London (AFP) – Chelsea’s extended victory parade will reach a climax with the trophy presentation when Sunderland arrive at the home of the Premier League champions on Sunday.
Having wrapped up the title with two games to go, Antonio Conte’s side have been able to see out the season in comfort, although Monday’s 4-3 victory over Watford confirmed they were certainly not running down the campaign quietly.
The meeting with a Sunderland side long since condemned to relegation will allow them to sign off in style before the presentation of the Premier League trophy caps off a memorable campaign.
John Terry will collect the silverware in one of his last acts as Chelsea captain before thoughts turn to the FA Cup final against Arsenal as Conte’s side bid to complete the double.
Terry will be leaving the club has been associated with for 22 years at the end of the season and Conte has given a clear sign he expects Gary Cahill to take over the armband next season.
“Gary is our vice-captain this season. He put the armband on every time John didn’t play,” Conte said.
“For sure, Gary has good prospects of being captain, but now it’s important to finish the season.
“To start to think about next season is very dangerous because we have different targets still to reach.”
Terry’s final appearance as a Chelsea player at Stamford Bridge will only add to the emotion on an afternoon of celebration and Conte believes the 36-year-old is fit enough to continue his career elsewhere.
Terry, who scored against Watford, indicated he was unsure whether he would carry on playing or retire.
But Conte said: “John is strong and the moments I have called him to play he has shown this.
“In this point in your career it is important to feel your body and your mind, to feel if you have still the desire and will to fight and to work very hard every day.
“If you feel this then it is right to continue to play. I think John has all of these characteristics.
“John deserves the best. He is a legend for this club and in this season he has been very important to winning this title, and for this reason I have to take my time and make my best decision for him.”
– Chastening –
Sunderland are without 11 senior players through injury as they bring the curtain down on a season to forget.