Although Chelsea may not be in the title race this season, three years ago to the day brought a fifth Premier League trophy back to Stamford Bridge after the heroics at The Hawthorns. Michy Batshuayi proved to be the match winner on this day in 2017, netting an 82nd goal to secure his first topflight medal.
After previously beating Middlesbrough in the game prior, Chelsea travelled to the west Midlands in good fashion. N’Golo Kante was back on the bench after an injury, which increased the likelihood of yet another victory.
Minus the French midfielder, it was the same team that had been so successful this season in the memorable 3-4-3 formation, which many sides have adopted for after witnessing the success at the Bridge.
Despite being heavily in favour of securing three points, West Bromwich Albion didn’t hand it to Chelsea. They were enjoying their own season, where a top ten finish was looking ever so likely.
Solomon Rondon forced Thibaut Courtois into a save inside the first 30 seconds, the Belgian stopper tipped a header over the bar and tensions began to rise inside. The Baggies were here to spoil the party.
Chelsea announced themselves into proceedings shortly after. Cesc Fabregas was left with his hands on his head after his attempt, assisted by Eden Hazard, the right-foot shot fizzled past the far post.
This time Fabregas was the supplier once Victor Moses tried his luck. The Nigerian picked up the ball from the corner of the box and directed an effort towards the bottom corner. Ben Foster was alive to the situation to tip round for a corner. There was a sense that Chelsea’s goal was coming.
Rondon was alive again after racing through one on one with Courtois. The forward beat David Luiz on the halfway line before bearing down on goal. Cesar Azpilicueta recovered to catch the forward after supplying a vital block to keep the score deadlocked.
Calling out for a hero
With time running out, it was looking like Chelsea had to wait for the silverware. Their fortunes were changed after the introduction of Batshuayi.
Beforehand, a wayward attempt on goal from Gary Cahill brought ironic cheers from the home fans. This in fact proved to be the decisive through ball, somehow, after Azpilicueta crossed the ball to the Belgian striker who was left unmarked to tap past foster. Maybe this was the luck you sometimes need.
The away end erupted and with Batshuayi running off in celebration, this was the moment that Chelsea secured their fifth, and latest Premier League title.
What where some of the main highlights that season?
A switch to Italian antics
After defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal, it was looking like Chelsea were going to battle it out for the top four, instead of the title. The 3-0 loss at The Emirates proved to be the final straw for Conte. A switch to his favoured 3-4-3 formation was implemented and as they say, the rest is history.
After the formation switch away at Hull, Chelsea went on to break the record of consecutive Premier League wins, ending at 13. Victory over Stoke City on New Years Eve concluded this accolade. The run was ended by London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, inspired by Dele All in the 2-0 loss at White Hart Lane.
Shopping in the Midlands
Winning the title in the previous season put Kante on the map in world football. The unfamiliar style of the Frenchman is a joy to watch. The stamina, the interceptions and his all-round midfield duties are second to none. There's an argument to say that if Kante wasn’t in that Chelsea side, the formation switch wouldn’t have worked, due to defensive duties and the work rate of the number seven.
Victory over an old hero
Jose Mourinho was announced as Manchester United manager in that season, meaning he would return to Stamford Bridge, but in the opposing dug out for the first time. With his United side also tipped for Premier League glory, the 4-0 triumphant win will live long in the memory, highlighting that Chelsea opened the scoring via Pedro with 30 seconds played.