Chelsea v Birmingham City Line-up & stats
Premier League results/standings
A Frank Lampard double and a Florent Malouda goal take Chelsea back to the top of the Premier League after a 3-0 win over Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge.
With the top of the Premier League in their reach Chelsea took full advantage with a win over in-form Birmingham City on Wednesday evening.
Alex McLeish's Blues are performing well above expectations this season and have already held Chelsea, as well as Manchester United and Liverpool to draws this season.
But Carlo Ancelotti's side started the match all guns blazing and showing real league-winning intentions.
And they got the perfect start after just five minutes when Joe Cole found Florent Malouda with a precise cross and the Frenchman nodded home comfortably.
Birmingham hardly had time to dust themselves off and Chelsea were on the attack again.
Ricardo Carvalho nodded a header onto the post and Joe Cole's shot was deflected inches past the post.
But Birmingham remained a threat on the break with the pace of Cameron Jerome and Benitez, and only found their final touch lacking.
The home side's pressure was made to count on 32 minutes, however, when Frank Lampard doubled his side's lead. The midfielder received a pass from Michael Ballack, and arrowed a drilled shot into Joe Hart's bottom corner from fully 25-yards.
Chelsea picked up where they left off after half-time as Nicolas Anelka slammed a shot into the side netting.
On 58 minutes Ballack volleyed Malouda's corner just over the bar as Chelsea tried to put the game to bed.
Chelsea continued to reap the rewards down the flanks, Ashley Cole overlapped and swung in a dangerous ball a few minutes later which caused problems in the Birmingham box.
From the resulting corner John Terry's ambitious overhead kick sailed high into the London night.
Birmingham looked comfortable in possession but lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Keith Fahey forced Petr Cech into a smart save with 15 minutes left but Chelsea wrapped up the three points at the death when Malouda squared to Lampard for his second.
With Didier Drogba still not back from African Nations Cup duty Chelsea will relish their prospects when he returns.