As the old cliché goes, the league table doesn’t lie. Having dominated the Premier League standings throughout, Chelsea lifted the title on the final day of the season against Sunderland. Three weeks after winning the league, Stamford Bridge erupted as the champions were crowned, before they paraded their success around the streets of west London the next day.
The destination of the trophy was known for a while, as a 16 match unbeaten run from January until May helped them to glory. None of their rivals were able to keep pace, but it’s important to remember that things weren’t always so clear cut. We’ve gone back through the campaign, to pick out the season defining games that led to the Stamford Bridge side being crowned champions. We’ve charted the highs and lows across a record breaking campaign, covering all the twists and turns in one of the most one sided title races in Premier League history.
18th August: 3-1 v Burnley (A)
The opening weekend saw the Blues head to newly promoted Burnley, as they started the season as title favourites with bookies and pundits alike. It’s hard to imagine a time when Diego Costa could have been considered a flop, as he opened his account for the club with a goal in his first league game. Andre Schurrle and Branislav Ivanovic were also on the score sheet, as Jose Mourinho’s team became the first and only league leaders in the 2014/15 season.
5th October: 2-0 v Arsenal (H)
Seven games into the season and the Blues first took a five point lead over Manchester City. This win over the Gunners was enough to send the leaders further clear, with Eden Hazard and Costa on target to continue an unbeaten start to the season. At this stage, many were already talking about Chelsea running away with the trophy, and there were murmurs about a possible unbeaten season on the cards. They did manage to go unbeaten against their top four rivals, a feat they achieved for the second season in a row.
6th December: 1-2 v Newcastle (A)
That unbeaten run came to an end after 15 games of the season, as the leaders lost at St James’ Park against Newcastle. This was far from the Toon team who were destined for a relegation scrap. Here, under Alan Pardew, they gave Chelsea a tough test, one that the leaders couldn’t pass. This result came on the back of a 0-0 draw at Sunderland, which were the first signs that City could still force themselves into the title race. As we approached the half way point, the gap at the top was reduced to just three points.
1st January: 3-5 v Tottenham (A)
After losing their unbeaten record, Chelsea once again suffered defeat on New Years’ Day. They went to local rivals Spurs and started very well, but a poor defensive display saw them fall apart and suffer a 5-3 defeat. City moved level on points with the leaders earlier in the day, and that result gave them identical records, meaning the Blues were ahead only thanks to the alphabet! From having the title wrapped up, we now looked set for an incredibly close run in, with the momentum firmly with the defending champions. After losing that lead, it looked like Mourinho’s men were about to fall behind for the first time all season.
31st January: 1-1 v Manchester City (H)
Fast forward to the end of the month, and once again Chelsea were in complete control. A 2-0 win over Newcastle and a 5-0 win over Swansea put them back in charge after City dropped points. The champions visited Stamford Bridge with a five point gap to make up, and they knew a defeat would effectively end their hopes of getting back into the race. In the end, the points were shared, despite Loic Remy opening the scoring for the hosts. They ended January five points ahead, and they were once again firmly in control of their own destiny.
22nd March: 3-2 v Hull (A)
The league leaders were firmly in control after the 29th game of the season, as they saw off Hull at the KC Stadium to go six points clear at the top with a game in hand. The visitors already had the League Cup in the bag, and they started in good style here with Hazard and Costa giving them a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes. A fightback from the hosts complicated things, but Remy’s winner had Chelsea sitting well clear at the end of March. With only nine more games to play, it was hard to see anyone else getting near the pacesetters at the top.
3rd May: 1-0 v Crystal Palace (H)
Of course, the title win was confirmed in May, with three games to spare. A collapse from Manchester City saw them fall way off the pace, with Arsenal, who mounted a strong late push, the main challengers to the Blues. Hazard’s penalty was enough to seal a narrow win over Alan Pardew’s side, which made Chelsea uncatchable at the top. They had finally sealed their first league win in five years, which was a fully deserved success. This win put them 13 points clear of the dethroned Man City, showing just how dominant they were after losing to Spurs at the start of 2015.
The final games against Liverpool, West Brom and Sunderland became somewhat of an irrelevance after the Palace win, with the title in the bag. By the time they lifted the trophy, Chelsea had been top of the table for a record 274 days, beating both Arsenal’s Invincibles and Man United’s treble winners. No one can argue that it was anything other than a fantastic season for Chelsea, and they were as motivated by their defeats as they were inspired by wins. They bounced back well from potentially damaging defeats before winning the title, with that fantastic unbeaten run from January to May central to their charge to glory. Looking back, it’s hard not to be impressed by how dominant the champions were.