Chelsea reclaimed the English Premier League title in style, an 8-0 win over Wigan ensuring they pipped Manchester United by a single point after racking up a record haul of 103 goals.
Chelsea’s success in claiming their fourth league title means Manchester United and Liverpool are tied with 18 top flight wins each. As well as denying United what would have been an unprecedented fourth consecutive title, the stunning display ensured Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in charge ends with the league trophy back in west London for the first time since Jose Mourinho masterminded back-to-back triumphs in 2004-05 and 2005-06.
The defending champions did their job by beating Stoke 4-0 at Old Trafford but there was never any prospect of Chelsea falling at the final hurdle. The atmosphere at Old Trafford was distinctly subdued as news from west London filtered through but United still performed effectively, with goals from Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung and an own goal by Danny Higginbotham delivering a convincing win.
The defining eight
It took Nicolas Anelka only five minutes to calm the Chelsea supporters’ nerves with the opener and any doubt over the destiny of the trophy disappeared just after the half hour mark when Gary Caldwell wrestled Frank Lampard to the ground inside the box, who subsequently fired in a textbook penalty for his 22nd league goal of the season.
Didier Drogba finished the afternoon with a hat-trick – also scoring Chelsea’s 100th goal of the season – which ensured him taking EPL’s golden boot with a total of 29 league goals. Anelka ended up with a double and Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole also got in on the act as Chelsea ran up their biggest victory in the top flight.
The only other outstanding issue was resolved in Arsenal’s favour. A 4-0 win over Fulham ensured Arsene Wenger’s men clinched third place, entering the group stages directly while Tottenham’s fourth place means they must come through a final qualifier to fully benefit from their elevation to a place among Europe’s elite. A deeply frustrating season for Liverpool ended with a goalless draw at Hull that ensured Rafael Benitez’s side finished seventh in the table.