x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Terry guides his Chelsea troops to crown

The Blues captain, celebrated the end of 'a hard three years' as his side reclaimed the Premier League trophy.

Chelsea ended three years of Manchester United dominance to reclaim the Premier League title.
Chelsea ended three years of Manchester United dominance to reclaim the Premier League title.

John Terry, the Chelsea captain, celebrated the end of "a hard three years" as his side finally reclaimed the Premier League trophy yesterday. A Didier Drogba hat-trick helped the London club to an 8-0 hammering of Wigan at Stamford Bridge. Goals from Nicolas Anelka and Frank Lampard put Chelsea 2-0 up at the break before Carlo Ancelotti's side went on the rampage with Salomon Kalou, Anelka and Drogba finding the net within nine minutes of each other in the second half.

Drogba struck twice more, and Ashley Cole converted a well-taken volley to condemn Wigan to defeat and secure Chelsea's first Premier League trophy since 2006. Terry told Sky Sports: "It's been a hard three years, not winning the Premier League, but we've done it today and we deserved it. "It's been inside of me for three years, seeing Man United lift it season after season and every single one of us has sat there and watched it. And now it's their turn to sit there and watch us today."

While Drogba led the way on the goals front he also showed his petulance when he begged to take the 32nd-minute penalty that Lampard eventually converted to calm his side's nerves, following Gary Caldwell's red card for grabbing the England midfielder and conceding the spot-kick Drogba thought he would get that chance to score to help him win the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer. He needed words from his teammates, including Lampard, and then Ancelotti to force him to snap out of his miserable mood.

Ancelotti said: "He wanted to score. I said, 'quiet and you will score in the second half'. I am a magician." The first came in the 63rd minute when Mike Pollitt made a superb block to deny Drogba's acrobatic overhead kick, but Lampard picked up the rebound and crossed to the far post where the striker headed home. Five minutes later, Lampard did give up the penalty duties after Ashley Cole had been caught in the box by Mario Melchiot.

Drogba sent Pollitt the wrong way and hugged everyone, including Ancelotti. The third followed in the 80th minute. Again, Pollitt saved well from Joe Cole's close-range effort, but the ball came across to the unmarked Drogba, who stuck out a leg for league goal number 29. "That's why we're champions," was the chant around Stamford Bridge. With a fourth haul of seven goals or more at home this season, it was hard to disagree.

In his first season at the club, it was special for Ancelotti, who said: "We wanted to win this title and in the end, everyone did a fantastic job. It's a fantastic moment. We played as a team, we worked as a team. After the first year, I hope I can stay here a lot of years and win a lot of titles. "The key point was our victory at home and also in Manchester [against United]. That was the key. It improved our confidence and sent Man United a little bit down."

It was always going to be too much to expect Wigan to hold a Chelsea side with a tally of 16 wins in their previous 18 home league games. Number 17 was guaranteed from the moment Anelka opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Salomon Kalou combined with Lampard to poke home the third while Anelka's right-foot volley from a tight angle for the fourth was exquisite. Drogba then claimed a 17-minute treble and said: "Everyone is happy and it's amazing to win the Golden Boot after being away for a month in the middle of the season [with the Ivory Coast]."

An eighth goal in the final minute provided the perfect finish when Ashley Cole scored to give Chelsea their biggest-ever league win and 103 goals in an unforgettable campaign that could end with the league and FA Cup Double next week. Roberto Martinez, the disappointed Wigan manager, said: "It's a day to celebrate Chelsea. They have had an outstanding season and they imposed themselves many times at home."

akhan@thenational.ae