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Fri, Nov

Chelsea players throw boss Antonio Conte into the air following their last gasp heroics in the Midlands

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English Premier League leaders - Chelsea - secured the coveted PL title with a late winner over West Bromwich Albion on Friday night.

The Blues became champions of England for a sixth time - with two games to spare - thanks to Michy Batshuayi's late goal in a 1-0 win at West Brom that gave the club an unassailable 10-point lead over second-place Tottenham Hotspur, who have only three games to play.

Chelsea clinched the title in Antonio Conte's first season as the club's manager.

Spurs lost at West Ham 1-0 last week to give Chelsea three opportunities to clinch the league. They needed only one.

Chelsea Crowned Premier League Champions

Chelsea Crowned 2016/17 English Premier League Champions

 

West Brom put up a stubborn defence, frustrating Chelsea's efforts, so Conte decided to take off Eden Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez and bring on Batshuayi, surprisingly, and Willian.

Six minutes later, the Belgium striker was scoring the biggest goal of his career and being mobbed by teammates in front of Chelsea's jubilant visiting fans.

Late substitute Michy Batshuayi tucks the ball past Ben Foster to help Chelsea secure the Premier League title.

Late substitute Michy Batshuayi tucks the ball past Ben Foster to help Chelsea secure the Premier League title.

Chelsea has won 28 of its 35 games, including nine of its last 11 matches. It has led the standings since early November.

The team has also reached the final of the FA Cup, where it will play Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on 27 May.

Conte, an Italian who in the past led Juventus to three successive Serie A titles, is only the fourth manager to win the Premier League title at the first attempt.

In doing so, he emulated his Stamford Bridge predecessors Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti as well as Manuel Pellegrini who achieved the feat with Manchester City.

For John Terry it was a special celebration, as the 36-year-old club captain will leave Chelsea this summer as a five-time Premier League champion.

Conte, who took charge at Chelsea after leaving Italy at the end of Euro 2016, says switching to a three-man defence in the wake of a 3-0 defeat by Arsenal in September was pivotal to the Blues' season.

Chelsea were eighth, eight points behind leaders Manchester City after that loss at Emirates Stadium. A 13-match winning streak followed, and they are now Champions.

"It was very frustrating for me because at the end of the Arsenal game I didn't see anything from my work or my ideas on football," said Conte.

"But in this moment I found the strength to change and take responsibility and find a system for the players.

"It was a key moment in the season because every single player found in this system the best for him.

"When you arrive after a bad season and the team has arrived at 10th in the league it means there are a lot of problems.


"To find the right solution quickly isn't easy and for this I want to thank my players because they trusted in the new work, my philosophy, video analysis to see mistakes and they showed the right attitude and behaviour."

With the Premier League title now firmly in their grasp, manager Antonio Conte says, his side need to win the FA Cup to turn a "great season" into a "fantastic" one.

"For me to win in my first season in England, I am really proud of the achievement," he told BBC Sport.

"My players showed me great professionalism, commitment, work-rate and will to try to win this league.

"We have two games to celebrate, then we try to make this season from great to fantastic."

Conte's side face Arsenal in the FA Cup final on 27 May.

 

(Match day reports from bbc.co.uk and skysports were used in this write-up)

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