Unlikely hero Michy Batshuayi clinches Chelsea the Premier League title
Chelsea are Premier League champions! A 1-0 victory over a dogged West Brom side at the Hawthorns ensured that the Blues secured the title with two games to spare. Substitute Michy Batshuayi, yet to start a top-flight game for the London club, scored the goal that mattered inside the final 10 minutes to seal the deal for Antonio Conte's team, who were tenacious throughout the contest and deserved to win.
The result is all that matters. Chelsea as a complete unit once again demonstrated the quality required to win the title. They had determination, persistence, talent, players who know how to execute a game plan and a manager who knows precisely how to define it.
You're kidding. Not tonight!
10 out of 10 -- One season in the Chelsea job, and Antonio Conte has made a serious case among Chelsea supporters to be recognised as the greatest Blues manager ever. From tactical know-how to personable qualities and everything in-between, the Italian has ticked every box. At 0-0, with 15 minutes left, Conte rolled the dice and replaced Eden Hazard and Pedro with Willian and Batshuayi. It was the underutilised Belgian international who duly obliged to score the goal that won the title.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 7 -- Had little to do for most of the game but was always alert and focused when West Brom broke forward or won set pieces in advanced areas.
DF Cesar Azpilicueta, 10 -- Another simply outstanding performance from one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. An ever-present in Chelsea's title-winning campaign, Azpilicueta once more proved his versatility as a defender and cutting-edge chance creator. Teed up Batshuayi for the all-important goal that settled matters and never gave an inch covering at the back. Brilliant!
DF David Luiz, 7 -- Steadfast enough in defence, though he did create a heart-stopping moment for Chelsea supporters when allowing Salomon Rondon to get the better of him on 70 minutes. Fortunately for Luiz, fleet-footed Azpilicueta got back to block the West Brom striker's shot.
DF Gary Cahill, 8 -- Robust performance from Chelsea's skipper, who has stepped up to the mark time and time again this season. Cahill once more displayed the leadership qualities that were the hallmark of legendary captain John Terry.
MF Victor Moses, 8 -- A constant thorn in West Brom's side, Moses was given the Tony Pulis Sunday pub team treatment by James McClean but was too good for the Baggies player, who would be booked and replaced on the hour mark. Denied a goal by Ben Foster, who made an exceptional save to keep out a rasping drive from the Nigerian international just after the break.
MF Marcos Alonso, 7 -- With much of Chelsea's play going down the right channel, this was a quieter game than usual for Alonso, who never looked threatened defensively and got forward with the ball when the opportunity presented itself.
MF Nemanja Matic, 8 -- Combative performance against a team that love a battle. Gave no quarter in midfield and recycled the ball well. Matic was an effective shield for Chelsea's back three.
MF Cesc Fabregas, 8 -- A man-of-the-match performance against Middlesbrough on Monday made it difficult for Conte to bench Fabregas against West Brom, and the Spaniard repaid his manager's faith with another imperious midfield performance.
FW Pedro, 7 -- Saw plenty of the ball, particularly benefitting from pin-point Fabregas passing, but failed to make the most of the opportunities that came as a result.
FW Eden Hazard, 7 -- Had a predictably tough evening, as West Brom defenders Craig Dawson, Allan Nyom and Chris Brunt ensured he will be counting the bruises on his legs in the morning. Managed to provide Chelsea with incisiveness and on another night might have questioned Conte about being substituted.
FW Diego Costa, 7 -- Well-marked by West Brom, Costa saw little of the ball in advanced areas for much of the game but contributed well by holding the ball up in deeper ones.
MF Willian, NR -- Replaced Hazard and helped re-energise Chelsea for the telling final quarter of the match.
FW Michy Batshuayi, NR -- A bit part player under Conte, Batshuayi repaid every penny of the £33 million Chelsea paid for him last summer by coming off the bench to replace Pedro and getting himself in the right place at the right time to score the title-winning goal.
DF Kurt Zouma, NR -- Replaced Moses late on and helped shore up Chelsea's defence as the Blues closed out the game to win the title.
Mark Worrall is one of ESPN FC's Chelsea bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @gate17marco