West Brom vs Chelsea: Batshuayi wins the Premier League for Antonio Conte
Belgian striker is the unlikely hero with a late strike as the Blues win the title at The Hawthorns
Chelsea have been crowned Premier League champions thanks to a rare goal from forgotten man Michy Batshuayi.
Needing to win at West Brom to secure the title, the Blues laboured for 80 minutes, dominating possession but failing to break down their stubborn hosts.
However, a masterstroke from Blues boss Antonio Conte made the difference as he hauled off the underperforming Eden Hazard and Pedro to replace them with Batshuayi, who has barely featured this season after his big money signing from Marseille in the summer, and Willian.
Just six minutes later it was Batshuayi who recouped most, if not all, of his £31.5m transfer fee, as he bundled home a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta from six yards out. The West Brom defence was caught napping for once as Chelsea reacted quickest when the Baggies failed to clear their lines and the Belgian popped up unmarked in the box.
The goal prompted wild celebrations on the Chelsea bench and in the stands, but there was still time for West Brom to push for an equaliser. The Blues held on, however, to win their second title in three seasons.
Chelsea deserve the title. They have been top since November and manager Conte admitted that the tactical change in the autumn, switching to three at the back after a poor start to the season had been key to their success.
Since the change Chelsea have been untouchable and are now on course for the domestic double in Conte's first season, with the FA Cup to come later this month.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is talking about his side's triumph and admits the turning point of the season cam when he changed the system to three at the back after just ten points from the first six games of the campaign.
"In my mind there was this option of change and playing with three at the back and a number ten for more solidity," he explains.
"It is a great achievement for the players," he says, thanking them for the "commitment and workrate, attitude and vision".
He also admits that he has found it difficult at times this season adapting to a new league in a new country and speaking a new language.
Let the celebrations begin!
There are scenes of unbridled joy on the Chelsea bench and amid the travelling support as they celebrate the Premier League title!
John Terry is at the centre of the celebrations but, surprisingly, he's not wearing full kit.
Meanwhile Antonio Conte is getting the bumps and Cesc Fabregas drops the F-bomb on live TV.
FULL TIME: West Brom 0 Chelsea 1 - CHELSEA ARE CHAMPIONS!
93 mins: Time ticking There's not much structure to the game now as Chelsea sit on their lead and West Brom bombard the defence.
The Blues look relatively comfortable here but they are backing off the home side.
90 mins: Five minutes added timeRondon almost equalises for the Baggies to ruin the Chelsea party, but Courtois makes the save and the offside flag goes up.
The Chelsea fans are in good voice but aren't happy to have to wait five minutes.
87 mins: Fans on the pitchWhat an inspired substitution from Conte! Chelsea are now content to wind down the clock and the game comes to a halt as a couple of fans invade the pitch.
There are some unsavoury scenes as the stewards try to clear the pitch and calm the fans down. It seems they were Chelsea fans camped among the home supporters.
83 mins: GOAL! West Brom 0 Chelsea 1Michy Batshuayi scores for Chelsea! The forgotten man who has hardly played this season may have scored the goal that wins the league for the Blues.
It was a horrible goal but they all count. West Brom failed to clear a cross but the defence pushed out and when Azpilicueta crossed low into the box the Belgian was waiting unmarked six yards out to bundle the ball home sparking crazed celebrations on the Chelsea bench.
80 mins: West Brom on topThe home side are not fading here and are actually on top. A well worked free kick falls to Nym who scuffs his shot. The Blues need to be careful.
75 mins: Hazard and Pedro offConte takes action and hooks the below par pair of Hazard and Pedro, who have both looked off the pace this evening. On comes Willian and... forgotten man Michy Batshuayi!
It's an attacking change. But given that West Brom are coming into the game more and more, wouldn't Kante have been a more sensible option? We'll see.
72 min: And another chance!Suddenly West Brom are on the front foot and Chadli ends up with the ball at his feet in the box with only Courtois to beat, but the former Spurs man fires wide!
Could Chelsea get caught by a sucker punch?
71 mins: David Luiz momentChelsea almost commit suicide as Luiz comes charging out at Rondon on the halfway line. He misses his man and Rondon is through... fortunately for the harebrained Brazilian Cahill and Azpilicueta are on hand to give chase and muscle the striker out.
69 minutes: Not Chelsea's night?It's still all Chelsea but nothing is falling right for them in the box. First a Moses cross ends up loose but falls to a West Brom player, then Hazard balloons his shot.
65 mins: Costa at the backA rare West Brom foray into the Chelsea half results in a free kick. The ball is delivered into the box but Costa clears with a fine defensive header.
64 mins: McAuley offMarc Wilson is the third and final Baggies sub as McAuley limps off. He was injured in the collision with Costa in the box.
Can West Brom survive the last 25 minutes with the 11 now on the field?
60 mins: Costa fluffs itAzpilicueta feeds Costa in the box, but the Spaniard's control lets him down as he tries to turn and he goes down in a heap looking for a penalty. No dice.
57 mins: Hazard fouled againThe Belgian draws yet another foul, this time from Brunt, who applauds sarcastically and gets a talking to from the ref. Fabregas delivers the free kick and West Brom win a free kick to cheers from the home fans.
Nacer Chadli replaces McClean as West Brom use their second substitution.
53 mins: Hazard close!Fabregas gets Chelsea going again and Costa chests it into the path of Hazard. He's forced wide and his shot is bundled out by a posse of defenders.
Moses warms the palms of Foster with a drive from the resulting corner. Surely a goal is coming for Chelsea.
