Chelsea’s impressive start to the season continued on Saturday after another 6-0 rout at the DW Stadium, putting a hapless Wigan side to the sword with a ruthless second half display. After a fairly even opening half hour, Chelsea took the lead before half-time as Florent Malouda benefited after Frank Lampard’s shot was parried into his path.
The champions wrapped up the title with a memorable 8-0 destruction of the same opponents on the final day of last season and in the second half it seemed the Blues found it as easy to hit the net as they did back in May. Shortly after the break, the result was put beyond doubt as Nicolas Anelka scored his first goals of the season. His double came in just three minutes, as the Frenchman first drilled past Chris Kirkland in the Wigan goal after chasing a sublime 60-yard pass from, of all sources, John Obi Mikel and luckily added a second from an offside position after strike partner Didier Drogba’s nod back. Drogba, who fired a hat-trick in the opening day 6-0 cruise against West Brom, did not find the net on this occasion, but his unselfish and, at times, brilliant play saw his team-mates benefit. Compatriot Salomon Kalou joined the fray, replacing Malouda, and with ten minutes remaining found himself on the score-sheet, courtesy of some wonderful play by Drogba. Last season’s Golden Boot winner was in untouchable form as he played himself between two Wigan defenders, muscled his way beyond them and raced through on goal. With Kirkland approaching Drogba unselfishly squared for Kalou to roll the ball home.
Despite leading so comfortably ,this was to be another example of the refreshing mentality installed by Carlo Ancelotti since his winning start to life in English football last year. The Blues continued to steamroll through the stunned Latics defence, who had no answer to Chelsea’s brutal offensive. Kalou nodded in from Drogba’s wonderful cross to make it five in the final minute, yet there was still time for Yossi Benayoun to round off the victory with his first goal for the club since his summer move from Liverpool, rolling home after Paulo Ferriera’s pull back across the box. Under Ancelotti’s tenure Chelsea have transformed from the so perceived methodical defensive unit of the Mourinho days into one of often free flowing, free scoring play. In 40 league games under the Italian, the Blues have now scored a quite incredible 115 goals and failed to hit the net just once in the Premier League, away to Birmingham last Boxing Day.
Away from the pitch at Stamford Bridge, it was sadly announced on Friday that the Blues’ young talent Sam Hutchinson would be retiring as a professional footballer due to chronic knee problems. The 21-year-old defender had been hotly tipped for a bright future with the Premier League champions after joining the club at the age of nine and playing his way into the eyes of the national selectors for the England Under-19s. He received an England Under-21 call up but was forced to withdraw to manage his injury. Hutchinson made his Chelsea debut under Jose Mourinho at the end of the 2006-07 season as a substitute and was included in the sides’ pre-season tour of the USA the following summer. Unfortunately the knee injury that halted his progress restricted him to just five appearances for the reserves in 2007-08 and he struggled the following season too, though he captained the reserve team in his six games at centre-back. With Carlo Ancelotti at the helm he made his first and only Chelsea start in last years’ Carling Cup win over QPR at Stamford Bridge, while he also came on as a substitute in the 7-0 win over Stoke in April this year, assisting a Frank Lampard goal with a pinpoint cross as an attacking right-back. However after three years battling for fitness and failing to overcome the injury, Hutchinson has decided to call a day on a promising future. He will remain at the club and will work with the Academy while also studying sports science at university. He will later pursue coaching qualifications.
Ancelotti assured the youngster that he supported his decision and that the club would continue to support him during his studies: “We are sad, disappointed about this, he decided to retire after very strong work to recover from his injury,” Ancelotti said. “He was not able to do this but now we are together to look forward to support him in everything. He is a very good man and can have a fantastic job here in Chelsea and support us with his character,” the Italian continued.