Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy in front of an adoring home crowd as the season ended in a winning, and emotional, style.
The Blues, who hosted Sunderland to this dead-rubber season finale, had more pressing matters concerning them, including lifting the Premier League trophy three weeks after securing it. Despite this, a penalty from Costa and two from Remy did enough to over-turn Fletcher’s initial goal.
There was also news two hours before kick-off that Didier Drogba, who has achieved so much at Chelsea, would be leaving Chelsea for the second time to continue playing for another club, but hoped to be back “in the future in another role”.
Cech was also in the starting eleven and he is also set to depart SW6, if maybe not the country or indeed London, so it was set to be a day filled with every emotion.
With the Chelsea 2004/2005 side invited back to walk around the pitch before kick-off, and Chelsea’s youth offered the similar honour during the half-time interval, it sets up the parade for the main Chelsea side on Monday. And if today was anything to go by, there will be quite the party on Monday lunch-time.
Despite nothing to play for for either side, Mourinho was keen to end the season, and at home, with a win, after the poor 3-0 loss at West Brom. And it was far from a poor game.
Fletcher poked Sunderland’s noses in front in the 26th minute as he striker escaped Chelsea marking from a set-piece.
But this was to be eclipsed by the minutes following. Drogba, who started brightly with the captain’s armband despite John Terry being on the field, suffered an injury and was carried, quite literally, off the field of play to a standing ovation. It brings to a close Drogba’s playing time at Chelsea — this time for definite.
Swansea were the only side previously to take the lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, and that was for half an hour before Chelsea won 4-2.
This time it was for 11 minutes. Costa levelled, from the penalty spot as Cuadrado was felled in the box.
It was certainly not a match where the players’ minds had already gone on holiday. Hazard found Remy in the second half but there was no goal from the Frenchman, just yet.
Van Aanholt evaded Ivanovic’s marking on multiple occasions during the match and Defoe nearly latched on.
Remy then lashed home as Hazard pirouetted past many Sunderland players to put Chelsea in front.
Fletcher should have equalised from a Van Aanholt cross minutes later, but there was to be no spoiling of Chelsea’s party. Indeed, Remy added an extra layer on top of the cake, poking home a third goal.
So Chelsea end the season as they start it: with a win. With the 2004/2005 side back in Stamford Bridge to watch the game, it could spell a new era as youth in Christensen came on.
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Man of the Match
EDEN HAZARD: When he brings his A-game, Chelsea brings their A-game. The Belgian caps off a stunning season with another fantastic performance, showing no signs of fatigue. His injection of pace and his quick spin are his trademark and, despite everyone knowing this, opponents still cannot stop this young magician. Hopefully next season is another blinder. 9/10
Mourinho was not resting on his laurels as he plans for next season: “I know that our rivals are going to fight [next year] so we have to be better – me, the players and our squad. Maybe [the squad] needs some fresh blood to keep them under pressure. They know me and they know that they are not going to keep their positions on the basis of this year.”
Dick Advocaat was proud of his season achievement too: “My assistant said to me we made the impossible, possible. We gave cheap goals [today] but Chelsea deserved it. The players [overall] have responded excellently, with their commitment to the club, to get 12 points makes me very proud of them. I have a big decision [on my future] to make this week.”