Chelsea finished off the 2016/2017 Premier League campaign in style with a convincing 5-1 victory against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge, with the result poignant for a number of reasons.
It saw Antonio Conte break the record for number of league wins in a season which, given just how disastrous last season was, is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes and a wonderful achievement in his first year in England.
It also provided a fitting end to John Terry’s time at the club after 22 years of loyal service, with the level of tributes and emotions shown by those who appreciate what the 36-year-old has achieved at Chelsea a true sign that he will always be considered a club legend and we may not see another player like him.
Perhaps more importantly, the team were finally able to enjoy the fruits of their labour and lift a thoroughly deserved title in a season where they have been totally dominant, but while Bookmaker Ratings may back Chelsea to successfully defend their Premier League crown next season, the current campaign is far from over.
There is the small matter of an FA Cup Final against our near rivals Arsenal, with the opportunity to lift the double likely to motivate the team to make an already memorable season even sweeter.
Winning our first FA Cup since 2012 would be the icing on the cake for a club that have shown superb fighting spirit and determination to right the wrongs of last year, and while a number of players have proven their doubters wrong and worked their socks off for the club, Conte is the one that has steered Chelsea in the right direction.
His style of play and preferred system has rejuvenated the team, with a series of outstanding performances in the Premier League testament to the way Conte has got Chelsea firing on all cylinders.
Thrown in victories against Manchester United and Tottenham that has led the club to the FA Cup Final, and it is easy to see why Conte may feel confident of returning from Wembley with the ultimate prize.
The players and backroom staff deserve to revel in their achievements after a fantastic Premier League campaign, but Chelsea cannot let the success get the better of them and take their minds off preparing for the cup final.
A number of people who spoke during the on-pitch celebrations after lifting the title stated the importance of finishing the season on an ultimate high, which goes a long way towards highlighting the winning mentality at the club; their appetite for success would not be satisfied if Chelsea ended up losing at Wembley.
It is difficult not to back Conte’s men given that they are riding on the crest of a wave, and although some fans may want to use the betting software listed on Bookmaker Ratings in an effort to make a profit if Chelsea live up to their tags as FA Cup favourites, we will have to put in a strong performance to get the job done.
Chelsea’s chances of FA Cup glory have been boosted by the fact that Laurent Koscielny will be banned after being sent off in their final game of the season against Everton. Arsenal may also be without fellow centre-back Gabriel who was stretchered off in the second half, leaving Arsene Wenger with a potential defensive crisis at exactly the wrong time.
It could present Chelsea with a fantastic opportunity to take advantage and throw everything at Arsenal in the hope that the likes of Eden Hazard, Pedro and Diego Costa continue to produce the moments of magic that will win the FA Cup.
Doing so would further enhance Conte’s reputation as the man who transformed the team and can lead them to glory for many years to come, but while Chelsea may be favourites, there is still a job to be done on the pitch at Wembley.