Chelsea are worthy champions - By Chad Nagel

Chelsea are 2016-17 Premier League champions
Champions Chelsea became the first English side to register 30 top-flight wins in a 38-game season.
As I predicted before the season, Chelsea are the 2016-17 Premier League champions and deservedly so. 

Antonio Conte has done a magnificent job in his debut season in England and the Italian still has the chance to make it a double-winning campaign when the Blues take on Arsenal in the FA Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday. 

N’Golo Kante was indeed a fantastic signing, with the Frenchman winning three individual awards (Premier League, PFA and Football Writers' Player of the Season). But it was also players like Marcos Alonso - dubbed as a Bolton or Sunderland reject - and Victor Moses - who expected to go on a loan again - that proved to be crucial to Chelsea’s success. 

Their introduction came when Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation after the humiliating 3-0 defeat at Arsenal. Conte’s new-look side went on to win 13 consecutive league games between October and December 2016. 

Thibaut Courtois was at his best again, pipping Hugo Lloris to the Premier League Golden Glove award, while stand-in captain Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz (yes him) were rock solid. 

Despite not featuring as much as he’d have liked, Cesc Fabregas was still a key component for Conte’s side, creating moments of magic out of nothing for the deadly trio of Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Pedro. 

Hazard was sheer class for Conte’s title-winning side, scoring 16 league goals this season - his best return in a single campaign in the competition. The Belgian star was arguably better than when he won the PFA Player of the Year award in the 2014-15 season. 

Pedro looked like the player who thrived under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, scoring nine goals with as many assists in the Premier League, while Diego Costa was focused more on scoring goals rather than getting into trouble.

As for Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea splashed £33million on him but he made just one start in the league, which came after the Blues were already crowned champions. However, the expensive Belgian striker did score the goal that sealed the title against West Brom which was priceless.

The stats behind Chelsea's success this season were impressive: 30 wins in total, 15 victories in their last 16 at home, 83 points from the last 96 available to them and 85 goals scored, making this their second-best ever Premier League season in front of goal. 

A job well done for a club that finished 10th last season and 31 points behind the leaders.


Here are some of the best stats from Chelsea's title-winning season:

Days top of the 2016-17 Premier League table:
Chelsea: 184
Man City: 75
Liverpool: 14
Man United: 6
Arsenal: 2

Thibaut Courtois has won the Premier League Golden Glove award for the 2016-17 season thanks to 16 clean sheets.

Chelsea (30 wins) have broken the Premier League record for most wins in a season (29, Chelsea in 2004/05 and 2005/06). The Blues are the first to do it in a 38-game English top-flight season.

Chelsea's point tally of 93 was the second-highest seen in a Premier League season, after Chelsea - 95 points in 2004-05.

Between October and December 2016, Chelsea won 13 consecutive league games for the first time in their history - also equalling the top-flight record in a single season (13 - Arsenal in 2001/02).

Chelsea won home and away against 12 different opponents this season, equalling the Premier League record alongside Chelsea in 2004-05 and Manchester United in 2006-07.

Antonio Conte has won the league title in four successive seasons as a club coach after winning the Serie A title with Juventus in 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Conte became the fourth Italian manager to win the English top-flight title after Carlo Ancelotti (2009-10), Roberto Mancini (2011-12) and Claudio Ranieri (2015-16).

Conte is also the fourth manager to lift the Premier League trophy in his first season in England (Jose Mourinho 2004-05, Carlo Ancelotti 2009-10 and Manuel Pellegrini 2013/14).

Chelsea used all three substitutes in every Premier League game this season (114 in total) - they are only the second team to do this in a 38-game Premier League season, after Manchester City in 2014-15.

John Terry has now played more Premier League games for Chelsea than any other player (492).

Diego Costa became the third player to score 20+ goals in a Premier League season for Chelsea on two occasions (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2000-01 & 2001-02 and Didier Drogba in 2006-07 & 2009-10).

Eden Hazard scored (16) Premier League goals this season - his best return in a single campaign in the competition.

Cesc Fabregas became the first Spaniard to make 300 appearances in the Premier League.

Cesar Azpilicueta became the fourth outfield player in Premier League history to play every minute of a title-winning season (after Gary Pallister in 1992/93, John Terry in 2014/15 and Wes Morgan in 2015/16).