Chelsea champions at Terry’s Farewell
Written By: Robert Halter
After 580 games as captain and 717 appearances, John Terry played his final match for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as the Blues prepared to be crowned Premier League champions for 2016/17 against relegated Sunderland on May 21. But it was the Black Cats that took a surprise lead in the second minute, following a foul on Adnan Januzaj by David Luiz, and as Sebastain Larsson’s free kick cannoned off the Chelsea wall, as the ball spilled through to Javier Manquillo, he struck a right footed shot high into the centre of the goal. But Chelsea asserted the pressure, after Eden Hazard was brought down by Jack Rodwell, and a soaring free kick from Marcos Alonso crashed against the right side of the crossbar, but Sunderland were unable to clear their lines and when Hazard on the left supplied Diego Costa, his scuffed pass went out to Willian, who riffled the ball into the middle of the goal to level the score in the eighth minute. The Blues pressed again on eleven minutes, first from a low cross by Victor Moses that an unmarked Hazard was unable to convert and then a minute later through a headed pass by Moses, a well connected strike by Alonso, was kept out by the agility of Jordan Pickford, as he dived to his left. On the quarter of the hour mark, after Rodwell trod on the heel of Hazard, a free kick by Luiz was volleyed wide of the left post by Costa. In the nineteenth minute from a short corner by Cesc Fabregas, a low cross by Alonso on the left, was won back by Costa, before Moses fired over. A minute later from a Willian corner, a header by Luiz, was put wide of the left post. Just like his shirt number, on twenty six minutes, Terry ended his time on the pitch by passing the captain’s armband to Gary Cahill. Just before the half hour mark from a Hazard assist, a snatched strike by Willian, went past the left post. In the next two minutes, Moses turned provider as Willian’s bending strike deflected off Billy Jones and past the right post. In the forty first minute, Costa fired a right footed shot wide to the left following an assist by Hazard. Before the end of the first half, after Januzaj had been appended by Luiz, from a Larsson free kick, the ball rebounded over to Black Cats captain, John O’ Shea, who struck the ball straight at Thibaut Courtois. The Blues responded when through a Luiz pass, Hazard swivelled and turned before hitting a left footed shot high and over. In the fiftieth minute from a Larsson corner, a downward header by Rodwell, was clawed away by Courtois, at his near post. On fifty six minutes, a poor header by Joleon Lescott, fell to Moses, who struck an effort across the face of goal that Luiz was unable to convert at the back post. But just over the hour mark, the Blues took control as Costa’s well placed pass from a fast breakaway move, was hammered into the right side of the net by Hazard’s left peg. Costa was then replaced with Michy Batshuayi before Sunderland took off Januzaj for Lynden Gooch. On sixty eight minutes, Rodwell hooked behind a dangerous cross by Moses on the right. In the seventieth minute, after combining with Willian, a delivery by Hazard, was put into the outside netting of the right post by Batshuayi. The Blues then switched Hazard with Pedro. On seventy seven minutes, from an over the top delivery by Fabregas, a poor header back from Lescott, went past Pickford, and gave Pedro the easy task of heading the ball into an empty net. After Lee Cattermole was replaced by Darron Gibson, the Blues threatened as Moses combined with Pedro, before a low drive by Cesar Azpilicueta, went past the right post. But before the end, Batshuayi added a fourth by sliding the ball into the centre of the goal, from Pedro’s through ball, and then added to his tally, as Batshuayi curled the ball from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner, following a long ball through by Fabregas to cap a 5-1 win to end the Chelsea title winning campaign as the Blues recorded a Premier League record of thirty victories in one season before the celebrations began as Terry and Cahill lifted the trophy.