Carlo delivers Chelsea the title
Chelsea lifted the Premier League title for the first time since 2006 after an 8-0 win over Wigan guided them to glory in Carlo Ancelotti's debut season.
By James Dall
Last Updated: 09/05/10 9:35pm
Chelsea lifted the Premier League title for the first time since 2006 after an emphatic 8-0 success over Wigan Athletic guided them to glory in Carlo Ancelotti's debut season as manager of the club.
Second-placed Manchester United's win against Stoke City on Sunday was in vain, ending their hopes of claiming a fourth straight crown, as the Blues finished a point above the Red Devils.
Not since four years ago under ex-boss Jose Mourinho have Chelsea been crowned champions of England, and Ancelotti's charges knew a victory over the Latics at Stamford Bridge would guarantee them the top-flight prize.
The home side broke the deadlock as early as the sixth minute when an arguably offside Florent Malouda cushioned the ball to Nicolas Anelka, who buried at goalkeeper Mike Pollitt's near post.
And the outcome was put beyond doubt when Gary Caldwell was sent off for a foul on Frank Lampard in the penalty area, the midfielder duly dusting himself down to bury the spot-kick, much to the evident disappointment of Didier Drogba who wanted to bolster his claim for the Golden Boot.
Then in the second half, Chelsea ran riot as Salomon Kalou and Anelka made it 4-0 before Drogba was finally all smiles as he landed himself the Golden Boot, netting a 17-minute hat-trick to finish the campaign on 29 goals, and then Ashley Cole completed a stunning rout.
Only an FA Cup final against Portsmouth now stands in the way of a history-making season for Ancelotti and his team.
The Blues will become only the seventh team in the history of the game to win both competitions if they can overcome Avram Grant's side at Wembley next week.
The Blues were given the best possible start by France international Anelka.
The striker, expected to sign a new two-year contract once the season is over, collected a knock down from Malouda to fire past Wigan goalkeeper Pollitt.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez caused a stir by playing three in defence and for the next 25 minutes they gave Chelsea and their fans some anxious moments.
But the game changed on a pivotal penalty on the half-hour when Lampard was clearly brought down by Wigan defender Caldwell. Referee Martin Atkinson then produced the red card for the unfortunate centre-half.
Drogba, chasing the Golden Boot and level on 26 goals with United's Wayne Rooney, asked Lampard to let him take the spot-kick but the England international rejected his request.
Drogba was distinctly unhappy with Lampard's answer and had to be calmed down by other members of the Chelsea side.
Lampard duly put the penalty into the bottom corner to leave Chelsea in control of their own destiny at half-time.
In the 54th minute the title was sealed as Lampard and Kalou combined for the Ivory Coast international to almost walk the ball into the net.
Two minutes later Chelsea's fans were in dreamland when a cross from Branislav Ivanovic was volleyed home at the far post by Anelka.
With the title now Chelsea's, the only remaining issue to be settled was Drogba and his hunt for the Golden Boot.
That was settled in the 63rd minute when the Ivorian rose highest at the far post to head Lampard's cross into the net and make it 5-0.
It got better for Drogba five minutes later when Cole was brought down and Lampard tossed the ball to Drogba so he could take the penalty.
His spot-kick went in off the post but it mattered littler to Drogba who had taken his tally for the season in the league to 28.
Ancelotti was hailed by the home fans and for the first time in the game the Italian responded by waving to the supporters chanting his name.
Drogba completed his hat-trick 10 minutes from the end of the game as Chelsea made it seven in a match for the fourth time this season.
Substitute Joe Cole's shot was parried by Pollitt but the ball fell kindly to the lurking Drogba who tucked it home for his 29th league strike of the season.
The goal sparked more cheering of Ancelotti but Wigan, who had not tested Petr Cech at all during the one-side contest, finally forced him into action when the Czech international tipped a goalbound shot from substitute Victor Moses over the bar in the 87th minute.
Cole completed the rout when he volleyed home in the final minute to make it 8-0 and as the champagne was sprayed over Ancelotti, the Italian had clearly banished the ghost of Jose Mourinho.
The day belonged to Ancelotti and his attacking side as Chelsea were crowned deserved champions for the fourth time in their history.
|Chelsea||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|2||1st Half Goals||0|
|10||Shots on Target||2|
|7||Shots off Target||1|