Peoples Digest Online – Chelsea have been crowned champions for the sixth time in their history. Antonio Conte’s side have won the Premier League with two games to spare after a late goal by Michy Batshuayi secured the title with a 1-0 win over West Brom.
The £33million striker has endured a frustrating season, spent largely on the bench. But he came to Chelsea’s rescue on 81 minutes – just five minutes after replacing Pedro as a substitute – and produced the all-important title-winning goal. Now he wants his players to make it a “double”.
Conte celebrated at the Hawthorns after having a bucket of water poured over him and being sprayed with champagne after Michy Batshuayi’s late winner clinched the Premier League. He has also led his players to the FA Cup final as they face Arsenal later this month as he hopes to win another trophy to his impressive first season.
Conte said: “We were not lucky, we did a great job. It is a great season, but to be a fantastic season we have to win the FA Cup. “This is for my players. I have to say thanks for their commitment, their attitude and passion, and their will to do something great this season. “Now, after this win, I think that we must be happy for all the season. This win is for the players. They deserved this for their great commitment through all the season. We won this title together.
We fought a lot to win this title. My players were fantastic in a club who supported us.
“Every game I feel like I have played with my players. I show my passion and my will, my desire to stay with my players in every moment of the game. This is me, I am this.
CONTE AIMS FOR THE DOUBLE AFTER TITLE WIN
“In the present, in the past, I stay with my players in positive and negative situations. We won this title together.
Batshuayi was an unlikely hero as the £33m striker stepped off the bench and scored only his second Premier League goal and Conte admitted it has been a tough time for the Belgium striker.
Conte said: “I thought that Hazard and Pedro were tired and we needed more energy. Michy paid me a lot with this change! It was great. It wasn’t easy for me to arrive in England and try different habits, a different language and inherit players after a bad season.”
Batshuayi said: “It’s the best moment in my football career. It’s good. Everybody is happy. This is the best day for Chelsea. I want the trophy today. This is the best moment in my footballing life, for sure.”
Chelsea defender David Luiz added: “I am happy. Very happy. It is my first Premier League title. When I decided to come back here I dreamed to win the Premier League. I am very happy because my dream came true.”
West Brom boss Tony Pulis paid tribute and said: “You have to give Chelsea, Antonio and all his coaching staff the credit. He’s got them well set up. They’re very well organised.
“They’re probably at their best on the counter-attacking, very good springing out of defence, and have some wonderful players. They have some fantastic individual players who can change games in the blink of an eye, as they have all season. They’re very strong at the back as well. They deserve the title.”
He follows in the footsteps of compatriot Carlo Ancelotti who guided the Blues to the feat seven years ago and Roberto Mancini, who led Manchester City to the crown in 2012.
Conte has been a huge success all season. He became the first manager in history to win three successive Manager of the Month awards as he scooped the prize in October, November and December.
His latest trophy triumph represents the seventh piece of silverware to be collected during Conte’s illustrious managerial career.
CHELSEA CELEBRATE WINNING PREMIER LEAGUE IN DRESSING ROOM
Conte has helped complete a remarkable turnaround at Chelsea, just 12 months after they disappointingly finished in ninth following a dreadful title defence that saw Jose Mourinho sacked in December 2015.
The Italian got off to a relatively troublesome start, winning just three of his opening six Premier League games.
Yet the 3-0 defeat by Arsenal last September was seemingly the turning point as Conte changed tactics to a 3-4-3 system and Chelsea haven’t looked back since.
They went top of the table by beating Everton at the start of November and have showed no sign of relinquishing their stranglehold at the summit, despite a valiant challenge from London rivals Tottenham.
A season out of the Champions League has helped their cause and they are on to record a historic double if they beat Arsenal in the FA Cup Final later this month.
PFA player of the Year N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard have been the stars of the show in another memorable season in west London.
The Blues will now look forward to a triumphant homecoming on Monday night when they host Watford.
Although they are likely to receive a ceremonial guard of honour from the Hornets ahead of the game, they will not receive the trophy.
