John Terry marked his 400th Premier League appearance with a goal as Chelsea came from behind to beat Southampton 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea looked to be in danger of slipping to their first home defeat in the top flight under Jose Mourinho when Jay Rodriguez was gifted an opening goal after only 13 seconds following a bad mistake from Michael Essien.
Essien was making his first Premier League start since May 2012 and after he was substituted at half-time, the midfielder's blushes were spared as Chelsea fought back to secure all three points courtesy of Gary Cahill's first league goal of the season, Terry's towering header and Demba Ba's last-minute strike.
Southampton were forced to give goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga his first appearance for a year when Artur Boruc went off with an injury just after Cahill's equaliser and the youngster was beaten by Terry just a few minutes after coming on and then Ba right at the death as Southampton slipped to their second defeat in London in the space of eight days.
Victory for second-placed Chelsea ensured they cut the gap on leaders Arsenal to four points.
Mourinho put Chelsea's poor performance at Basel in midweek down to tiredness and he made four changes to his starting line-up.
Samuel Eto'o was replaced by Fernando Torres up front, while Eden Hazard and Juan Mata joined Essien in the starting line-up as Willian, Frank Lampard and John Obi Mikel dropped to the bench.
Defender Dejan Lovren returned for Southampton at the expense of Jos Hooiveld after missing the defeat at Arsenal last weekend due to illness and striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was preferred to Rickie Lambert in attack.
Mourinho would have been eager for Essien to stamp his authority on the game, but the Chelsea boss must have been questioning his team selection once again straight from the kick-off as the midfielder's attempted clearance looped into the air and into the path of Rodriguez, who kept his nerve to beat Petr Cech with a composed right-foot finish after just 13 seconds.
Essien's miserable afternoon continued when he was booked for diving after 32 minutes and Oscar headed straight at Boruc soon after he had picked up an injury that resulted in Lampard replacing him five minutes before half-time.
Boruc made an outstanding reflex save to claw out a Torres header after 43 minutes as Chelsea's frustration mounted.
Mourinho replaced Essien with Ba at the break and Boruc had to be alert once again to tip over Lampard's free-kick, but Chelsea were level after 54 minutes when Ba diverted Branislav Ivanovic's header into the post and Cahill scrambled in the rebound from close range.
That proved to be the end of Boruc's afternoon as he was replaced by Gazzaniga due to injury. And the young Argentinian keeper was picking the ball out of the back of the net just four minutes after coming on, when Terry rose highest to meet Mata's cross and headed into the far corner of the net.
Chelsea stayed on the front foot and Ba flashed a shot wide with his left foot after 71 minutes after shrugging off his marker, but the Senegal striker was not to be denied after 89 minutes when he poked the ball inside the near post with his right foot after great work from Ramires on the left.
|Coach: José Mourinho|
for Oscar 42'
for M. Essien 46'
for Fernando Torres 84'
|West Ham 2 Liverpool 1 (aet): Ogbonna sinks Klopp´s men in cup thriller|
|Football League Review: Rhodes rescues a point to send Boro top|
|Stuttgart 1 Borussia Dortmund 3: Aubameyang helps Tuchel´s men into last four|
|Kyle Allen blames chaotic Texas A&M culture on Johnny Manziel era|
|Dortmund fans stage protest against ticket prices for Stuttgart game|
|Bayer Leverkusen 1 Werder Bremen 3: 10-man hosts dumped out|
|Ferdinand fears title wilderness for United|
|Carvalho lands new Sporting deal with €45m buy-out clause|
|Ben Arfa out for at least four weeks with hamstring injury|
|Neville´s Valencia woes welcomed by Crespo|
|Ozil key to Arsenal´s title hopes - Rosicky|
|Zika threat could keep Solo from Rio Olympics|
|Blanc pleased to have solved David Luiz matter|
|Atletico midfielder Partey suffers thigh strain|
|Dickov: Leicester title run built to last|
|Guardiola not a menace for our players, says Luis Enrique|
