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Chelsea 2-1 Wigan Athletic (Wigan fan's perspective)

Sunday 8th April 2012
How's your luck? Wigan were left cursing theirs after being desperately unlucky not to come away from Stamford Bridge with at least a point after two horrendous mistakes by linesman Dave Bryan. Both Chelsea goals were offside but the ancient official failed to spot either, costing Wigan points and potentially their Premier League place into the bargain.

You had the feeling that Chelsea would underestimate their relegation-threatened opponents and that certainly proved to be the case. Even with Chelsea's team selection it was clear the hosts weren't expecting much of a challenge as seven changes were made from the midweek win over Benfica.

Wigan went into the game in fine form, but there was nothing they could do to prevent only their second defeat in nine games after two horrendous mistakes by the incompetent flag-bearer. First the clueless official kept his flag down despite goalscorer Branislav Ivanovic being yards offside. Later he failed to spot Juan Mata being in an offside position for a stoppage time winner that sunk the hearts of the Wigan faithful.

That was all after substitute Momo Diame thundered home a deserved equaliser for the visitors. The Senegalese international showed great footwork to smash home a leveller from 20 yards. It had been coming after long periods of Wigan dominance. In fact Wigan had numerous chances to take the lead, the best being when former Chelsea striker Franco Di Santo had a goalbound effort cleared by goalscorer Ivanovic.

Gary Caldwell had the chance to repeat his Anfield heroics when he got forward late on. The ball fell to him at the far post but the skipper couldn't convert. You have to ask what he was doing up there when a point was virtually in the bag. The Scot ran his heart out to try and get back but he couldn't quite make it as Torres' effort hit the post only to rebound onto the legs of Mata and trickle over the line.

It was totally heartbreaking for a Wigan side who played without fear for the whole afternoon. For a team battling relegation and who also lost 8-0 at the Bridge not so long ago to be so dominant against a side who have just sealed their place in the Champions League semi finals is incredible and a sign of the fight and spirit in the team right now.

For Roberto Martinez to describe the performance of the linesman as "horrific" and "disgusting" speaks volumes of what Wigan were up against at the Bridge. Martinez, somewhat frustratingly, never criticises officials when it's really warranted. He didn't hold back today. It may cost him a few quid, but you can't help but agree with him.

You hear of people talking about the use of technology in football, well there was no need for technology today, just good eyesight and a bit of common sense would have been enough. It brings into question why there's no age limit for linesman in the Premier League. Referees are forced to quit at 50, so why aren't linesmen? Surely eyesight and speed are important in this self-proclaimed "best league in the World"?

It was a costly day out for Wigan fans, with tickets bordering on the £50 mark. Well who knows what the decisions of Dave Bryan will cost the club, it could be closer to the £50m mark. If the decisions that went against Wigan today were to go against one of the big boys there would be hell to pay. The fact they went against Wigan means that life goes on, it'll get a quick mention and then it'll all be forgotten. The Premier League is just one big, horrible stinking joke at times.

And so we move on to the DW to play Manchester United on Wednesday, where a late Phil Dowd winner should seal the points for the champions elect.

Chelsea:  Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Essien (Mikel 73), Mata, Drogba, Malouda (Torres 59), Meireles, Sturridge (Kalou 82), Cahill, Bertrand

Unused Subs:  Turnbull, Romeu, Bosingwa, Ferreira

Goals: Ivanovic 62, Mata 90 (+2)

Starman: Dave Bryan

Wigan:  Al Habsi, Alcaraz, McCarthy, Figueroa, Caldwell, Di Santo (Sammon 79), Maloney, Moses, McArthur (Watson 70), Boyce, Beausejour (Diame 70)

Subs : Kirkland, Crusat, Gomez, Stam

Goals: Diame 82

Starman: Gary Caldwell

Attendance: 40,651
Stuart Alker

Total articles: 31

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