Chelsea skipper John Terry admitted that he could retire at the end of the season after making a goalscoring return for the soon-to-be-crowned champions against Watford.
Terry opened the scoring for the much-changed Blues as their title-winning celebrations continued, while substitute Cesc Fabregas proved the match-winner after Watford showed a resilience rarely seen during a now five-game losing streak.
Victory in their final league game of the campaign against relegated Sunderland on Sunday would see Chelsea become the first English club to record 30 top-flight wins in a 38-game campaign.
Whatever the result, Terry will this summer bring down the curtain on his 22-year stay at Stamford Bridge which has now seen the former England captain win 15 major honours. It had been envisaged that Terry would continue playing, although that may no longer be the case.
“I’ve not ruled out Sunday being the final game of my playing career,” said Terry.
“If I could have written my life, this is how it would have gone – going out crowned champions – and the club in great hands with the owner, manager and players. Next week will be a sad day for me, but I’m delighted with the experiences I’ve had.”
Chelsea entered the clash unbeaten in six Premier League meetings against Watford since losing 1-0 in 1999 and took a 22nd minute lead when Terry marked his first top-flight start since 11 September with a goal.
The 36-year-old notched his 67th Chelsea strike by sliding in to divert a loose, bouncing ball following a Willian corner beyond Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, in off the post.
Their lead lasted just two minutes and it was Terry’s errant header which allowed Etienne Capoue to steal in and nod past stand-in stopper Asmir Begovic.
The Blues, however, restored their advantage on 36 minutes when former Marseille defender Cesar Azpilicueta scored for the first time in the league since January 2016 when he lashed a low, angled half-volley past Gomes from just inside the penalty area.
Six minutes into the second period, Michy Batshuayi marked his maiden Premier League start by tapping in a square pass from Nathan Ake.
Watford replied within moments of the re-start as Daryl Janmaat scythed through the Chelsea defence and inside Ake before slotting past Begovic, while Stefano Okaka, who made four appearances under Chelsea boss Antonio Conte for Italy, rifled home a leveller with a quarter of an hour remaining.
But the final word went to Fabregas, whose scuffed effort deceived Gomes, as Watford centre-half Sebastian Prodl received a second yellow card late on for a lunge on Pedro.