LONDON - Chelsea's inexorable Premier League title march continued with a consummate 3-0 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur and champions Manchester City stayed second with a 4-1 canter at Sunderland on Wednesday.
Southampton's challenge suffered further deflation with a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal, but the pacesetters took full advantage with Chelsea making it 21 games unbeaten this season thanks to goals from Eden Hazard, Didier Drogba and Loic Remy.
The 36-year-old Drogba proved a splendid replacement for suspended top-scorer Diego Costa, grabbing his first chance within two minutes of Hazard's 19th-minute opener before his replacement Remy also netted to seal the points.
The performance of the seemingly ageless Drogba earned high praise from his team mate Hazard.
"He does everything, he's very important for the team and every game he comes in, he plays very well. It is a pleasure to play with him," the Belgian told Sky Sports.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, promising there would be no let-up in his side's title push, was also delighted.
"Tottenham started better than us and should have scored before us, but after our first goal our team became more stable and confident and we controlled the game," he said.
"I'm really happy with the points, performance and spirit of the players."
The only cloud on the horizon for Mourinho was that his towering midfield anchor, Nemanja Matic, will be unavailable for Saturday's match at Newcastle after picking up a suspension for his fifth booking.
Chelsea's victory, which continued their amazing record of being unbeaten by Spurs at Stamford Bridge for 24 years, maintained their six-point lead over City, who came from behind to crush Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The champions were once again grateful to the league's leading marksman Sergio Aguero who produced a sublime display, scoring twice with his 13th and 14th league goals of the season.
The Argentine struck two minutes after Connor Wickham had put Sunderland ahead on 19 minutes, equalising with the sweetest of strikes.
He then set up Stevan Jovetic six minutes before the break, Pablo Zabaleta added a third and Aguero, in the 71st minute, completed the rout.
Extraordinarily, it meant that Aguero, the man with the best goals per game strike rate in Premier League annals, has now scored 30 in his last 33 league matches for City.