Carlo’s Chelsea crowned champions after crushing 10-man Wigan
By Joe Carroll
Chelsea have been crowned ‘Champions of England’ after an overwhelming 8-0 hammering of Wigan Athletic yesterday.
The Blues lifted the Premier League trophy in front of their fans for only the 3rd time- the first time they have won it since the departure of ‘The Special One’, and they did so in some style, thumping the 10 men of Wigan in an encounter that looked all but over before it had really begun.
Before the beginning of play on a glistening Sunday afternoon, Chelsea needed only to win, or at least better second placed Manchester United’s score- the Red Devils entertained Stoke City at Old Trafford. Fan’s in both stadiums took their seats with an eager ear plugged into radios that kept them up to date with each others scores. But just minutes into the Stamford Bridge encounter, United fans would begin to shuffle uncomfortably in their seats.
Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring to put Chelsea on their way, and put Chelsea fans into pre-emptive celebration. The Frenchman’s goal had a hint of an offside to it’s build up, and a keener eye from the linesman should have made the Chelsea faithful wait a bit longer for their sides opener. However Florent Malouda, with back to goal was allowed to chest the ball down for his countryman Anelka to fire the Blues into an early lead.
If there was any uncertainty about Anelka’s opener, then there was absolutely no doubt about Chelsea’s second. Referee Martin Atkinson blew his whistle on a defining moment in the final day dash to the finish line, as Frank Lampard was wrestled to the ground by Wigan’s Steven Caldwell. The England midfielder was clean through, and Atkinson’s decision to send Caldwell off effectively quashed any resistance Wigan could have provided to Chelsea’s master-class.
Despite Didier Drogba’s desperation to clinch the Golden Boot (the Ivorian found himself with 26 goals, level pegging with Wayne Rooney before kick-off) Frank Lampard, the club’s most assured and clinical penalty taker took it upon himself, putting collective interest ahead of individual glory. Sure enough the midfielder added to his impressive goal tally for the season, leaving the terraces in a state of delirium, whilst sending Drogba into the kind of tantrum an 8 year old would have been proud of.
Drogba’s time would come though, and Chelsea really began to turn it on now that they had a two goal cushion and a one man advantage. The score remained as it was at half-time, and the Blues needed less than 10 minutes to increase their grip on the Premier League trophy. Salomon Kalou exchanged passes with Lampard on the edge of the Wigan area and the Ivorian guided the ball calmly past keeper Mike Pollit amid a host of Wigan defenders.
Their lead was extended further on 56 minutes when Branislav Ivanovic crossed from the right, picking out a stranded looking Anelka on the far side of the area. Unmarked, the Frenchman had the time and expertise to fire in superbly, striking the ball whilst still in the air and making it bounce before seeing it slot perfectly into Pollit’s goal.
The title was now all but assured, and the home fans were making this much clear with their jubilant celebrations. With half an hours worth of football still to play, it was now simply a matter of how many Chelsea could score.
Drogba managed to wipe his tears away in time to grab both Chelsea’s fifth and his 27th league goal of the campaign. The Ivorian met a delicate Lampard cross at the back post to put him in pole position for the Golden Boot award. But the Premier League’s leading scorer was not content with just the one.
When Ashley Cole was tripped in the box on his way onto a return pass, Drogba made sure that his hands were first on the ball. He kept his cool to increase his tally with a powerful shot that hit the post and bounced in. The occasion’s contest had been over for some time, with Wigan struggling to create anything in the way of attack, and similarly the Golden Boot contest was all but over as news plugged the ears of Chelsea fans that Rooney had left the field at Old Trafford. Drogba could no longer be caught.
But the Ivorian was not as content as his Stamford Bridge admirers and he claimed a title winning hat-trick with 10 minutes to go. Not the most glamorous of his 29 league goals, tapping home into a near empty net after a deflected Joe Cole cross, but the hat-trick will surely be his most memorable.
There was still time for an eighth goal before Atkinson blew time on the one sided affair. Ashley Cole got himself in on the action with an excellently executed strike from just inside the area. His midfield namesake, Joe, refused to give the ball up and pulled back superbly from the by-line. Ashley struck hard and low with a half-volley that was deserving of being the last word on any championship.
On the fourth occasion that the Blues have scored seven goals on home turf, the man securing his first trophy in his first season of English football was undoubtedly delighted:
“I am very proud to train this club, said Carlo Ancelotti. “I feel that we worked very hard this season, as a group as a fantastic team and I think we deserved to win it (the Premier League)”
With the Premier League now assured, the Italian will be hoping he can further his ‘Special’ credentials by doing what Mourinho could not- winning the league and cup double.
Will Ancelotti bring home the FA Cup against Portsmouth this weekend?…How pleased were you with Chelsea’s emphatic win?…please leave your comments below…
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