As part of our new Premier League Snap-shots feature Peter O'Rourke looks at Chelsea's win at Wigan - and an impressive debut from the Blues' new boy.
Last Updated: 20/08/12 11:03am
Chelsea got their Premier League title bid off to a flying start with a 2-0 Wigan and it was one of their new boys who stole the show.
Eden Hazard stole the show at the DW Stadium as he announced himself to the Premier League with an impressive display, while Wigan boss Roberto Martinez will be left to rue a disastrous start.
Chelsea handed Hazard his Premier League from the start with fellow new boy Oscar on the bench. With Didier Drogba departed Fernando Torres started up front as a lone frontman. Ryan Bertrand was named on the left-side of midfield with Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel the two holding midfielders. David Luiz got the nod ahead of Gary Cahill to partner John Terry in central defence. Hazard and Mata were allowed to roam around the pitch and their movement caused the Wigan defence all sorts of problems.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez handed a debut to defender Ivan Ramis in a three-man defence alongside Antolin Alcaraz and Gary Caldwell with Maynor Figueroa and Emmerson Boyce playing as wing-backs. Victor Moses started for Wigan despite speculation that he was set to join Chelsea. Recent signing Arouna Kone found himself on the bench with Franco Di Santo starting up front against his old employers.
Di Matteo used a 4-2-3-1 formation with Hazard, Mata and Bertrand tasked with the challenge to get forward to support lone frontman Torres.
The fluidity of the system with Lampard and Mikel playing as holding midfielders allowed Hazard and Mata to weave their magic in the final third of the pitch to try and feed Torres.
The system appeared to be suit Hazard down to the ground as he was given freedom to get the ball and run at the Wigan defence. When Wigan did get a head of steam up Lampard and Mikel provided enough support to their defence to help out.
Martinez stuck with a 3-4-3 formation which worked for him so well at the back end of last season with Wigan went on a great winning run to move clear of trouble at the wrong end of the table. Ramis was brought in as one of the three central defenders and the Spaniard had a debut to forget as he was at fault for both goals. James McCarthy and James McArthur were the two central midfielders and they got through a lot of work in the engine room.
Moses and Shaun Maloney flanked lone frontman Di Santo with Moses playing on the right and Maloney on the left. Despite affording Chelsea a lot of space in midfield Martinez is likely to stick with this formation at home and away having served him so well last season.
Oscar and Raul Meireles were introduced for Hazard and Mata by Di Matteo. Oscar was given his first taste of English football for man of the match Hazard and the Brazilian was always eager to get on the ball. Meireles had little time to impress but he slotted into Mata's spot easily.
Di Matteo made three changes with Jordi Gomez, Kone and Ben Waston replacing Maloney, Di Santo and McArthur. Gomez replaced the injured Maloney early in the second half and the Spaniard went close with a couple of efforts. Kone worked hard to make an impact without having any clear goalscoring chances, while Watson continued the hard-working job of McArthur.
Hazard served notice of the threat he will pose to opposing Premier League defences with a display of rich promise. The Belgian international was given a tough introduction during last weekend's Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, but he proved too hot to handle for Wigan. Hazard was the catalyst for Chelsea's flying start at the DW Stadium playing a key role in both goals. The playmaker set up Branislav Ivanovic's opening goal with a superb turn and pass and then won the penalty after being brough down by Ramis which Lampard converted.
Hazard came off after the hour mark for fellow new signing Oscar and the Brazilian showed a real appetite to get started.
Oscar has linked up late with his new team-mates due to his involvement at the Olympics, but he was keen to get on the ball at every opportunity when he was introuduced.
The midfielder also went close to scoring when he beat Ramis for pace and fired just wide of the far post.
Martinez has not made many new signings this summer, but Ramis endured a harsh introduction to life in England. The Spaniard was turned by Hazard in the build-up to Ivanovic's opener and then he brought down Hazard for a penalty with a needless challenge on the Chelsea ace inside the box. Kone was introduced as a second half substitute late in the game as Wigan chased the game. The Ivorian showed glimpses that he will be a handful for defences with his powerful style and he came close to scoring with a header.
Mike Jones got all the big decisions right in the game as he called Chelsea's penalty right for Ramis' foul on Hazard. However, eyebrows could be raised at Ramis escaping at least a booking for the offence.
In a fast-paced game Jones produced four yellow cards - two apiece to each side.
Wigan forward Victor Moses gave Chelsea a reminder of why they are chasing him and why the Latics are keen to keep him.
Moses was Wigan's most dangerous player on the pitch and he gave Ashley Cole a tough game with his powerful runs down the right.
Chelsea have already had a couple of bids turned down for Moses, but they are expected to come back with a new offer before the close of the transfer window.
However, the question remains where would Moses be best served to play at Wigan or Chelsea at this stage of his career.
If Moses moves to Chelsea he could find himself well down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge with first-team opportunities few and far between, while if he stays at Wigan he continue to improve and grow as a player. Wigan and Moses have a big decision to make before the transfer window slams shut on August 31.
Chelsea look like they produce more a title challenge than they did last season when inconsistency in their league form cost them dearly. It will take time for their new signings to get to grips of the English game, but the early signs are promising for Hazard and Oscar. Chelsea also have German schemer Marko Marin to come into the equation and they should not be short of attacking threat this term. Di Matteo's biggest challenge is to get the best out of Fernando Torres if they are to find themselves in contention come next May. The striker failed to find the net against Wigan, but his movement helped create space for the likes of Hazard and Mata and once he finds his best form he is sure to be among the top scorers in the Premier League
Wigan apart from a disastrous opening six-minute spell matched Chelsea for long spells of the game and with better finishing they might have found a way back into the contest. What will determine if Wigan find themselves in another relegation dogfight is whether they can find themselves a regular goalscorer. Di Santo failed to shine against his old club missing a great opening, but Kone could prove to be an astute signing once he gets a run in the side. If Wigan lose Moses before the close of the transfer window Martinez will need to bring in a suitable replacement otherwise much of his side's attacking threat will be lost.