Wigan Athletic 0 Chelsea 1: Art of Deco lifts Chelsea to top as Scolari paints picture of new world

Luiz Felipe Scolari has managed in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he has won a World Cup in Japan and he comes from the remote Rio Grande do Sul in the southern Brazil, but he admitted that, until yesterday, he had never been to that distant, exotic kingdom known as the north of England. Chelsea will have play better on their further visits if they are to win the Premier League this season.

A moment of brilliance from Deco four minutes into the match decided it, a free-kick that swooped into the top corner of Mike Pollitt's goal before he had barely picked out its flight. The rest of the game was not so beautiful although it was never easy for Chelsea, whose second win of the season leaves them top of the Premier League after two games. So far, so good, even if Roman Abramovich chose not spend to his August bank holiday in Lancashire.

Scolari explained how this was the first time that he had ventured north of London but that his grip of geography was improving. "Yes, it's my first time in the north," he said, "and I know that I will have to come here to play Bolton, Manchester United, Manchester City. Here in the north. I understand that now."

Gritty, physical, relentless: Scolari got a view of the other side of football in England that was in stark contrast to the opening weekend when Chelsea passed the ball around Portsmouth in the sunshine at Stamford Bridge. Only the marble-hearted would have begrudged Wigan a point from this game, in which they ran themselves silly in the first half closing down the opposition. Wilson Palacios and Amr Zaki were outstanding but it all felt futile against superstars who need just one chance to pick opponents off.

It will be curious to see how Scolari's teams play away from home this season, especially in the North-West – which Sir Alex Ferguson has often referred to as if it were one rebellious tribe desperate to wreak havoc on any London sides with pretensions to winning the League. Yesterday Scolari paid tribute to the strength of the competition when he said that a 1-0 away win was equivalent to "10-0" in other leagues around the world. "In England," he said, "you always say that first [placed team] playing against the last is not easy."

Up to a point, Felipe, but when you have players in the side like Deco, they can, at times, make the whole thing look as simple as lacing their boots. For the goal, Lee Cattermole handled the ball about 25 yards out and Pollitt, a late replacement for Chris Kirkland who aggravated his back injury in the warm-up, never got close to Deco's resulting free-kick. "Another piece of Deco magic," said Ashley Cole. "He does it all the time in training."

That was the assumption, given that the Portuguese international was even allowed to take the shot – the queue for free-kick status at Chelsea is long and distinguished. But soon Wigan were back in the game, snapping at the heels of Chelsea's midfield, which looked stretched at times with Joe Cole in a more forward position. Palacios and Antonio Valencia, Steve Bruce later noted, played in Mexico for Honduras in midweek, while Zaki represented Egypt in Sudan, and none of them looked rusty.

Two defeats into the season, Bruce talked wearily of beating any one of the big four and the lengths he has gone to source players – he made his trip to Cairo to persuade Zaki to sign sound like he had been asked to find the source of the Nile single-handed. Now he is looking at the Korean striker Park Chu-Young, from FC Seoul. "Chelsea didn't look at any stage like they would rip us apart like they did with Portsmouth," Bruce said. "Chelsea have had a bad day but a piece of brilliance from Deco has saved them. That's why they are at the highest level. If it hadn't been him, they have others who can do that."

Fabio Capello was in attendance and, as usual, he will have left thinking about the non-English players on the pitch. Cattermole was determined for Wigan and Emile Heskey contributed to the move that saw Zaki's shot stopped by Petr Cech at close range, but they struggled to put Chelsea's defence on the back foot. Cech was excellent – that save from Zaki and another from substitute Olivier Kapo were decisive in winning the game.

With Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien all playing with injuries, and John Obi Mikel out of the game, Scolari declared himself delighted with the performance. "It doesn't mean that much to be top after just two games," he said, "but it's good for the group to have six points." They will, after all, face some tougher tests in this part of the world.

Goal: Deco (4) 0-1.

Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Pollitt; Melchiot (Camara, 85), Boyce, Bramble, Figueroa; Valencia, Cattermole, Palacios (Kapo, 80), Koumas (De Ridder, h-t), Zaki; Heskey. Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Brown, Kilbane, Sibierski.

Chelsea (4-1-3-2): Cech; Bosingwa, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole (Bridge, 83); Essien; Ballack, Lampard, Deco; J Cole (Kalou, 58), Anelka (Malouda, 89). Substitutes not used: Hilario (gk), Ivanovic, Alex, Belletti.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

Booked: Wigan Cattermole; Chelsea Terry, Carvalho.

Man of the match: Cech.

Attendance: 18,139.

Wright-Phillips' future up for discussion in boardroom

Luiz Felipe Scolari said yesterday that he will meet with the Chelsea hierarchy today to discuss whether to sanction the transfer of Shaun Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips has been targeted by Everton and the player's future is understood to rest on the success of Chelsea in signing their principal target, Robinho, from Real Madrid.

At the start of the summer Wright-Phillips had been told he could leave but as the Robinho deal looked more unlikely, the club thought they may keep the player. Now, with Real's stance softening on Robinho – valued at around £30m – he may yet be allowed to leave. "I listened to my director say something about this," Scolari said. "But when I am in the club, I will discuss this. It's impossible before an important game, with so many problems."

Andrei Shevchenko has already left the club over the weekend to rejoin Milan. Nevertheless, Scolari said that Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack and Michael Essien were all carrying injuries in yesterday's 1-0 win over Wigan. Joe Cole had an ice pack on his right foot after being substituted. Ashley Cole, also substituted, had a dead leg. The left-back said it would not rule him out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia this month.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?