Under pressure from the chasing pack and rocked on their heels by a Charlie Adam bolt from the blue, Chelsea showed cool heads to extend their Premier League to seven points on Saturday with a 2-1 home win over Stoke City.
Arsenal's 4-1 thrashing of faltering Liverpool and Manchester United's 3-1 victory over Aston Villa moved them into second and third places respectively before Chelsea kicked off at Stamford Bridge.
When Adam launched a 60-metre missile from inside his own half just before halftime to cancel out Eden Hazard's penalty it could have provoked a few jitters but Chelsea held firm to claim three points after Loic Remy tapped in following a bad mistake from Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.
They have 70 points from 30 games with Arsenal on 63 and Manchester United on 62, both having played a game more.
Champions Manchester City can reduce the gap to six if they beat Crystal Palace on Monday, but the reality is that Chelsea need 16 points to win the title for the first time since 2010.
The main talking points, however, were Adam's freakish goal and a worrying injury to Chelsea's leading striker Diego Costa who limped off with a hamstring problem shortly after coming on as a halftime substitute.
"I don't know but a couple of weeks minimum," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports when asked about the injury to Costa, who had just been passed fit after a similar injury.
Mourinho was impressed by Adam's goal.
"It was a goal every super player in the world would like to score, from the Messis, to Maradonas to the Peles," he said.