Frank Lampard scored his 200th Chelsea goal as his side beat West Ham United 2-0 on Sunday to snatch third place in the Premier League from faltering London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Tottenham's 1-0 loss at home to Fulham had opened the door for Chelsea and they took full advantage by recording a victory that lifted them to within four points of second-placed Manchester City.
Lampard broke the deadlock against his former club West Ham in the 19th minute at Stamford Bridge, springing to head Eden Hazard's dinked cross into the top-right corner.
The England midfielder, 34, now stands only two goals behind Bobby Tambling in the list of Chelsea's all-time top goal-scorers.
Hazard added a delightful second goal five minutes into the second half, exchanging passes with Juan Mata on the right and drifting past Winston Reid before drilling a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner.
"It is a long race. We have to carry on and win our next game and see what others do," said Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez.
"In the first half, we could have scored two or three goals and you have to be pleased because we scored two goals and kept a clean sheet."
Fulham dealt Spurs' challenge for a Champions League place another setback by condemning Andre Villas-Boas' side to a second consecutive Premier League defeat.
Having eliminated Inter Milan from the Europa League on Thursday, Spurs were bidding to tighten their grip on third place in the table and Gareth Bale had an early header cleared off the line by Sascha Riether.
However, the hosts lost Michael Dawson to injury at half-time and then saw former striker Dimitar Berbatov claim the game's only goal in the 52nd minute when he converted Riether's low right-wing cross.
Spurs' best chance fell to Jermain Defoe in the dying stages, but his effort from Bale's cut-back met its match in a superb reflex save from Mark Schwarzer.