Chelsea extend flying start

WIGAN, Aug 22, 2010 (AFP) - Doubles from Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou helped Chelsea continue their flying start to their Premier League title defence with a 6-0 thrashing of Wigan at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun were also on target as Carlo Ancelotti's men followed up their opening day defeat of West Brom by the same scoreline.

Anelka, who was banned this week from representing France for 18 internationals in the wake of his behaviour at the World Cup, showed no signs of sulking as he struck twice in four second half minutes to kill-off the home side's stubborn resistance and help Chelsea continue their remarkable run of form.

Anelka (R) celebrates with Chelsea's Didier Drogba after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League football match between Wigan Athletic and Chelsea on August 21, 2010. AFP

Florent Malouda broke the stalemate in the 34th minute before Anelka added his brace, with substitute Kalou adding two and Benayoun one more to take Chelsea's tally of goals to 29 in their last four league matches.

They have also failed to concede one in almost 500 minutes of play.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez had responded to his side's opening day humbling by Blackpool by recalling Charles N'Zogbia to his starting line-up.

The French international had been overlooked last weekend in the wake of a training ground dispute between him and Martinez amid suggestions he wanted to leave the club.

There was also a league debut for Dutch defender Ronnie Stam, while Chelsea recalled Branislav Ivanovic at the expense of Paulo Ferreira.

Home supporters would have turned up for this game fearing the worst considering what happened seven days ago and the fact Chelsea put eight past them on the final afternoon of last season.

Yet it seemed the harsh words Martinez had spoken on the training field had sunk in as Wigan made the brighter start and, more importantly, appeared resolute and organised at the back.

Mauro Boselli just failed to connect with a dangerous cross from Hugo Rodallega inside six minutes before Petr Cech was forced to parry a blistering drive from Maynor Figueroa.

Chelsea, meanwhile, struggled to put Chris Kirkland under any pressure in the Wigan goal with just a hopeful strike from Michael Essien all they had to show for the opening 30 minutes, in which time they had been second best by some distance.

Yet despite finding themselves under pressure Ancelotti's side somehow managed to engineer the game's opening goal against the run of play in the 34th minute. It was their first meaningful attack but worth the wait as Didier Drogba and Ashley Cole combined superbly down the left flank to find Frank Lampard in a strong shooting position.

Lampard seemed destined to score only to see his effort superbly kept out, but the loose ball fell kindly to Malouda, who duly dispatched it into an open goal.

Wigan needed to score the next goal to make this a contest but it went to Anelka, who charged onto John Obi Mikel's raking pass before guiding a diagonal drive past Kirkland and into the bottom corner in the 48th minute.

He then made it 3-0 just four minutes later, finishing from close range following good work from Malouda and Drogba.

Drogba, who picked up the man of the match award, also provided the final passes for both of Kalou's goals -- a tap-in and a glancing header -- before Benayoun swept a low shot past Kirkland in the 90th minute.

To increase the misery for Wigan, who have now conceded ten goals in successive home defeats, they saw Figueroa stretchered off in the dying minutes with what looked like a serious knee injury.

Other news