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Frank Lampard scored his 200th Chelsea goal to lift his side to third place in the Barclays Premier League after a victory over his old club West Ham United in the London derby at Stamford Bridge.
On his 595th Chelsea appearance, Lampard headed in Eden Hazard’s 19-minute cross to move to within two of Bobby Tambling's club scoring record of 202 goals.
Former West Ham striker Demba Ba might have scored three times in the first half, but Chelsea went two goals ahead when the impressive Hazard netted after 50 minutes.
Victory took Rafael Benitez's side above Tottenham in the race for a UEFA Champions League qualifying place, with the west Londoners boasting a game in hand.
What a difference a week makes as Chelsea carried the momentum from the second half at Manchester United and Thursday night's UEFA Europa League win over Steaua Bucharest to remain on course for their remaining targets entering the international break.
The internationals offer brief respite for the European club champions before the season resumes in earnest with six games in 16 days, beginning at Southampton on March 30.
In Chelsea's 53rd match of the season and fifth of a month in which West Ham had previously played just once, the visitors were seeking to become the first team to do a Barclays Premier League double over the Blues this term.
The Hammers had won two of their last four games and had hoped to enhance their poor away record against a Chelsea side showing four changes from the one which began Thursday's defeat of Steaua.
With John Terry named on the bench against the team who inflicted the first defeat of Benitez's tenure on 6 December, Lampard was captain, and he marked the occasion by popping up unmarked to meet Hazard's clipped cross from the right channel with a firm header for his first goal since his strike in the FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford.
Chelsea would have been in front earlier had Ba converted instead of slicing wide when played in by Lampard in the seventh minute.
In the first half West Ham rarely threatened - Andy Carroll had a strike chalked off for a push in the back on David Luiz - and the hosts might have been out of sight by the interval.
Jussi Jaaskelainen saved a low David Luiz free-kick and twice denied Ba when the striker had been found by Victor Moses, who also shot wide on the turn from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross as West Ham again left a Chelsea player in space in the box.
Juan Mata curled off target, a spectacular Luiz left-footed volley went narrowly wide and Chelsea's dominance continued after the break.
Hazard collected an attacking throw-in down the right, linked with Mata and then was allowed to drift across the area. The Belgian went past Winston Reid and James Collins before shooting left-footed and low into the bottom corner.
Jack Collison, Gary O'Neil and Carroll, twice, tried but failed to trouble Petr Cech before Reid was booked for cynically pulling back Mata as the Spaniard forged forward.
Hazard had a shot blocked by Joey O'Brien and Ba shot wide under pressure from Reid, while Terry came on for a 12-minute cameo appearance, replacing Luiz, who hobbled off and straight down the tunnel in the 78th minute.
Hammers substitute Carlton Cole got in front of Cahill at the near post but Cech saved and Carroll headed over from a late corner for the Hammers, who were then fortunate not to concede a third goal.
Uncharacteristically Lampard ballooned a shot over after being picked out by Oscar on 86 minutes before soaking up the acclaim at the final whistle.
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez: "It was a good game, a great result. Frank scored his 200th, the team is third so it's a great week and a good moment for us. It is a long race, we have to carry on and win our next game and see what others do.
"We were expecting him [Lampard] to score today, because the team were creating chances and he was at the end of the crosses. We are happy because the team is winning and he has broken a great record and hopefully he can score more goals.
"In the first half, we could have scored two or three goals. You have to be pleased because we scored two goals and kept a clean sheet. We have to be a little disappointed because we could have finished it earlier. Demba Ba is a great finisher and today it was not his day.
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce: "Sometimes, you come to places like this and you have to hope the top players are not on song, but today young Eden Hazard made life extremely difficult for us. The quality of the players in that area, including Juan Mata, with the support of Frank Lampard was too much for us on the day.
"We had a couple of chances and you have to try and put them in the net, we did not do that and we have suffered for it. They deserved to win and we have to accept that. It is not going to define our season; beating them once is enough, beating them again would just be greedy.
"If we could have got that goal, Andy Carroll had a couple of chances, and we would expect him to hit the target. If we get to 2-1, they might panic. Their second was brilliant. Hazard's tricky, pace and quality of finishing and the defenders could not cope with it.
"We would like six points and get to 39 points as quick as we can."
|30 Mar 2013||v Southampton (A)|
|07 Apr 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|17 Apr 2013||v Fulham (A)|
|21 Apr 2013||v Liverpool (A)|
|28 Apr 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|05 May 2013||v Man Utd (A)|