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FACTBOX-Soccer-Key moments in Chelsea's title season
May 12, 2017 / 9:13 PM / 3 months ago

FACTBOX-Soccer-Key moments in Chelsea's title season

    May 12 (Reuters) - Key moments in Chelsea's Premier League
title-winning season.
       
    Aug 15, Chelsea 2 West Ham United 1
    Antonio Conte's now familiar manic goal celebration got its
first showcase as Diego Costa popped up in the 89th minute to
clinch victory in the Italian's first competitive match in
charge.
    The fact it was Costa and Eden Hazard, both of whose poor
form was blamed for Jose Mourinho's sacking the season before,
who were on target augured well for the season ahead.
    Hazard had to wait until April for his first goal the
previous season when Chelsea went from champions to also-rans.
Costa also scored a late winner a few days later at Watford.
    - -
    Sep 24, Arsenal 3 Chelsea 0
    The early-season optimism had already been jolted by a home
defeat against Liverpool, but this capitulation at Arsenal made
Conte's early progress appear to be a false dawn.
    Yet the way he reacted to trailing 3-0 after 40 minutes
proved the trigger for Chelsea's success.
    He replaced Cesc Fabregas with Marcos Alonso and switched to
a back three of Davis Luiz, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic
with Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta as wing backs.
    Immediately Chelsea looked more balanced and, though there
was no way back on the day, it was a lightbulb moment for Conte.
     - -
    Oct 1, Hull City 0 Chelsea 2
    For the first time Conte began with a back three of Cahill,
Luiz and Azpilicueta while he gave a start to Victor Moses at
right wing back where he was to become a key part of Chelsea's
13-match winning run.
    The new formation gave Luiz the time to start many of
Chelsea' attacks, N'Golo Kante to patrol the central areas in
workaholic fashion and Hazard to drift around in a free role.
    - -
    Oct 23, Chelsea 4 Manchester United 0
    Jose who? Former hero Mourinho arrived with his Manchester
United team but was outwitted by the man now sitting in his
chair in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
    Pedro opened the scoring after a minute and Gary Cahill made
it 2-0 midway through the first half. Hazard and Kante, with his
first goal for the club, were on target after the break.
    Conte's first win against one of Chelsea's "big" rivals
lifted his side to fourth. A couple of weeks later they thrashed
Everton 5-0 to go top - a position they never relinquished.
    - -
    Dec 3, Manchester City 1 Chelsea 3
    Outplayed before halftime and lucky to still be in the game,
Chelsea displayed their fighting qualities as goals by Costa,
Willian and Hazard turned the match around.
    Even more significant was the effect it had on Pep
Guardiola's Manchester City who went into meltdown with Sergio
Aguero sent off for a terrible tackle on Luiz and Fernandinho
seeing red after grabbing Fabregas around the throat.
    - -
    Jan 14, Leicester City 0 Chelsea 3
    Having had their winning run stopped by Tottenham Hotspur
the previous week, and amid rumours of a fall-out between Conte
and Costa, the pressure was on leaders Chelsea.
    They got back on track with a nonchalant victory at last
season's champions despite the absence of Costa with what Conte
said was a back injury. Marcos Alonso scored twice.
    - -
    March 18, Stoke City 1 Chelsea 2
    Chelsea proved that even without Hazard, left out because of
a niggle, they could grind out results.
    Gary Cahill's 87th-minute winner sparked joyous celebrations
in the away end and sent Chelsea 13 points clear of Tottenham
who reduced the gap to 10 with victory the day after.
    - -
    April 22, Chelsea 4 Tottenham Hotspur 2 (FA Cup semi-final)
    Chinks were appearing in Chelsea's armour after league
defeats by Crystal Palace and Manchester United and a buoyant
Tottenham arrived at Wembley only four points behind.
    Victory for Spurs would have fuelled the belief that
Mauricio Pochettino's side could have overhauled the Blues but
Conte played a tactical masterstroke, introducing Hazard as a
second-half substitute and he duly put Chelsea ahead for the
third time in an absorbing tie.
    Nemanja Matic struck an unstoppable fourth to knock the
stuffing out of Tottenham.
    - - 
    May 5, West Ham United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
    Tottenham had manfully stayed on Chelsea's tail with some
crucial wins and could have closed to within a point had they
won this Friday night fixture at the London Stadium.
    They faltered, however, and Manuel Lanzini's winner ended
their nine-match winning streak in the league. Three days later
Chelsea beat Middlesbrough to go seven points ahead with three
games remaining - making the title a formality.
    
    May 12, West Bromwich Albion 0 Chelsea 1
    Chelsea struggled to break down a dogged West Brom defence
before substitute Michy Batshuayi struck in the 82nd minute to
confirm Antonio Conte's team as champions.
    Chelsea's win put them 10 points ahead of second-placed
Tottenham Hotspur, who have only three games left to play. 

 (Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
  

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