Chelseas rapid improvement under new coach Guus Hiddink continued on Sunday when Michael Essiens goal earned a 1-0 home win against Manchester City to move them back into second place in the English Premier League.
Essien,who returned recently after a long lay-off with a knee injury,beat City keeper Shay Given in the 18th minute to seal the victory that left Chelsea four points behind leaders Manchester United who lost 4-1 at home to Liverpool on Saturday.
Champions United,who have played a game fewer than their rivals,have 65 points with Chelsea and Liverpool both on 61.
Since Dutchman Hiddink replaced sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari in February Chelsea have gone seven matches unbeaten and after Uniteds defeat on Saturday are still in the title race.
Hiddink has also steered them into the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the last eight of the Champions League.
The only worries for Hiddink on Sunday were that Chelsea failed to turn their dominance into more goals and that striker Didier Drogba hobbled off clutching his knee.
Big-spending City,who have won just once away in the league this season and are still in the relegation dogfight,were poor and could have been behind even before Ghana international Essien diverted in Frank Lampards shot with his shin.
Former City player Nicolas Anelka had a strong penalty appeal turned down shortly before halftime and Juliano Belletti fired a low drive against the post after the break. Michael Ballack also wasted a good chance while Florent Malouda,who replaced Drogba,should have scored.