Chelsea have kept in touch with title rivals Manchester United and Liverpool with a comfortable 1-nil win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Michael Essien struck the only goal via his shin when he diverted Frank Lampard's free-kick into the corner of the net after 18 minutes.
The scoreline barely reflected the Blues' dominance as their slick passing moves left City chasing shadows.
Chelsea's victory lifts then to second in the table and level on points with Liverpool, who beat Manchester United 4-1 yesterday to reduce their lead to four points.
United have a game in hand over their rivals but will be looking nervously over their shoulders.
Still to come today Aston Villa host Tottenham.