Mohamed Salah scored one goal and played a part in the other two as Chelsea strolled to a 3-0 victory over Stoke to reclaim the provisional Premier League lead.
Salah was unmarked when he netted the opener in the 32nd minute, and won the penalty after the break that Frank Lampard had saved before netting the rebound.
Salah set up Willian to complete a fifth straight home in the 72nd minute against a Stoke side presenting little attacking threat.
Jose Mourinho's team now have a relatively undemanding run-in, apart from a trip to Liverpool, who can ensure Chelsea's stay at the top this weekend is short-lived by winning tomorrow at West Ham.
City thrash Saints
A two-goal sucker punch moments before halftime helped Manchester City beat Southampton 4-1 and keep the pressure on at the top of the Premier League table, as Jay Rodriguez's World Cup hopes were hit by a knee injury.
A Rickie Lambert penalty cancelled out Yaya Toure's early goal from the spot, but late strikes to Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko meant the 2011-12 champions went into the break with a two-goal lead, an advantage they extended through Stevan Jovetic with nine minutes left.
Following Chelsea's win at Stoke City now sit in third place with 70 points, one behind Liverpool who play West Ham United, and two behind Chelsea.
However with a match in hand on both their fellow title chasers, City now have the advantage in the title race.
United's magical Mata
Juan Mata inspired Manchester United to a 4-0 victory at Newcastle, securing a 10th away win in the Premier League that belies the champions' poor home form.
The 25-year-old Spaniard, who joined United from Chelsea in January, scored twice, including directly from a free kick, to take his tally to three goals in his last two games.
Showing that United can cope without injured striker Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and substitute Adnan Januzaj added further goals in the second half to hand Newcastle a fourth loss in five league games.
David Moyes' United moved up to sixth place, while Newcastle stayed ninth.
Elsewhere, Crystal Palace's recovery continued with a 3-0 win at Cardiff that moved the London club seven points clear of danger above Swansea, who lost 1-0 at Hull.
Fulham climbed off the bottom with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa to 18th place, five points from Norwich, which lost 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion.