Chelsea scored two late goals to beat a toothless Manchester City side 2-0 on Sunday and keep alive their faint hopes of retaining the Premier League title.
The champions went ahead through a 78th-minute header by David Luiz and a late Ramires strike sealed a victory which moved Chelsea above their opponents into third place in the table.
Chelsea are nine points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand and still have to play them at Old Trafford.
They have 54 points, one point and one place above City with a game in hand. Arsenal are second on 58 points with United top on 63 after their last-gasp 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Liverpool won 2-0 at Sunderland in Sunday's other match.
The exciting finale to the game at Stamford Bridge was out of keeping with what had gone before.
The teams boasted the best defensive records in the division and it was no surprise that the match was a cagey affair with neither side prepared to take too many risks.
Chelsea made most of the running but struggled to create any clear chances, Florent Malouda side-footing the best weakly at Joe Hart early in the second half.
With little sign of a breakthrough coming manager Carlo Ancelotti sent on Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka for the last 20 minutes and removed the largely anonymous Fernando Torres who is still seeking his first Chelsea goal since his record move from Liverpool.
Drogba made an immediate impact when he swung over a free kick from the right and Brazilian defender Luiz nodded in from close range to further increase his popularity with the Chelsea fans following his vital recent goal against Manchester United.
City, without the injured Carlos Tevez, were unable to muster any sort of response and never looked capable of making it four wins in a row over the Londoners.
Instead it was Chelsea who broke clear in stoppage time as Ramires skipped through some half-hearted tackles before planting the ball beyond Hart.
Liverpool maintained their chase for a Europa League slot as a fortunate Dirk Kuyt penalty and a great goal by Luis Suarez secured a comfortable 2-0 Premier League win at Sunderland on Sunday.
Liverpool were gifted the lead after 33 minutes when John Mensah brought down Jay Spearing just outside the box only for the referee to award a penalty, which Kuyt duly converted.
Suarez made the game safe in the 77th minute when he cut in from the right and, almost from the byline, lashed in shot inside the near post of Simon Mignolet.
Sunderland, who have taken only one point from their last six games, barely created a chance all day but were on the end of another harsh decision five minutes later when Mensah was sent off for bringing down Suarez on the edge of the box after the mildest of collisions.
After being knocked out of the Europa League by Braga on Thursday, sixth-placed Liverpool's only chance of European football next season is if they can finish in the top five and Sunday's win takes them to 45 points, four behind current fifth-placed team Tottenham Hotspur.
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