Chelsea have once again clinched the Premier League title after a 1-0 win away to West Bromwich Albion.
With two games still remaining, the Blues have secured their sixth title after the unlikely hero, Michy Batshuayi, netted an 82nd minute winner against the Baggies in what was a game that most football fans foresaw Chelsea dominating.
They started their season slightly unconvincingly, taking only 10 points out of a possible 18 from their first six games. However, after their mixed start, they went on to dominate the rest of the season, winning their next nine consecutive matches and becoming odds on favourites to win the title on the 11th December. Not only were they in great winning form, but they were also scoring goals for fun, netting 76 goals – more than any other Premier League team. On top of this, they were also the second best defensive team in the league, just behind Liverpool, conceding only 8.9 shots per game.
But what did Chelsea do differently this year to their horrendous tenth placed finish last year? They brought in the most passionate Italian to ever step foot in Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte. If you have gone to watch Chelsea play, then the chances are that you probably have heard Conte before actually seeing him. And it’s his love for the game and great tactical mind-set that turned Chelsea into such a dominating force. One of the most credible changes that Conte made to the London club was their formation. After losing 3-0 to Arsenal on the 24th September, Antonio made, what was at the time, a questionable decision to implement a 3-4-3 formation, and he never looked back.
Besides an outstanding managerial contribution, the one other factor that helped Chelsea win the Premier League was the unmatched talent from each individual player. Much to the relief of every supporter, Eden Hazard managed to snap out of his unusually bad form from last season and bagged himself 15 goals and 5 assists. Diego Costa, the fiery Spaniard, also grabbed himself 20 goals, currently more than any of his teammates, while Cesc Fàbregas leads the race for the most assists (11). And let’s not forget the 2016/17 Premier League PFA Player of the Year, N’Golo Kanté, who topped Chelsea’s table for most interceptions (82) and tackles (124).
In an interview with BBC Sport, Conte expressed his delight in winning the Premier League:
“For me to win in my first season in England, I am really proud of the achievement. My players showed me great professionalism, commitment, work-rate and will to try to win this league. We have two games to celebrate, then we try to make this season from great to fantastic.”
Lee Mortier, a passionate Chelsea fan and season ticket holder, described how Chelsea “look a completely different team to last year” and that he thinks his team “can go on and win it again next year if Conte doesn’t leave for Inter.”
Chelsea will face Arsenal in the final of the FA Cup on the 27th May, one day prior to their open-top-bus parade celebrating their Premier League success. If the Blues manage to beat the Gooners next Saturday, then Chelsea may be killing two birds with one stone on the 28th.