Chelsea sealed the Premier League title with two games to spare after a hard-fought 1-0 win at West Brom.
Batshuayi stepped out of the shadows to strike a winner as Blues secured a second league crown in three seasons. Batshuayi had not scored in the league since August. He slid to meet a Cesar Azpilicueta cut-back in the 82nd minute; just moments after coming off the bench as a substitute.
Chelsea had been frustrated during a goalless first half in which the hosts defended stubbornly. The game might have swung the other way had Salomon Rondon and Nacer Chadli finished fine second-half chances.
Hazard and Costa toiled in front of goal as they looked forced to wait at least until the weekend; but Batshuayi proved the unlikely hero. The goal sparked wild celebrations from Conte on the touchline at the final whistle.
Chelsea Worthy Champions
Chelsea’s celebrations were fully deserved – the culmination of a superb season’s work by Conte and his squad.
They had to work hard for victory against a West Brom side that demonstrated all the qualities that have made this such a satisfactory season for them but, as so often, Chelsea got the job done.
The Blues’ main attacking threats struggled to find a spark; with Eden Hazard’s frustration summed up with one long-range shot that went out for a corner; but Conte’s side found a way to win, illustrating once again why they are worthy champions.
The losses at home to Liverpool and at Arsenal in September that hinted at early struggles seemed an age away; as did the surprise defeat by struggling Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge; and the setback at Manchester United.
Chelsea, even when not at their best, proved themselves the strongest and most complete side in the Premier League – and they proved it again on a night they were tested.
The stats behind Chelsea’s title win
- Chelsea won their sixth top-flight title and fifth in the Premier League era. Only Manchester United (13) have won more Premier League titles.
- Chelsea are the first club to win the English top-flight title on a Friday since Arsenal at Anfield in 1989.
- Conte is the fourth Italian manager to win the English top-flight title after Ancelotti, Roberto Mancini and Claudio Ranieri.
- Chelsea scored with their 23rd shot of the match at West Brom.
- A Belgian player has scored the title-deciding goal in each of the past three Premier League seasons (Batshuayi v West Brom in 2016-17, Eden Hazard v Tottenham in 2015-16 and v Crystal Palace in 2014-15).