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THEM AND US: CHELSEA

PUBLISHED

13:17 7th February 2013

by Nick Taylor

A look at some of the figures to represent both clubs on and off the pitch.

Representing both Wigan Athletic and Chelsea has become a strong bond in recent seasons, with six former or current Chelsea players having plied their trade at the DW Stadium since Latics made it to the Barclays Premier League.

DIRECT DEALINGS

Moses celebration v Newcastle 11-12The big mover between the clubs was hot news in the summer of 2012 as exciting forward Victor Moses left Latics for Chelsea in August after playing his last game at the DW Stadium against the team he was about to join.

Since moving to Stamford Bridge Moses has five goals in all competitions, keeping up an incredible stat that sees him unbeaten in 23 games that he has scored goals in, spanning across his three teams Crystal Palace, Latics and Chelsea.

His most important goal for Chelsea so far came in stoppage time against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League as he netted the winning goal in a 3-2 victory.

Franco Di Santo came the other way on the August 2010 transfer deadline and has made an impact since as a fan favourite, while also earning his first ever Argentina cap last year.

Di Santo v Chelsea 11-12The Argentinian arrived in England with Chelsea in 2008 from Chilean side Audax Italiano and was an instant hit with the Blues’ reserve side, hinting towards a bright future at the club.

In Di Santo’s first full season at Stamford Bridge he made 16 appearances from the bench but was sent out for development purposes the season after to Blackburn Rovers.

Before becoming a Latics player in 2010 Di Santo visited the DW as a Blackburn player but was subbed off for former Latics striker Jason Roberts during a 1-1 draw.

The first direct piece of on-field business between the two clubs in Latics Football League history was the loan signing of Scott Sinclair at the start of the 2009/10 season.

The winger’s move to the DW Stadium followed loan spells with Plymouth Argyle, QPR, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace and Birmingham City, but this was to be his first step up into a first team Premier League squad.

Sinclair made just one start for Latics and was mainly used from the bench, appearing as a substitute 17 times.

The pacey forward scored two goals for the club both coming against Hull City, with one in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup.

He made just 14 appearances for the first team at Chelsea and after his spell with Latics Sinclair was sold on to then Championship side Swansea City.

As well as Sinclair Latics had another loanee from Chelsea in the form of Patrick Van Aanholt, who completed a five month spell at the club last season.

The Dutch Under 21 full back started four games for Latics which is half the number of appearances he had made for his parent club.

Van Aanholt remains a Chelsea player but is currently out on loan in the Netherlands with Vitesse Arnhem.

DEFENSIVE DUTY

Melchiot v ChelseaMario Melchiot and Emerson Thome both had spells with Chelsea before moving to Latics later in their career, as did goalkeeper Dave Beasant before them.

Melchiot was a firm favourite with both teams, starting his Chelsea career in 1999 after a move from Ajax, before eventually leaving the club in 2004 for Birmingham.

The Dutch full back made 164 appearances for the Blues and scored five goals.

He was part of the Chelsea team that won the 2000 FA Cup in what was just his seventh appearance for the club.

After a year in France with Rennes following his departure from Birmingham, Melchiot found a new home at the DW Stadium in 2007 and was made Club Captain after just a month by then manager Chris Hutchings.

‘Super’ Mario played 101 times for Latics and made history by becoming the first player to represent the club in a major international tournament when he came on as a sub against Romania in the European Championships in 2008.

Coincidentally Emerson Thome was in the same Chelsea defence as Melchiot the day the Dutchman made his debut for the club in April 2000 against Middlesbrough.

Thome had joined Chelsea in December 1999 but would only remain there until August 2000 when he left for Sunderland on transfer deadline day.

The Brazilian played 22 times for the Blues, including a start in the 2000 Champions League quarter final first leg 3-1 win over Barcelona, a team which was decorated with talent such as, Philip Cocu, Patrick Kluivert, Rivaldo, Luis Figo and a much younger Xavi.

A strong centre half, Thome arrived in Wigan in August 2004 on a free transfer and went on to play 20 games.

He remained at Latics for their first ever Premier League campaign but failed to make an appearance in the competition, despite making three start in the Carling Cup which all involved clean sheets.

Thome can now be found working as a scout in Portugal and Northern Spain for Everton.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Chris Hutchings unveilingFormer Chelsea player Chris Hutchings was assistant manager to Paul Jewell at Latics from 2001 before taking over the reigns as number one when Jewell departed in May 2007.

As a player Hutchings joined Chelsea from his local side Harrow Borough and went on to play 87 times for the Blues, scoring on his debut in a 1-0 victory against Cardiff City.

The defender came up against his future employers for the first and only time but was on the losing side when Latics beat Chelsea 4-2 in the League Cup in the 1981/82 season.

Hutchings was relieved of his managerial duties at Wigan Athletic after just five and a half months in charge, with his final game as boss resulting in a 2-0 home defeat against none other than Chelsea.

Another managerial link is that of the man who managed Latics in their first Football League season.

Ian McNeill took charge at Springfield Park in 1968 for his first stint at the club but was sacked in 1970, only to return in 1976 for an improved spell.

McNeill was at the helm as Latics entered the Football League for the very first time and provided the club with two impressive sixth place finishes.

In 1981 he left again and later became assistant manager at Chelsea to John Neal.

During his time at Stamford Bridge he played an instrumental part in the recruitment of the likes of Pat Nevin, David Speedie and Kerry Dixon, who turned round the fortunes of the club and helped win promotion to the top flight in 1984.

Ken Bates, the man who sold Chelsea to Roman Abramovich in 2003 was also involved with Latics for a short time as a Director in 1980.

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