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Chelsea win 26th league game


Champions Chelsea ended the campaign eight points clear at the top after a final-day win over Sunderland.

Steven Fletcher’s header put the visitors ahead but a Diego Costa penalty – after John O’Shea barged Juan Cuadrado – levelled before the break.

Costa replaced Didier Drogba, who was carried off by his team-mates after 30 minutes of his final Chelsea outing.

And another sub, Loic Remy, put Chelsea ahead from 20 yards, before concluding the win with a cute close-range finish.

Sunderland finish the Premier League season in 16th, three points clear of danger.

Dick Advocaat’s side were already safe before Sunday’s game and played with freedom, peppering Petr Cech’s goal with 17 shots.

But the goalkeeper, making what could be his final Chelsea appearance, was beaten only once – Adam Johnson’s 26th-minute corner was allowed to travel to the back post and Fletcher was poised to thump a header into the net.

Loic Remy

Loic Remy ends the season with nine Chelsea goals

That was to prove the highlight for the visitors, who defended stoically but were ultimately overwhelmed as they searched for consecutive wins at Stamford Bridge.

Their lead lasted just 11 minutes. O’Shea fouled Cuadrado and Costa – who had only been on the field for seven minutes – slid the penalty past Vito Mannone for his 20th goal of the campaign.

Chelsea, led by the irrepressible Eden Hazard, dominated the second period but it took until the 70th minute for the champions to edge ahead on the day they were presented with the Premier League trophy.

Numbers game

Chelsea ended the season having topped the table for a Premier League record 274 days.

Chelsea set a new record for fewest defeats in all competitions in the Premier League era (four).

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher had gone 21 Premier League games without a goal before his opener.

John Terry becomes the second outfield player to play every minute in a Premier League title-winning season, following Man Utd’s Gary Pallister in 1992-93.

The Belgian created the goal with a scything run, eliminating several Sunderland players before shunting the ball to Remy, who dragged a low shot past Mannone.

Sunderland pressed gamely for an equaliser – Fletcher headed wide from a promising position and Connor Wickham twice tested Cech – but Chelsea exploited that ambition to craft a lovely third goal.

The hosts broke down the left and Remy met Nemanja Matic’s tempting near-post delivery with a composed flicked finish to spark the title celebrations.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho: “I think we have everything. Can anybody say we don’t play fantastic football? No. Well, they can, but it’s not true.

“We have art in our game but we also have fantastic spirit, organisation and pragmatism. We are a complete team and that is why we are champions.”

Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat: “At least we tried to score some goals and give them a hard time. We gave cheap goals but they deserved it.

“The players responded excellently – to get 12 points makes me very proud. My assistant said to me we made the impossible, possible. I have a big decision to make.”

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