For more than 80 minutes, it looked as though Chelsea’s title-winning celebrations would have to be put on hold. West Bromwich Albion played a tight and organized defense under Tony Pulis at the Hawthorns, keeping a lid on the Blues. Chelsea pushed forward, and the Baggies pushed them away.
With the Blues looking frustrated, manager Antonio Conte pulled a double switch to try and find a difference-maker. Surprisingly, off came Eden Hazard and Pedro for Willian and Michy Batshuayi in the 75th and 76th minutes. But as he’s done all season, Conte pressed the exact right button as the seldom-used Batshauyi delivered the title-clinching goal in the 82nd minute.
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And, exhale. It wasn’t the prettiest match-winner, but it counted all the same. It was just Batshuayi’s second Premier League goal of the season, his first since matchday 2. The Belgian has played a grand total of 123 minutes in the competition and was viewed as a bit of a bust following his €39 million summer transfer from Marseille.
He came through when the Blues needed him, though. His first year with Chelsea might not have been as impactful as he would have liked, but Friday’s goal certainly made it unforgettable.