Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

In Pictures: Chelsea celebrate winning Premier League title

Chelsea 8 Wigan 0

Chelsea clinched the Barclays Premier League title and set a new goalscoring record with a sensational destruction of 10-man Wigan at Stamford Bridge.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti guided the Blues to their first Championship success since 2006 in his debut season in England as Chelsea took their tally to 103 goals - the highest in the Premier League since Manchester United in 2000 and the first to achieve the century since Tottenham in 1962/3.

United's victory over Stoke at Old Trafford was irrelevant as the Blues finished the season one point clear of their rivals.

Ancelotti's side smashed home seven or more goals for the fourth time this season as Wigan, who had defender Gary Caldwell sent-off on the half-hour, simply capitulated.

A hat-trick from Golden Boot winner Didier Drogba, who finished the season with 29 league goals, two from Nicolas Anelka, a Frank Lampard penalty and others from Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole, left Chelsea champions and on the brink of a League and FA Cup Double.

Only Portsmouth now stand in their way of a history-making season for Ancelotti and his team.

The Blues will become only the seventh team in the history of the game to win both competitions if they can overcome Avram Grant's side at Wembley next week.

The Blues were given the best possible start by France international Nicolas Anelka.

The striker, expected to sign a new two-year contract once the season is over, collected a knock down from Florent Malouda to fire past Wigan goalkeeper Mike Pollitt.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez caused a stir by playing three in defence and for the next 25 minutes they gave Chelsea and their fans some anxious moments.

But the game changed on a pivotal penalty on the half-hour when Lampard was clearly brought down by Wigan defender Caldwell.

Referee Martin Atkinson then produced the red-card for the unfortunate centre-half.

Drogba, chasing the Premier League Golden Boot and level on 26 goals with United's Wayne Rooney, asked Lampard to let him take the spot-kick but the England international rejected his request.

Drogba was distinctly unhappy with Lampard's answer and had to be calmed down by other members of the Chelsea side.

Lampard duly put the penalty into the bottom corner to leave Chelsea in control of their own destiny at half-time.

In the 54th minute the title was sealed as Lampard and Kalou combined for the Ivory Coast international to almost walk the ball into the net.

Two minutes later Chelsea's fans were in dreamland when a cross from Branislav Ivanovic was volleyed home at the far post by Anelka.

With the title now Chelsea's, the only remaining issue to be settled was Drogba and his hunt for the Golden Boot.

That was settled in the 63rd minute when the Ivorian rose highest at the far post to head Lampard's cross into the net and make it 5-0.

It got better for Drogba five minutes later when Cole was brought down and Lampard tossed the ball to Drogba so he could take the penalty.

The Ivorian's spot-kick went in off the post but it mattered littler to Drogba who had taken his tally to the season in the league to 28.

Ancelotti was hailed by the home fans and for the first time in the game the Italian responded by waving to the supporters chanting his name.

Drogba completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from the end of the game as Chelsea made it seven in a game for the fourth time this season.

Substitute Joe Cole's shot was parried by Pollitt but the ball fell kindly to the lurking Drogba who tucked it home for his 29th league strike of the season.

The goal sparked more cheering of Ancelotti but Wigan, who had not tested Petr Cech at all during the one-side contest, finally forced him into action when the Czech international tipped a goalbound shot from substitute Victor Moses over the bar in the 87th minute.

Cole completed the rout when he volleyed home in the final minute to make it 8-0 and as the champagne was sprayed over Ancelotti, the Italian had clearly banished the ghost of Jose Mourinho.

The day belonged to Ancelotti and his attacking side as Chelsea were crowned deserved champions for the fourth time in their history.

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