Chelsea went into their opening fixture of the 2005-06 campaign looking to make a positive start to the defence of their first Premier League title win as the Blues, managed by Jose Mourinho, threatened to build a dominant era in the top flight of English football.
In sharp contrast, Wigan Athletic were competing in their first-ever Premier League match after winning promotion from the Championship, and the aim of the North-West outfit was to find a way of surviving against English football's elite.
Chelsea handed a debut to Spanish left-back Asier del Horno, with fellow new signing Shaun Wright-Phillips starting on the bench, while Latics boss Paul Jewell began the game with as many as six summer acquisitions in his lineup.
The Senegalese forward soon followed that up with a low drive from distance, but that brought a response from the visitors, with Didier Drogba blazing just over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.
© Getty Images
Chelsea were being pressured and harassed in all areas of the pitch, but Wigan's eagerness was leaving them susceptible to a counter-attack, and they almost conceded when Arjen Robben was given the opportunity to run into space on the flank before curling marginally wide from long range.
Before the end of the opening 45 minutes, Wigan should have taken the lead through midfielder Alan Mahon, but despite being found in plenty of space inside the penalty area, he could only direct his effort over the crossbar.
After an indifferent half, Mourinho rung the changes at the break, introducing Wright-Phillips for his first Chelsea appearance as well as bringing on Joe Cole, and the duo soon combined in the final third before Cole fired a shot wide after good work from his teammate.
As the half progressed, Chelsea were beginning to stamp their authority on the match, with Wigan stopper Mike Pollitt being forced into action to prevent Hernan Crespo, Cole and John Terry from opening the scoring.
However, with the game entering the final 10 minutes, Wigan created their own opportunities through Damien Francis and Andreas Johansson, but neither could find the target despite being well placed to test Cech.
© Getty Images
As the game entered added-on time, Wigan looked assured of their first Premier League point but with 93 minutes on the clock, Crespo marked his return to England with a stunning strike that broke the hearts of the Latics.
The Argentine, who had been shipped out to AC Milan the previous year due to failing to adapt to Premier League football, cut inside onto his right foot before firing the ball into the far corner from 25 yards.
The goal sparked jubilant celebrations from Chelsea's players, but not from Mourinho, who made his way over to his opposite number Jewell to praise Wigan for their performance and to admit that he felt that his team were fortunate to come away with the three points.
Chelsea's triumph saw them go on to start the season in remarkable style, winning their first nine games before drawing with Everton, and that form enabled them to remain at the top of the Premier League table until the end of the campaign as they secured their second successive crown by eight points from Manchester United.
Despite the defeat, it turned out to be a hugely successful season for Wigan, who defied their tag of relegation certainties to finish in 10th position ahead of the likes of Everton, Manchester City and Aston Villa.