The Blues are over the line and it has been confirmed that John Terry will lift the Premier League trophy against Sunderland on May the 24th.
Jose selected the same starting eleven as the team that started against Leicester during the week but Ramires was withdrawn minutes before kick-off giving Cuadrado a rare starting birth. Remy’s name appeared on the bench but it was Drogba once again leading the line.
Palace benched Glenn Murray and opted for the pace of Bolasie on the break through the middle. Mutch joined Ledley in the middle who replaced Jedinak. Mariappa occupied the full back position Stephen Kelly had against Hull.
It was the Eagles that made arguably the stronger start and Zaha gave Ivanovic a hard time down the wing. An early yellow for the Serb meant that the visitors focused much of their attacks down the left.
Chances in the first half were few and far between and Sky’s stats showed Pardew’s men had more touches in the opposition penalty area. Chelsea defended resolutely and as usual with Terry once again at the heart of it. One of the two major talking points came when Punchoen’s effort was blocked by a last ditch Terry lunge. First glance looked like a heroic block but closer inspection showed the ball ricocheted off the captain’s upper arm.
The second big one was the build up to the only goal of the match. A silky one two with the impressive Willian put Hazard square on with McArthur and Mariappa. He went down acrimoniously under what later looked to be minimal contact. The usually imperious penalty taker’s effort was saved by Speroni but Hazard spooned his rebound header into the corner on the follow up.
Prior to the goal, Chelsea’s best move was strong work down the right as the ball cut back to Drogba who scuffed his finish in a position not too dissimilar to where he scored at Leicester on Wednesday.
Mikel replaced the ineffectual Cuadrado at the break and Chelsea enjoyed much greater control of the middle in the second period. With the Nigerian next to Matic, it allowed Fabregas to move further forward and the tempo dropped as the visitors threat displayed in the first period vastly decreased.
As the contest wore on, Palace began to introduce more offensive options from the bench. Murray allowed Palace to play more direct as their grip on the match waned. The impressive Zaha very nearly found the freshly introduced Sanogo as the pressure began to build in the last fifteen. Chelsea finished the match with three defensive midfielders as Zouma showed his defensive worth late on, shielding the back four with Matic and Mikel.
Terry fell to his knees as the celebrations began at the final whistle. Chelsea have their fourth title and under Mourinho’s stewardship and you would not bet against them getting number five next season.