Chelsea put up a dominating performance against a helpless Sunderland to ensure that John Terry’s final Premier League match as captain was won with a resounding scoreline.
Goals from Eden Hazard, Willian, Pedro and a superb Michy Batshuayi double ensured that the Stamford Bridge faithful had much to cheer about in Chelsea’s final home game of the season and their celebrations continued late after the match ended.
It was a fitting end to the season for Antonio Conte’s side, and the scoreline was one that largely summed how both Chelsea and Sunderland’s season went. But at the start of the match it seemed as if the Black Cats would try to leave England’s top flight with the scalp of the champions.
Right-back Javier Manquillo latched onto a deflected free-kick in Chelsea’s 18-yard-box before smashing it past Thibaut Courtois to give his side the lead in only the third minute. Any plans that Sunderland would have drawn in their minds to hold on to that lead were quashed only 5 minutes later.
Willian received the ball in the right of visitors’ penalty box after a scramble in the middle and the Brazilian smashed a low drive past Jordan Pickford into the bottom corner. It was his 12th goal of the season, his highest tally in 4 seasons at Stamford Bridge.
The game was stopped in the 26th minute and the ball was booted out of play in order for Stamford Bridge to give a proper send-off to John Terry. Hugs and high fives by his teammates were followed with a personal guard of honor as he walked off the pitch and Gary Cahill came on in his place.
The scores would remain the same going into the break with Chelsea hoarding all the possession. Then in the 61st minute, Eden Hazard gave his side the lead for the first time with a left footed strike. It was the Belgian’s 16th Premier League goal of the season.
Batshuayi was brought on in place of Costa immediately after and Pedro was brought on 10 minutes later. The former Barcelona forward would make it 3-1, Fabregas’ long ball was headed toward Sunderland’s goal by Joleon Lescott and Pedro headed in the loose ball from close range.
Michy Batshuayi would still find time to get his name on the scoresheet and in extra time, was put through by Pedro and finished easily from close range. For his second, he was found by Fabregas far up on the right, he cut into the middle with two touches and curled a left foot shot past Pickford to make it 5-1 with the last kick of the game.
Hazard started off the season with a spot kick smashed into the roof of the net in a 2-1 victory against West Ham United, and he finished the season with an unstoppable left-footed strike into Jordan Pickford’s net. In between that time, he’s managed to rack up 14 other goals and 5 assists.
He was a constant menace when Chelsea were on the ball, which was a lot considering the Blues’ had the lion’s share of the possession. Besides his goal, he created 5 chances for his teammates, completed 5 take-ons and was their second most active passer in the attacking third.
It’s been a season of redemption for the Belgian after his calamitous 2015/16 campaign. His tally of 17 goals matches his second best tally in a season but with the FA Cup final against Arsenal coming up soon, Hazard will surely be waiting to add to it.
The Spaniard has been getting a run of games under his belt recently, that would have been considered surprising a few months ago if both Nemanja Matic and N’golo Kante were fit. In each of those games, the former Barcelona man has put in nearly flawless shifts and this one was no different.
Once again running the show from the middle of the park for Chelsea, the 30-year-old played his role of creator with ease and with N’golo Kante by his side, the Sunderland midfield never stood a chance. 1 assist, 4 chances created, 88% pass completion rate and 11 ball recoveries – the highest in the game.
This past season, Fabregas’ future was the subject of widespread speculation, with rumours linking him with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer and the January transfer windows due to his difficulty to break into Antonio Conte’s starting XI.
It has taken time, but slowly and steadily the Spaniard has worked his way into his manager’s good books. Over the course of the season, he has made 36 appearances across all competitions, scoring 7 goals and registering 13 assists to his name.
What is perhaps the most impressive of those statistics is that he has started only 18 of those games and in that time, he has proven himself to be an indispensable player in Chelsea’s squad and this game was a fitting performance to what can safely be described as a difficult season for him.
Barring his assist for Eden Hazard’s goal, the Spanish international striker had a disappointing outing in Chelsea’s final game of the season. Besides the assist, which came in his final few minutes on the pitch, Costa only managed to get booked and win 4 fouls over the course of his 62 minutes.
His first touches almost always seemed to let him down and he took 3 shots at goal, none of which were on target. Conte’s decision to take him off just after the hour mark may have been to protect him for the upcoming final, but it is safe to assume that the Italian wouldn’t have been pleased by what he saw.
Analysis Of Impact
Batshuayi Making His Case
Conte will however, probably be delighted with Michy Batshuayi’s flurry of goals toward the end of the campaign. It has been, without a doubt a difficult first season for the 23-year-old post his big money move from Marseille, but his form in recent gives reason for encouragement and hope.
All 5 of his goals in his Premier League goals this season have come against significantly weaker opposition and after equalizer at Watford in the second game of the season his title clincher against West Brom at the Hawthorns, all of his goals were of little consequence.
He is however, in better form that Diego Costa at the moment. Costa has scored 1 goal in his last 4 games, while Batshuayi now has 4 in his last three and it’s performances like these that will force Antonio Conte into considering him for a starting spot in the upcoming final against Arsenal.
Michy Batshuayi has scored 5 goals in 239 minutes of Premier League football this season.
One every 47.8 minutes. ? pic.twitter.com/EHp4F5XoXV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 21, 2017
Batshuayi, who has already endeared to himself to the Chelsea fans with his twitter antics, has never made a fuss about playing second fiddle to Diego Costa in his debut season and instead, he has kept his head down and continued to work in training and the results are clear to see.
The Italian certainly would appreciate being given that kind of a selection headache from him and Michy’s recent barrage of goals will surely do his confidence a world of good for the coming season, whether he goes out on loan or stays to fight for a place at Stamford Bridge.