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Mikel Stars In Chelsea’s Premier League Triumph

Oladipo Okubanjo

John Mikel Obi got a rare look-in yesterday, as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to win 2014-15 edition of the English Premier League, even with three games to spare. It was Chelsea’s fifth domestic league title, but second for Mikel who first won the Premier League with the Blues in the 2009-10 season. Chelsea had to wait until the 24th minute for their first shot on target.

The visitors pushed out for offside from a free-kick and after Julian Speroni’s fist clear spun short, the Palace number one needed to save from Nemanja Matic at his near post. Just when it looked as if Crystal Palace were going to go in deservedly level at the break came the controversy.

PFA player of the year, Eden Hazard raced into the box at pace, driving between Adrian Mariappa and McArthur, only to tumble over and center referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot. But Replays failed to show any kind of serious contact. Hazard’s penalty was too close to Speroni and he made the stop – but the Chelsea number 10 reacted quickly to head the rebound into the back of the net.

Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, opted to introduce Mikel at the start of the second half in place of Cuadrado who has been hooked at half time after a dire first half. With Chelsea now completely dominating possession, all they needed was a second goal to kill off the game, Mikel would have been an unlikely scorer of that goal in the 58th minute, when the Nigeria international finished tamely after bursting through to the edge of the Palace area after riding some weak tackling.

The title sees the Blues complete a league and cup double, having also won the Capital One Cup against Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the season. Captain, John Terry, admitted that it has “hurt” seeing other teams win the Premier League over the last five years. “We’ve worked so hard this year to get over the line. It was a little bit nervy.

“I’m still fighting and I’m still in the side. More importantly, I’ve got great players and a great manager around me. It’s been five years since we won it and that’s hurt. We’re going to enjoy today,” he told Sky Sports News. The league triumph could be a parting gift for Mikel, with the midfielder widely speculated to be on his way out of the club after an eight-year stint.

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