Chelsea battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. The blues denied Tottenham the chance to fight for the title, but without anything to play for themselves, here are five things that can be taken from this match.
1. Leicester have won the Premier League
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. With Tottenham failing to win, Leicester City have completed their fantasy season by claiming their first Premier League title.
Winning the title alone is an incredible feat for any club, what makes the foxes win it even more incredible is the fact that last season they did well to avoid relegation, with many people tipping them to be relegated this season. They have been a joy to watch this season and each player thoroughly deserves it. It was former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri who steered Leicester to the top, so despite this not meaning much to the Blues themselves, the support shown by the crowd for the Italian was nice to see.
2. Eden Hazard looks more like himself
Now it’s not to say that last season’s PFA Player of the Year is now the same player he was, but his performances have certainly improved lately.
Hazard has scored three goals in the previous two games, and his impact after being brought on in the second half was very positive giving Guus Hiddink more reason to field him in the last games of the season.
His goal against Crystal Palace last season wrapped up the Premier League title for Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, and his sublime finish against Tottenham gave the aforementioned Leicester the title this season. He may not have been playing at the same level as he was last year, but the 25-year old has scored the title winning goal two years in a row.
3. The rivalry is strong
Anyone watching the game on Monday night would have been subjected to a football match full of controversial incidents and fouls, with nine yellow cards for the away side alone.
A lot of the aggression in this game would have been down to the fact that if Tottenham were to win, they would have continued to chase the title. However take nothing away from the sense of a London rivalry here, rivalling the North London derbies between Arsenal and Spurs.
With incidents on and off the ball involving Erik Lamela, Moussa Dembélé and the man who can never stray away from controversy, Diego Costa, this match had the feel of an aggressive derby full of anger and passion.
4. The bridge is no longer a fortress
This lesson may not have been learned singularly with this match; after all, Chelsea’s performances as a whole have been dramatically substandard all season. However, this game was the first time in the Premier League that Chelsea have gone 11 games without a clean sheet. With the Blues being known for a strong defence, especially under former manager Mourinho, this statistic is something for now boss Hiddink to work on, and incoming Italian manager Antonio Conte to build on further.
5. Positives for Conte
Conte will be finishing his international duty with Italy this summer and will then take the reins at Chelsea. Coming in after a somewhat disastrous season, the former Juventus boss will be tasked with taking Chelsea back to the Champions League or perhaps even challenging for the title.
Seeing the way Chelsea have performed in the second half of the season will be a positive sign for Conte, with Hiddink steadying the ship and laying the ground work for the new manager to build upon.