Instead they must wait until next Sunday’s final game of the season when they entertain relegated Sunderland.
In pictures: How Chelsea won the title
It is understood that the Blues will wait to stage their celebratory open-top bus parade until May 28 – a day after they face Arsenal in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
By then Conte will be hoping to have secured a famous double in his debut season in England.
Chelsea’s next chance to land silverware after the FA Cup will be in the 2017/18 season Community Shield curtain-raiser at Wembley on August 6.
They could renew rivalries with Arsenal – if they lose the final later this month. Or they will likely go head-to-head with Tottenham, the team who they pipped to the title and finished as Premier League runners-up.
Chelsea have now won five Premier League trophies, adding to their old First Division success in 1955.
Mourinho won three of those – the first two in 2005 and 2006, before collecting a third in 2015. Ancelotti celebrated the other in 2010.
Now Conte has etched his name into the history books as Chelsea officially return to their standing as the best team in the land.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
The game looked to be drifting towards a frustrating goalless draw for Chelsea until super-sub Batshuayi struck with eight minutes to go to seal the Premier League title. It was a scrappy goal but the visitors did not care after it sparked pandemonium on the Chelsea bench and among the visiting fans. Gary Cahill’s mishit shot span away from goal but Cesar Azpilicueta managed to reach it first and square the ball for Batshuayi to prod home.
STATS OF THE MATCH
Batshuayi had cut a frustrated figure since his £33 million move from Marseille last summer but his first Premier League goal since August clinched the title. It was his 18th substitute appearance in the league and he is yet to start for Chelsea in the top flight, but it mattered little as he celebrated at The Hawthorns. His previous three goals had come against Bristol Rovers, Peterborough and Brentford in the cups but the Belgium forward wrote his name in Chelsea history on Friday.
Pedro made his Chelsea debut at The Hawthorns in August 2015 – scoring in a 3-2 win – and clearly enjoyed his return. He was lively and while Eden Hazard also pulled the strings, Albion always had to be wary of Pedro’s pace and direct running. Two chances fell wide in the first half – the closest Chelsea came until Batshuayi’s winner.
Chelsea’s road to the title
1) Chelsea 2-1 West Ham
Costa’s late winner got the Blues off to a winning start
2) Watford 1-2 Chelsea
Batshuayi hit home a rare Chelsea goal on the way to victory
3) Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Hazard opened the scoring in easy win at Stamford Bridge
4) Swansea 2-2 Chelsea
5) Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool
6) Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
7) Hull 0-2 Chelsea
Willian and Costa secure win for new-look Blues
8) Chelsea 3-0 Leicester
9) Chelsea 4-0 Man United
10) Southampton 0-2 Chelsea
11) Chelsea 5-0 Everton
12) Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea
13) Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
Pedro and Moses secure key win over title rivals
14) Man City 1-3 Chelsea
Blues see off Pep’s men in style in feisty Etihad clash
15) Chelsea 1-0 West Brom
Costa nicks winner as leaders make it nine victories on the spin
16) Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea
Fabregas on target as Blues pick up another clean sheet
17) Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea
Costa heads winner in Selhurst Park success
18) Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth
Pedro opens scoring in Boxing Day rout
19) Chelsea 4-2 Stoke
Willian scores twice as Conte’s men are given scare
20) Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
2017 gets off to losing start as Alli scores twice at White Hart Lane
21) Leicester 0-3 Chelsea
Blues bounce back in style as Alonso bags double
22) Chelsea 2-0 Hull
23) Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
24) Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
25) Burnley 1-1 Chelsea
Brady stunner denies Blues three points at Turf Moor
26) Chelsea 3-1 Swansea
27) West Ham 1-2 Chelsea
28) Stoke 1-2 Chelsea
29) Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace
30) Chelsea 2-1 Man City
31) Bournemouth 1-3 Chelsea
32) Man United 2-0 Chelsea
33) Chelsea 4-2 Southampton
34) Everton 0-3 Chelsea
35) Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough
36) West Brom 0-1 Chelsea