Wigan came a whisker away from earning something from their trip to Stamford Bridge but ulitmately left empty handed thanks to a Florent Malouda second half strike that should not have stood.

Malouda 67

The two previous meetings between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea had seen Roberto Martinez’ side concede 14 goals without reply and this outing was expected to be a tough encounter for a club languishing at the foot of the Premier League table with time rapidly running out in their battle for top flight survival.

However a much improved and settled side almost grabbed a result that would have gone a very long way to ensure that they would be competing among the elite for a seventh consecutive campaign.

Chelsea pressured Wigan throughout the game but a combination of solid defending with another outstanding performance from keeper Ali Al Habsi kept the champions at bay.

Wigan showed some decent touches and Ancelotti’s charges were left to look pretty ordinary at times and it took a scrappy goal to decide the game in favour of the home side.

A Didier Drogba corner was headed goalbound by Brazilian David Luiz but and then came the controversial moment.

Al Habsi tried desperately to clear but could only get the slightest of touch on the ball as Chelsea substitute Fernando Torres had his arm across the Wigan keeper’s face to impede his view and his progress allowing the ball to land at the feet of Florent Malouda who rifled the ball home through a melee of players.

One can understand the frustation displayed by Martinez at full time because the decision by World Cup Final referee Howard Webb not to penalise Torres for his obstruction on Al Habsi had potentially denied Wigan a valuable point at the end of the day.

Also Al Habsi had performed superbly between the posts thwarting both Drogba and Torres with saves that were up there with the best and to be denied a second straight clean sheet in such circumstances was a bit harsh on the Omani keeper.

Wigan almost found themselves behind within the first two minutes but Frank Lampard couldn’t find enough purchase on the ball after Drogba had got the better of Alcaraz and set him up in the box with Ramires also failing to capitalise on the rebound.

Al Habsi was called into action moments later after Chelsea earned themselves a free-kick in a dangerous position which Drogba fired in forcing a save from the Wigan keeper.

Wigan were riding there luck a bit in the opening exchanges but they eventually found their momentum and Charles N’Zogbia was unfortunate to be flagged offside after Ben Watson had sent him clear on goal.

The decision was a tight one to say the least and you would have put money on the French midfielder getting a shot on goal had he been allowed to continue with his run.

Referee: Howard Webb (West Yorkshire)
Attendance: 40,734
1 Petr Cech 26 Ali Al Habsi
3 Ashley Cole 17 Emmerson Boyce
2 Branislav Ivanovic 3 Antolin Alcaraz
4 David Luiz 31 Maynor Figueroa
19 Paulo Ferreira 5 Gary Caldwell
8 Frank Lampard 21 Mohamed Diame
15 Florent Malouda 8 Ben Watson
12 Mikel John Obi 10 Charles N’Zogbia
7 Ramires 4 James McCarthy
39 Nicolas Anelka 15 Tom Cleverley
11 Didier Grogba 20 Hugo Rodallega
22 Ross Turnbull 12 Mike Pollitt
33 Alex 2 Steve Gohouri
5 Michael Essien 23 Ronnie Stam
18 Yuri Zhirkov 14 Jordi Gomez
9 Fernando Torres 18 Conor Sammon
21 Salomon Kalou 11 Victor Moses
10 Yossi Benayoun 7 Franco Di Santo
42′ Yellow Card Emmerson Boyce
46′ Player OffYossi Benayoun
Player OnAleksandar Kolarov
55′ Yellow Card David Luiz
59′ Player OffNicolas Anelka
Player OnFernando Torres
67′ GoalFlorent Malouda
75′ Player OffPaulo Ferreira
Player OnAlex
62′ Player OffHugo Rodallega
Player OnConor Sammon
62′ Player OffCharles N’Zogbia
Player OnFranco Di Santo
85′ Player OffMohamed Diame
Player OnVictor Moses
90′ Yellow Card Maynor Figueroa