A goal either side of half time was enough for Chelsea to see off West Ham United's challenge in the London derby at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Frank Lampard, inevitably, was on the spot to head Chelsea into a 19th minute lead and notch his 200th Blues goal in the process.
The Hammers found it tough to make their mark in possession and were grateful for some wasteful finishing from Demba Ba for keeping the score at one before the break.
Their hopes of imposing themselves more on the contest after the break were dealt a blow by Eden Hazard's strike five minutes after the restart as the Blues avenged their defeat at Upton Park in December.
Chelsea wasted a golden chance to land an early hammer blow when Ba mishit his shot well wide of the mark in the seventh minute, having got goalside of James Collins to run clear on goal after Lampard supplied the pass.
The Hammers almost did Chelsea's work for them seven minutes later when Ramires crossed dangerously from the left and Collins, facing his own goal, headed the ball into a grateful Jussi Jaaskelainen's midriff.
West Ham were struggling to get a grip of the game and Chelsea made them pay by moving into a 19th minute lead. The visitors may have thought the chance had passed when Jaaskelainen beat Hazard's stinging shot away, but the Belgian picked up possession again and stood up a cross for an unmarked Lampard to head home from ten yards.
The travelling Hammers contingent thought their side had drawn level five minutes later when Matt Jarvis chased down a ball in the left channel and hooked back a cross towards Andy Carroll, who controlled on his chest and fired home, but referee Michael Oliver spotted a push from the big Geordie on David Luiz and the celebrations were short-lived.
Luiz forced a low save from Jaaskelainen with a free kick from the edge of the box, while Victor Moses fired a foot wide following a Cesar Azpilicueta cross as Chelsea kept up the pressure.
The hosts really should have gone into the break with a more comfortable advantage as Ba twice spurned one-one-one chances, Jaaskelainen saving well on both occasions to keep his side in it.
However, the resistance wasn't to last long after the restart as the irrepressible Hazard collected possession from Juan Mata in the right channel and danced inside Winston Reid before drilling into the bottom right hand corner.
The Blues were keeping the heat on and Mata almost turned goalscorer moments later, surging into the box but having his path to goal blocked by Jaaskelainen.
West Ham seemed to weather that early second half surge, although Ba did go close again 11 minutes from the end when he took too long over his shot and Reid got across to block.
Former Chelsea striker Carlton Cole came off the bench with ten minutes to go as West Ham bolstered their attacking options, and he almost pulled one back within four minutes of his introduction, but Petr Cech dived to his right to cling onto the No9's header after Jarvis crossed from the left.
At the other end Jaaskelainen clawed away a Hazard effort, which took a nick off Joey O'Brien and skipped up off the turf, but Chelsea's work had already been done as they kept their bid for a top three finish on track.
Chelsea: Cech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz (Terry 78), Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Hazard, Mata (Mikel 85), Moses (Oscar 70); Ba
Subs: Ivanovic, Torres, Turnbull (GK), Bertrand
Goals: Lampard 19, Hazard 50
West Ham United: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins (Tomkins 61), Reid, O'Brien; Vaz Te (C.Cole 80), Collison, O'Neil, Diame (Taylor 46), Jarvis; Carroll
Subs: McCartney, Pogatetz, Chamakh, Spiegel (GK)
Booked: Reid, Demel