Premier League – Chelsea hit eight to win title in style
Chelsea won the Premier League title in style with an 8-0 thumping of Wigan at Stamford Bridge.
The result rendered Manchester United‘s 4-0 triumph over Stoke immaterial as Carlo Ancelotti’s side finished with a point more than the Red Devils.
Didier Drogba struck a second-half hat-trick to ensure he finished as the league’s top scorer, having fallen out with Frank Lampard when the midfielder refused to let him take a penalty in the first period.
Chelsea had barely strung two passes together when they opened the scoring on six minutes. A Drogba free-kick cannoned into the wall and dropped to Branislav Ivanovic, who headed into the box.
Florent Malouda looked marginally offside as the ball came to him, but the flag stayed down and he laid off to Anelka who crashed a volley inside the near post.
That set the home fans celebrating and while Chelsea took a long time to overcome their surprising nerves, those in the stands never doubted the outcome, singing throughout the match.
United opened the scoring at Old Trafford around the half-hour mark but a minute later Chelsea barely cared when Lampard burst past Gary Caldwell into the box, only for the defender to grab a fistful of shirt and haul him down.
That saw Roberto Martinez’s Latics reduced to 10 men and as Lampard walked to the spot with the ball, Drogba went to get it off him – only for the England man and regular penalty taker to refuse his request.
Drogba barely celebrated the kick after it was dispatched into the corner, sending beleaguered 38-year-old keeper Mike Pollitt – in the team for the first time since January with Chris Kirkland injured and Vladimir Stojkovic unconvincing as his replacement – the wrong way.
A distinctly unimpressed Lampard gave him a talking-to, but Drogba refused to look at his team-mate.
Nine minutes after the break Kalou gave the ball to Lampard on the right, who returned the favour as the Ivorian continued his run into the area. It was a simple task to control and pass the ball into the corner with Wigan’s defenders nowhere near.
Two minutes further on Anelka scored his second, volleying superbly inside the near post from a raking Ivanovic ball across the box.
Drogba was still to score, but need not have worried: Wayne Rooney, like the Ivory Coast striker on 26 league goals for the season, failed to notch in United’s final match while he banged in Chelsea’s next three.
Ashley Cole slipped as he crossed into the danger area, but the ball was perfect for Drogba to launch himself into an exquisite bicycle kick; Pollitt somehow saved but when Lampard stood the ball up at the far post from the rebound, there was Drogba to crash in a header.
That was Chelsea’s 100th league goal of the season – the first time a team had achieved that in the top flight since Spurs in 1962-63 – and five minutes later, on 68, they had 101 when Drogba stuck away his penalty following Mario Melchiot‘s trip on Ashley Cole.
Joe Cole came on and was involved in goal number seven, played in down the right by fellow substitute Juliano Belletti – making his final league appearance for the Blues. Pollitt blocked Cole’s shot and Drogba finished the rebound.
With the seconds counting down to injury time, Ashley Cole topped Anelka’s volley from a similar angle after namesake Joe had fought to win the ball near the touchline and crossed perfectly for the left-back.
Chelsea became champions for the first time since their second triumph with Jose Mourinho in 2005-06 – and Ancelotti addressed the Stamford Bridge fans as their new hero after John Terry lifted the Premier League trophy.
Jonathan Symcox / Eurosport