Sunday 23 July 2017

Thibaut Courtois revels in another title for Chelsea as wait goes on for rivals

Thibaut Courtois is savouring a second Premier League title in three years
Thibaut Courtois is savouring a second Premier League title in three years

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could not resist reminding London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal of their barren streaks after winning a second Premier League title in three years.

The Blues won a fifth Premier League in 13 seasons with two games to spare by beating West Brom 1-0 on Friday night.

Arsenal's most recent title came prior to that run, in 2003-04, while Spurs, who are set to finish as runners-up, won the last of their two championships in 1960-61.

The Gunners stand in the way of Chelsea's bid for a double in Antonio Conte's first season as head coach, in the May 27 FA Cup final.

Conte has rejuvenated Chelsea, champions under Jose Mourinho in 2014-15 before finishing 10th last term.

Courtois told Chelsea TV: "After last year, when we were so bad and it looked like nothing was going to work, to win the league again is fantastic.

"My second Premier League in three years. A lot of other teams are waiting years and years to win it again. We've done it twice in three years."

Michy Batshuayi scored his second Premier League goal and first since August on his 18th substitute appearance to be the unlikely hero eight minutes from time.

Courtois had an inkling his fellow Belgian Batshuayi, a £33million signing from Marseille last summer, may have a decisive say.

The 25-year-old continued: "Winning in the end 1-0, a goal from Michy, from a guy who has had a tough season, didn't play much and he scored the final goal... It was something I was thinking about (on Thursday). Imagine if he scored. He did it. Fantastic."

Batshuayi is yet to start a Premier League game, but may now get his chance against Watford on Monday or Sunderland on the final day of the campaign.

Defender Gary Cahill said on chelseafc.com: "I'm delighted for Michy.

"We've been together as a group all season - that's what got us to where we are.

"Michy hasn't played as much football as he would want but to score the winner is great for him."

Chelsea club captain John Terry, who will leave this summer after 22 years, will also be expected to appear in the final two home games.

Terry, who has made 715 Chelsea appearances, now has five Premier League titles and 15 major honours with the Blues.

Courtois' first title, after three years on loan at Atletico Madrid which included winning LaLiga, was sealed by a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. And he felt The Hawthorns clash was similar.

"It's like when we won against Crystal Palace. It's never easy," he added.

"It's amazing to win. Fantastic. Two home games. To play as the champions in home games is fantastic."

Cahill, like Conte, turned his attention to the Wembley date with Arsenal.

The England defender added: "We've worked so hard all season to be in a position to get this trophy. It's felt like it's been so close but so far away.

"We're going to enjoy this week, but we've got a big day coming up, we want them both.

"We know it's going to be difficult but we're going to have a fantastic week."

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