Only one goal was necessary for the Premier League leaders to officially be crowned champions. Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead over the visiting Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and that goal put the Blues too far ahead of any of their closest rivals on the league table.
Chelsea was the team to beat this season, holding a lead at the top of the table that they never relinquished for the entire season. Rivals Manchester City and later Arsenal were able to at times, close the gap with the league leaders and pose a significant threat to the Blues.
But Chelsea’s 6 wins in 7 games over the last six weeks – aside from a scoreless draw at Emirates Stadium, gave the Blues a late season push that extended the lead over their rivals. Chelsea’s rescheduled bout with Leicester City last week ended in a 3-1 victory for the Blues, and put the squad in contention to clinch the title with a win at home on Sunday.
Things were quiet on the Stamford pitch for the first half of the game until Chelsea was handed a penalty with only moments before halftime. Hazard, fresh off his anointment as the PFA Player of the Year, was awarded a penalty after a foul by James McArthur, and took the free kick.
Hazard scored all of his penalties prior to this game so the team was betting on another goal to help clinch the season. Palace keeper Julian Speroni blocked the initial kick, but handled the rebound poorly as the ball shot back out towards Hazard. The winger took the opportunity and drilled the header into the net, giving the team a 1-0 lead heading into the half.
That was the only goal of the game and the entire stadium erupted in celebration when the game to an end. Chelsea clinched their first league trophy in 5 years with three games to spare before the season officially ends. Arsenal had the best odds of catching Chelsea, but Sunday’s three points put the league leaders out of reach of their rivals at Emirates.
Tip the hat to a team that deserves the title of Premier League champions – what a fantastic finish to an incredible season at Stamford Bridge.