It may be regarded as all but a sure thing by everyone in red and blue, and all colours in between, but Roberto Martinez claims his Wigan side will be inspired by the "world watching" to make the Premier League finale as unpredictable to call as any other quest for victory this week.
In September, Wigan beat Chelsea at the DW Stadium and combined with their remarkable victory over Arsenal last month, it fuels Martinez's optimism ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday where Chelsea will chase a victory that will clinch the title.
"For our football club to perform well when the whole football world is watching is going to give us special memories and that is what you play football for," said Martinez. "We are capable of going to Stamford Bridge and making things difficult. A strong performance is an important way to finish the season. We are not going to just turn up and be another team at Stamford Bridge. We will approach it in a manner where we want to hurt Chelsea on the day."
Only Burnley have conceded more goals away from home in the Premier League than Wigan's 47 – 18 of those on their four previous visits to the capital – but it is their blue riband wins at home that gives the Spaniard hope for Sunday afternoon, notably that 3-1 triumph over the champions elect.
"The Chelsea performance was really, really pleasing, the way we stopped them from being Chelsea," he said. "We were the better side. By winning the game we got rid of that mental block that Wigan Athletic would never be able to beat the top four. We are going to approach it on Sunday in the same manner. I know everyone expects Chelsea to win and rightly so. But we have nothing to lose. We have a very, very young squad but they are arrogant in the right manner and on the day we can beat anyone.
"Our season is finished but Sunday is something more special than that. It is about showing what we have learned this season and how we have defied the odds. Everyone expects Chelsea to win the match. It is more than a football game for us because we know the whole football world is watching and for the youngsters they could learn more in 90 minutes than they could for three years."
For all Martinez's considered bravado, Wigan's defensive toil on their travels and Chelsea's free-scoring make it a formidable task. Carlo Ancelotti's side have scored 60 times at Stamford Bridge, seven of them coming in their last home game against Stoke.
"After 10 months of hard work, if we don't capitalise on Sunday all that work will be in vain," said Salomon Kalou, who scored his first hat-trick for the club against Stoke. "Just one game can spoil everything and we have to play like we want to be champions. In the whole season you can't play at the same level and be on top every time. The difference in winning the title is when you are not on top form you have to come back to the basics where you fight for every game, and that is what we do well.
"We are just training like we train before every game and even if it is the most important game of the season, if we play like we know how to play then it should be a nice game to watch. We should go there and enjoy the moment because you don't get these opportunities always. Playing for the title in front of your own supporters, we have to enjoy that and make them enjoy it as well and hopefully in the end we can all celebrate together."
Chelsea will once again be without John Obi Mikel and the Nigerian has also been ruled out of the FA Cup final against Portsmouth on 15 May after having surgery on his knee. Mikel picked up the injury against Bolton last month and although he started the next game against Tottenham he lasted only 33 minutes before being replaced by Michael Ballack. He is expected to be fit for the World Cup.
Ballack, who was yesterday named in Germany's preliminary 27-man squad for South Africa, will hold talks with Chelsea at the end of the season, when his contract runs out. He has been linked with a move home to Schalke. "My primary aim is to stay in the Premier League," he said.Reuse content