Eden Hazard scored the only goal as Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at a festive, sun-soaked Stamford Bridge to claim their first Premier League title since 2010.
The Belgian headed in on Sunday after Julian Speroni had parried his self-won penalty late in the first half to register his 19th goal of the season and carry Jose Mourinho’s side over the line with three games to spare.
Chelsea preserved their 13-point lead over outgoing champions Manchester City, who won 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur, and moved 16 points clear of Arsenal, who visit Hull City on Monday, meaning they can no longer be caught.
“Every title is a consequence of hard work and a reason to be happy and proud,” said Mourinho, who has now won three league titles with Chelsea after previous successes in 2005 and 2006 during his first spell at the club.
“I can’t evaluate and say which one was more important. This was my last title and I will try to get another one.”
The title success, the club’s fifth in total, follows Chelsea’s triumph over Tottenham in the League Cup final and sets the seal on a campaign they have dominated from start to finish.
The title-clinching win was characteristic of Chelsea’s gritty recent displays and it gave Mourinho the eighth league crown of his managerial career.
“It’s been five years since we’ve won it,” captain John Terry, who has led Chelsea to four of their five league titles, told Sky Sports.
“The first one (in 2005) was special and when you go four or five years without it, it hurts. So I’ll really enjoy it today.”
Hazard, recently voted Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers’ Association, said: “We deserve to be champions, and everyone at Chelsea is happy today.
“I know the team need me and a player like me. I am here to score, and this season all the players did well.”
It took the hosts a while to get going in Sunday’s game.
With Didier Drogba dropping deep up front, Chelsea struggled to get in behind the visitors, who posed a threat on the break through the quicksilver dribbling of left-winger Wilfried Zaha.
When Chelsea did begin to create chances, they found Palace goalkeeper Speroni in jittery form.
The Argentine was obliged to save at his near post from Nemanja Matic after failing to claim a Cesc Fabregas free-kick, while another set-piece saw him unconvincingly fumble away a shot from Drogba.
It required a trademark, full-bodied block from Terry, meanwhile, to prevent Jason Puncheon giving Palace the lead, the ball flicking away off the Chelsea captain’s arm.
But on the cusp of half-time, Hazard, as he has done so often this season, supplied the breakthrough.
Despite minimal contact, James McArthur was adjudged to have impeded the Belgium forward in the penalty area as he burst onto Willian’s back-heel.
Hazard took the penalty himself and although Speroni blocked his initial shot – the first time he has failed to score from the spot in 10 attempts in the Premier League – he followed in to head home.