Coronation of Chelsea as Champions
Written By: Robert Halter
Blues legend, Didier Drogba, played his final game for Chelsea, and was made captain for the match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, while Petr Cech, was recalled amongst the goal posts. In the opening exchanges, Sebastian Larsson pulled down Willian, whose free kick was punched away by the Black Cats second choice keeper, Vito Mannone. In the third minute, after Juan Cuadrado carved an opening, a low strike by Drogba on the right side, was averted across the face of goal by a slight touch from Mannone and then the Sunderland shot stopper punched clear a left wing cross from Cesar Azpilicueta. But in the thirteenth minute, Cech sprung into action with a double handed block to turn away Larsson’s bending free kick, after a foul by Patrick Van Aanholt on Branislav Ivanovic, This fired up Ivanovic, who drilled in a long range pillar driver on the quarter of the hour mark, which Mannone had to push away, after the ball had been pinged across the park from Eden Hazard. On nineteen minutes, Jermain Defoe, created space for Van Aanholt on the left side, but his shot brushed past the far post. Midway through the first half, Van Aanholt returned the favour for Defoe, whose first time strike, brought a strong block from Cech. But it was the Black Cats that seized the initiative on twenty five minutes when Adam Johnson’s corner caught out the Blues backline and Steven Fletcher, took full advantage by nodding the ball into the centre of the net. The Blues had to chase the game but Nemanja Matic, was unable to find the target from outside the box, before Drogba was lofted high by his Chelsea team mates, as he made way to be replaced by Diego Costa. But the Blues got a route back into the game on thirty five minutes when Sunderland captain, John O’ Shea, barged into Juan Cuadrado in the area, and Costa made no mistake from the spot, with a low strike into the bottom left corner. After Cuadrado was unable to shrug off a challenge by Sebastian Coates, he was replaced with Loic Remy. Just before the break, Van Aanholt spearheaded a Black Cats move, and as Defoe charged through on goal, Cech produced a near post stop. Six minutes into the re-start, Costa combined with Willian, who supplied Remy, and his shot went narrowly over by a deflection off O’ Shea, and from Willian’s corner, through a nod on by Ivanovic, a header was blazed over from Matic. But on fifty three minutes, a low strike by Jack Rodwell, forced Cech, to turn the ball away from his near post. Then on fifty eight minutes, after an infringement by Ivanovic on Johnson, from Defoe’s quickly taken free kick, Van Aanholt brought out a save from Cech, on the left side, and then Azpilicueta responded to stop the follow up shot by Defoe. The Blues reacted with a well worked move with Costa and Hazard, but Mannone was untroubled by Gary Cahill’s tamely hit strike. On sixty two minutes, from a Johnson left wing cross, Fletcher directed a header into the side netting. In the sixty seventh minute, Hazard found Willian in space, who could not exploit the opportunity, by missing the target. Finally the party could begin, as Hazard created the opening, before Remy fired the ball past Mannone’s despairing dive, to forge the Blues ahead in the seventieth minute. Sunderland then replaced Johnson with Emanuele Giaccherini. The Blues soon took off John Obi Mikel for Andreas Christensen. Then on seventy nine minutes, Mannone had to scramble away from his goal line, a downward header by Willian, from a right wing cross by Remy. But the game was wrapped up as Remy grabbed his second goal by sliding the ball in from a Matic cross for a 3-1 win on eighty seven minutes although Remy was denied a hat trick at the end with a goal line clearance from Van Aanholt, who whipped the ball away before Willian could follow up the rebound. Afterwards, Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions for 2014/15 with eighty seven points having topped the table for a record of two hundred and seventy eight days, while unbeaten at home.