown definite signs his opening goal is just around the corner and at BestPrice 5/4 to score and 5/1 to get the first he’s bound to be a popular choice in the scoring markets.
Looking at Wigan they are sitting just outside the relegation spot in fourth from bottom in the Premier League and with five defeats at the JJB (or six if you include their League Cup defeat by Hull City), from their 11 games there then they are surely there for the taking. One of those defeats, in front of their home fans, was also over today’s rivals Chelsea, where the Blues won, thanks to goals from Lampard and Belletti and a repeat scoreline can be backed at 6/1.
Overall I expect Chelsea to continue their good run of form and comfortably see off a Wigan side who have only kept one clean sheet at home in their last 10 games in all competitions. The match odds make Chelsea the 8/15 favs, the draw 14/5 and Wigan 6/1, and although the Blues will figure highly in a lot of weekend double, trebles and accumulators if you want to back them in a single the 11/8 on offer for it being Chelsea/Chelsea in the HT/FT market looks better value.
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