The image of Chelsea’s players jumping for joy at the end of Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Arsenal casts two main trains of thought.
Firstly, celebrating a goalless draw like a victory will be criticised as negative in some corners, with Jose Mourinho’s track record of conservatism continuing along with accusations of being boring.
However, the other thing it highlighted was the moment that Chelsea ended the Premier League title as a contest, with the stalemate eliminating any slim chance that Arsenal had of overhauling their London rivals.
Truth be told, Chelsea’s place at the top of the table has been longstanding and it has been a matter of when, rather than if, the Blues will become champions for some time now.
Defeat at the Emirates Stadium would have delayed the inevitable rather than prevent it.
That said, Arsene Wenger will have been desperate to get one over Mourinho and keep the North London club’s recent momentum going.
But, at the end of the day and regardless of Chelsea’s tactics, Arsenal did not do enough to win the game.
The Gunners’ best chance of the match came in injury time as Mesut Ozil fluffed his lines from six yards following Nacho Monreal’s low cross.
Before this, despite a high-octane fixture and energy galore, Arsenal did not look like breaking the resolute rearguard of the visitors.
The champions-elect had a number of penalty shouts turned away, rightly or wrongly, while Ramires had the best chance of the game following Willian’s deftly played first-half throughball.
Arsenal huffed and puffed, but like Liverpool last season at Anfield in a game they had to win, could not break down a stubborn Chelsea defence.
With the Gunners in such excellent form and having ripped Liverpool to shreds in their last Premier League home game, Chelsea were right to enter the game with an air of conservatism.
The fact that the Blues limited Arsenal’s chances in front of goal should be commended rather than criticised, with the emphasis on the hosts to provide the necessary inspiration to get the ball into the back of the net.
Arsenal can feel happy with their form in the second half of the season, but Wenger has now gone 13 matches without recording a victory over the current Chelsea boss.
Mourinho may well be labelled as boring by the frustrated Gunners fans, but at the end of the day one of his teams will never be beaten 6-0 on enemy soil – like Arsenal were at Stamford Bridge last season.
The Portuguese trainer may well have chosen substance over style once more, which inhibited the game as a spectacle to some degree, but this pragmatic approach has given his team the required result and handed Chelsea the title.