John Terry takes centre stage at Chelsea championship party
Departing Blues legend scores at one end and messes up at the other as Watford do their best to spoil Chelsea's fun
Chelsea 4 Watford 3
The Premier League champions celebrated their title in front of their fans by serving up a game that was littered with goals, gaffes and a farewell from a great.
The "great" was John Terry, the Chelsea legend, who leaves the club next month after 22 years of loyal service. Relegated to a bit-part player this season, the 36-year-old made his first league start since September and marked the occasion with a goal on 22 minutes. It was his 67th goal for the club, his first in 485 days, and it continued his astonishing record of scoring in 17 consecutive seasons.
Needless to say Terry was delighted, as were his adoring fans, but both were brought back down to earth with a bump two minutes later when the Chelsea defender gifted a goal to Watford with a poor clearance header that was punished by Etienne Capoue.
Cesar Azpilicueta restored Chelsea's advantage on 36 minutes with a clinical finish and Michy Batshuayi made it 3-1 four minutes after the restart. Game over, thought the Chelsea faithful, but Watford, unlike West Ham against Liverpool on Sunday, didn't roll over and die. Instead the Hornets stung their hosts with goals from Daryl Janmaat and substitute Stefano Okaka as they attempted to collect their first points since mid-April.
But it wasn't to be and two minutes from time Cesc Fabregas came up with the winner, the Spaniard firing into the corner of the visitors net from the edge of the area to give Chelsea their 29th league win of the season. There was still time for Watford's Sebastian Prodl to be sent off for a second bookable offence to round-off an entertaining if ill-disciplined evening.
Asked why he had decided to rest so many of his first-team regulars - including Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa - manager Antonio Conte replied: "You don't start planning for the FA Cup final on the Saturday. You start to plan ten days before."
With only cup opponents Arsenal standing between Chelsea and a domestic double, Conte said he also wants to set a new Premier League record of 30 wins in a season. "We conceded three goals but we scored four and created many chances," he said. "The most important thing was we won. Now we have to target to win 30 games... we can reach this target. The players and I want to reach this target."
As for Terry, who has now made 715 appearances for Chelsea and amassed five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and a Champions League title, Conte had nothing but praise for the Blues icon as he approaches the end of the road.
"It's a pity for me but I have to respect his decision," he said. "I wish him and his family the best. Chelsea will always be his home. John is a great man and a great legend for Chelsea."