London is blue! Chelsea are PL champions [Chelsea vs Crystal Palace Match review]: Match preview: Going into the game, the equation was simple. If they got the 3 points in front of blue fans, they would be champions beyond the mathematical remote possibility that Arsenal were hanging on to. 16 points clear with 3 games to go. Some say dominance. Some say emphatic. I say it was impending. Delving a little into the technical details, Mourinho started with Cuadrado on the right along with Hazard and Willian playing behind Drogba; the usual culprits in the rest of the team. Crystal palace too have good firepower on the pitch with the creative likes of Zaha, Bolasie, Mutch and Puncheon forming a decent looking front 4. Match review: Right off the bat, it looked like Pardew came in with a plan and he had seen what Leicester had tried to do just 4 days back. They hassled Chelsea, prompted them into making fundamental errors, closed down channels and got their best players on the ball more often. Mutch saw a lot of the ball in the half and did well in the initial half hour to distribute it; release Zaha and Bolasie on several occasions. Somehow, McArthur and Mutch closed down the passing spaces that Chelsea employ in the center of the pitch. Even then, the possession was equally shared and Chelsea managed to get some free kicks in dangerous positions but to no avail. A little mention with respect to Cuadrado here. You can see he was trying to impress the manager but his lack of technicality on the ball exposed him. I’m guessing Mou regards that aspect of a player’s game pretty highly if not the highest. Buck up man. Buck the hell up. Another interesting crucial aspect in Chelsea’s attacking gameplay was Hazard’s positioning. The lack of the same made it feel very disconnected. It’s almost like he wasn’t given any particular orders and was allowed to express himself. As a result, he dropped deep, played on the left flank, played false 9, played on the right flank etc. without really switching positions with another player. Willian dropped deep on some occasions too. Essentially, it made the formation project so: 4-1(Matic)-3(Fabre central and Willian slightly to the left and Cuadrado on the right)-1(Hazard false 9)-1(Drogba). I know. Weird? I think so. There was one standout. Drogba, throughout the game was found as target man beautifully by Courtois from dead ball situations in their own area. It gave Chelsea that edge in possession. Insignificant, but subtly important. And he did that throughout the course of the game. Just as I finished critiquing what I considered a tactically poor half, Hazard plays a 1-2 with Willian and tries to wriggle through between 2 in the box with pace. He catches the knee, and the ref sees it. Penalty. Hazard stepped up and missed from the spot for the first time with Chelsea. Fortunately, Chelsea were fated to be champions today. The rebound was headed in by Hazard to make it 1-0 right on the half time mark. HT. Eden Hazard The 2nd half was typical Mou. He saw a weak link in Cuadrado and wanted more cover for the back. Brought on Mikel for Cuadrado and allowed Hazard, Willian and Fabre to play ahead. It worked wonders for Chelsea. Save for the occasional lack of long ball/shot/miscued pass, Chelsea played some great possession football to close out the half with Matic and Mikel dictating the tempo of the game. When a half can be described in one line like that, you know the tactic worked out brilliantly well. You know Jose more than made up for the 1st half. Sort of an anti-climactic description for the moment you’re champions, is it not? But then, look at these numbers and try calling it dirty. Led from start to finish which is a record in itself. 2nd highest number of goals scored. Least number of goals conceded. 6 players in the PFA team of the month. A scintillating player to watch in Eden Hazard who took home the PFA POTY. A strategic masterpiece from Jose. A calm, composed and tactical brain slicing apart every opposition that comes his way. As a fan, I’m going to try and describe this. It is content. It is happy. It is relief. It is awesome. It is pride. It is admiration. It is…..Chelsea FC. Player ratings: Chelsea: The back 4 was pretty solid except for some nervy moments from Ivanovic when he got booked and had to deal with Zaha and Bolasie. Cuadrado was rusty on the ball although he was trying. A usual good outing for Hazard, Willian and Fabre. Also, age has caught up to Drogba. The instinct and the bullish gameplay is lacking. But Matic and Mikel were absolutely top notch. MotM: Nemanja Matic-He was everywhere. Crystal Palace: The front 4 were trying but there was resolute defending preventing Bolasie, Puncheon, Zaha and Mutch from creating anything concrete. McArthur(pretty solid in front of the back 4) and Ward(went ahead impressively on the left flank and stuck to his defensive duties decently well) were the standout performers.