51 mins: Fabregas closeChelsea are getting closer and Fabregas fires wide from 20 yards after some good work from Hazard.
Yacob replaces young Sam Field in the West Brom midfield.
47 mins: Great save!Ben Foster saves West Brom with a fine stop low to his right as Moses lets fly from the right of the box. It was a lovely shot that was creeping in and the keeper was at full stretch to palm it round the post.
And Foster is in the action a few seconds later as Costa fires off a first-time shot but it's straight at the keeper.
46 mins: We're offChelsea kick off the second half at The Hawthorns.
HALF TIME: West Brom 0 Chelsea 0The Champions elect were kept at bay by West Brom in the first half as they hunt the win that would see them crowned champions.
The Blues dominated possession but were unable to break the Baggies down. Pedro came closest with a shot that flew past the post, but other than that Chelsea created few clear-cut chances, while the home team struggled to hit the Blues on the break.
Tony Pulis will be the happier of the two managers at half time. But what does Antonoio Conte have up his sleeve? Will the pragmatic Italian be happy to settle for a draw which takes them one point closer to the title?
46 mins: West Brom attackThe half comes to an end with West Brom attacking. First Luiz is forced to intercept a low cross. Chelsea clear the corner, but West Brom win a free kick which is pumped into the box but to no avail.
And that's the whistle.
44 mins: Evans handballThat's blantant from the West Brom centre back who bends over and rolls the ball away from Fabregas on the edge of his box with his hand. Amazingly the referee misses it!
Meanwhile Costa is the latest Chelsea man to shoot but his aim is wild.
41 mins: West Brom celebrateThe Baggies fans want something to cheer and they almost take the roof off when Rondon wins a throw in! Sometimes you have to make your own fun.
37 mins: Pedro chance!Moses finds Pedro in the box and the Spaniard shows wonderful skill to control the ball and fire off a shot, which beats Foster but flies just wide of the goal. The best chance for Chelsea so far.
36 mins: Field bookedThe West Brom youngster is booked for bringing down Pedro as he bursts forward.
32 mins: Fabregas shootsMore passing from Chelsea until Fabregas lets fly from 25 yards. It whistles wide of Foster's goal. Was that the first sign of frustration from Chelsea?
28 mins: West Brom corner!Finally the home side apply some pressure, but the corner kick comes to nothing and Chelsea push forward again. They are throwing plenty of jabs but have yet to land a decent blow on the Baggies.
24 mins: Penalty?Hazard springs into life and goes down in the box. No penalty.
It's still all Chelsea, although Courtois has been called into action to collect a cross. But no major alarms yet for the Champions elect - but can they find a goal?
20 mins: McClean bookedA challenge on Moses on the right earns McClean a booking as Chelsea maintain the pressure. West Brom have bodies behind the ball and Chelsea have yet to break them down.
On the other hand it means that Rondon is on his own up front with no support so every time West Brom clear, the ball comes straight back at them a few seconds later.
16 mins: Free kick. Fletcher gives away a free kick on the edge of the box. It was a soft challenge on Azpilicueta but the referee blew. Fabregas feeds Pedro whose shot is tame, but it goes behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
13 mins: End to end!West Brom break and it's a two on one with James McClean on the ball, but he can't feed Rondon. Then at the other end Chelsea go through but Costa can't find Pedro with a pull back.
11 mins: Chelsea on top. First Costa has a shot blocked in the box and then Pedro fires over from 20 yards. Hazard and Costa then combine nicely on the edge of the box. The Blues, wearing black, are camped in the West Brom half.
8 mins:Eden Hazard cops a blow to the face as he wriggles round Dawson on the right. Fabregas fires the free kick to the far post where Cahill can't quite wrap his foot around it.
5 mins: Great ball The Spanish connection comes into play as Fabregas plays a ball over the top and Pedro almost latches onto it through the middle with West Brom keeper Ben Foster in no-mans land.
4 mins: Chelsea have settled nicely after that early scare and the Blue machine clicks into gear as they come forward. Victor Moses makes ground down the right, but it's out for a goal kick.
Kick off:Chelsea will feel at home as The Liquidator rings out around The Hawthorns. But it's West Brom who start on the front foot and Salomon Rondon forces Courtois into a save after 20 seconds!
The Chelsea keeper tips the header over for a corner. But Chelsea clear the danger.
19.57: The teams are out.. let's get ready to rumble.
Conte speaks: The Chelsea boss is his usual cool self and insists that they are taking nothing for granted.
"It's just another game," he insists. He's probably in a minority..
He's certainly learned how to deliver a platitude in English this season. "It won’t be easy. West Brom is a good team, a strong physical team with a good manager."
Antonio Conte is on the brink of being crowned king of the Premier League in his first season in charge of Chelsea as his dominant team head to The Hawthorns to face West Brom.
With a seven point lead over Spurs in second place and three games to play, the Blues need only three points to clinch the title and victory tonight would wrap it up.
So confident is the Italian manager that he has left the PFA and football writers' player of the season N'Golo Kante on the bench and kept faith with the more attacking Cesc Fabregas.
Will West Brom be able to stop him, Eden Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa?
West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Fletcher, McClean, Livermore, Field, Brunt, Rondon.Substitutes Robson-Kanu, Yacob, Morrison, Marc Wilson, Myhill, Chadli, Leko.
Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Fabregas, Matic, Alonso, Pedro, Hazard, Costa.Substitutes Begovic, Zouma, Ake, Kante, Willian, Batshuayi, Terry.
Referee: Michael Oliver