In one respect, it is very easy to see how Chelsea won the Premier League this season – they had one of the best managers in the world coaching some of the very best players to perform at the top of their game.
But Chelsea’s triumph is much more complex than that, and with the West London club wrapping up their sixth title (five in the Premier League era) in style, it looks like this team could go far.
There were some pivotal moments throughout the season but one of the most important was right at the start before a ball was kicked – and that was the appointment of Antonia Conte as manager. The Italian was brought in after last season’s horror show and instantly made sure his players put in the hard work needed to win a title.
That hard work was typified by players such as N’Golo Kanté who had shone for Leicester the season before but showed no problem with stepping up to a bigger stage – winning both the PFA and FWA Footballer of the Year awards. Many fans questioned the re-signing of David Luiz but with Conte introducing a three man back line, the Brazilian had the season of his life bringing some international flair to the club.
A glance at sites such as 888Sport show that Chelsea had many top international players that had woefully underperformed the year before, but under Conte, they have shown their true worth, and no-one exemplifies that as much as Belgian superstar Eden Hazard. Unhappy last year, Hazard has set the league alight this campaign leading the side to deserved glory through some outstanding displays.
Several matches stand out as integral to the success of Chelsea this year. In a season where they nearly equalled Arsenal’s record of winning 14 consecutive matches as well as showing no sign of easing up at the end of the season to chalk up a record 30 victories in a season, certain games showed what the Blues were capable of.
After a disastrous September where they lost to Liverpool and Arsenal, Chelsea went on to equal that Arsenal record while beating Manchester United 4-0 and – more importantly – winning at Manchester City at the start of December to show everyone they should be seriously considered.
Chelsea had performed so well during this time that many thought the title race was over but defeats to Palace and Manchester United in April saw Spurs come right back into it – only four points behind at that stage. However, once again Chelsea pushed on, going undefeated for the rest of the season. Another comprehensive victory away to Everton left a relatively easy run in where the Blues kept their eyes firmly on the prize.
Everything clicked for Chelsea this year but it was because of the solid work of the players under the tactical genius of Conte that they won the title – and many will fancy their chances of defending it next season.