|Mexico v Senegal: Osorio believes in youngsters|
|Celta Vigo v Sevilla: Krohn-Dehli not taking Copa del Rey final for granted|
|Madrid confirm Marcelo shoulder dislocation|
|Injury rules Chiellini out of crucial Juve games|
|Oblak extends Atletico deal|
|Blanc hints PSG could move for Ben Arfa|
|Luis Enrique urges Neymar to cope with off-field distractions|
|Carrick: Manchester United not throwing in towel|
|Neville determined to turn things around at Valencia|
|Guardiola hails Lewandowski professionalism amid Real Madrid and PSG rumours|
|Guardiola wary of ´aggressive´ Bochum|
|Premier League reveals new logo|
|West Ham open Payet contract talks|
|I could leave Barcelona for Guardiola, says Busquets|
|Giggs can be Manchester United´s Guardiola - Robson|
|Zidane has everything to become a great coach - Ancelotti|
|Carragher: Liverpool got it wrong on ticket prices|
|Neymar will be at Barcelona for years, claims director|
|Eder talks up Inter´s Scudetto chances|
|Larsson: Watching Barca is like playing FIFA|
|City recruit Wilkinson hoping to debut in Melbourne derby|
|Allegri will join Chelsea, says former coach|
|Zanetti: No need to compare Maradona and Messi|
|Vardy: I never expected Leicester to top Premier League|
|Capello: Ronaldo has at least three years at the top|
|Klopp hoping for Sturridge revival|
|Bilic wants new contract to keep Payet at West Ham|
|Shelvey can be as good as Cabaye - Sissoko|
|Rooney leaps to Depay defence after Chelsea error|
|Januzaj, Varela injured in United Under-21s win|
|Valencia v Barcelona: Luis Enrique eyes record as Neville stands on the brink|
|Espanyol 0 Real Sociedad 5: Vela scores stunner in ruthless display|
|Cruyff would have preferred Guardiola at Manchester United|
|Questioning Ronaldo is an insult - Aduriz|
|Peterborough United v West Brom: Berahino set for another chance|
|Barcelona confirm medical tests for Messi|
|Ajax defender Riedewald out for season with broken ankle|
|Barcelona is the best place for Neymar - Mascherano|
|Clement axed as Derby head coach|
|Chelsea defender Zouma out for the season|
|Rodgers: I´ve turned down Swansea and four other clubs since Liverpool|
|Russia to invite Blatter and Platini to World Cup 2018|
|Robben rejoices as Ribery resumes Bayern training|
|Terry as good as ever, says Azpilicueta|
|Struggling Rotherham sack Redfearn|
|Courtois feels Champions League or FA Cup glory would save Chelsea´s season|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Genesio vows ´unlucky´ visitors will have a go|
|Liverpool cancel Q&A to discuss ticket price furore|
|Klopp: Liverpool won´t follow Payet to the toilet|
|Bochum v Bayern Munich: Alonso braced for intense month|
|Ronaldo: Two more years at Real Madrid and then we´ll see|
|No problems with Kagawa says Dortmund boss Tuchel|
|Laporte denies saying he would reject Barcelona|
|Impressive Sturridge and returning Coutinho in contention - Klopp|
|Leicester were afraid of Italian tactics - Ranieri reveals his secret|
|Coentrao sustains fractured foot|
|Barcelona director at ease over Neymar future|
|Mata touched by reaction of Chelsea fans|
|Alonso: Guardiola departure not a distraction|
|Thiago Silva: PSG can stay unbeaten all season|
|Cristiano Ronaldo will keep breaking records - Hugo Sanchez|
|Bilic: Klopp will be back because he is a leader|
|Mancini dismisses Inter title bid as ´a closed story´|
|Guardiola took Bayern for a ride - Hamann|
|Mihajlovic demands more from Balotelli|
|Campbell urges clubs to give black managers a chance|
|Marchisio expects Napoli showdown to be decisive|
|You can´t expect to score lots of goals in every game - Modric|
|FFA hit Wanderers with show cause notice|
|We did not deserve Madrid defeat - Granada coach|
|Mata frustrated with Chelsea draw|
|Valencia won´t sack Neville - Mendieta|
|Senna makes Villarreal return|
|Spalletti: Roma need to cut out lapses|
|China will break $100m transfer fee - Cahill|
|Ranieri: Don´t look down|
|Guardiola reinvented football - Alaba|
|Tottenham fear no one - Kane|
|Flores believes Tottenham are Premier League´s best|
|Henderson: Walkout no excuse for Sunderland collapse|
|Neville bullish about Valencia future|
|Ramos: Modric key for Madrid|
|La Liga Review: Luis Enrique matches Guardiola record, Modric rescues Madrid|