Demba Ba came to his side's rescue for the second time in a week as Chelsea beat 10-man Swansea City 1-0 on Sunday.
Having scored the goal that sent Jose Mourinho's side into the UEFA Champions League semi-finals against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, the Senegal international - linked with an exit from the club at the end of the season by one Sunday newspaper - pulled the Londoners to within two points of leaders Liverpool with a 68th-minute strike.
With Liverpool having claimed a thrilling 3-2 victory over Manchester City at Anfield earlier in the day, Mourinho's men needed a win to keep in touch at the top of the Premier League.
Their cause was helped when Swansea's Chico Flores was sent off in the 16th minute after receiving two bookings in quick succession, but chances were few and far between thereafter.
However, Chelsea finally found the net through Ba midway through the second half, as he gave the visitors their first win at the Liberty Stadium and left Swansea just three points clear of the relegation zone.
Ba was rewarded for his midweek heroics as a substitute with a place in Mourinho’s starting XI, while Michu dropped out of the Swansea squad with soreness in the ankle that kept him sidelined for three months earlier in the season.
His replacement, Pablo Hernandez, was first to produce a shot at goal – forcing Petr Cech into a diving save with a low drive from 20 yards in the fourth minute.
Mohamed Salah should have put Chelsea in front two minutes later, but the Egyptian side-footed wide of the left-hand post after good work by Branislav Ivanovic down the right.
Swansea looked bright in attack and Wilfried Bony had Cech at full stretch with a superb header 14 minutes in.
The home side were dealt a huge blow when centre-back Chico received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes – the Spaniard dismissed for the second time in just over a month after his sending off against Crystal Palace.
Chelsea began to enjoy the better of the possession having gained a numerical advantage, but with the hosts sacrificing attacker Hernandez to bring on defender Jordi Amat, the Swansea back four continued to hold firm.
Nathan Dyer stung the palms of Cech shortly before the break, but head coach Garry Monk will have simply been relieved to reach half-time all square.
Chances were at a premium in the early stages of the second half, but Ba glanced a header across the face of goal in the 55th minute from a dangerous Ivanovic cross, before Samuel Eto'o skewed an effort wide from close range.
Wayne Routledge's shot then appeared to deflect behind off the arm of John Terry, though the incident was met with few calls for a penalty, before Ba dealt Swansea a crucial blow.
Nemanja Matic drove ball into the path of Ba, who rounded Ashley Williams and sent the ball beyond goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who may feel he could have done better with a shot that squirmed under his body.
Chelsea continued to push in the closing stages and a moment of madness from Vorm almost gifted them a second late on when he ran out of his area to challenge Eto'o - but the striker's shot was blocked.
|4||Chico Flores||14' 16'|
|Coach: G. Monk|
for Pablo Hernández 19'
for N. Dyer 73'
for L. Britton 86'
|United States 0 Colombia 1: Bacca secures third place at Copa America|
|Corluka: Portugal among worst teams at Euro 2016|
|Sanches happy to be involved as Portugal reach quarters|
|Euro 2016 Diary: Shaqiri rivals Pique for Shakira´s affection, Bale reveals secret weapon|
|Morata: I have nothing to prove to Zidane|
|Di Maria fit for Copa final|
|´You do not always win by playing prettily´ - Santos unconcerned by dour Portugal|
|The best team lost, says disconsolate Cacic|
|Fabianski: Poland must create more for Lewandowski|
|McAuley pride after crushing Wales loss|
|Ronaldo takes one for the team as Portugal emerge from drudgery in Lens|
|Croatia 0 Portugal 1 (aet): Quaresma earns quarter-final berth|
|Hodgson will not beg for FA approval after Euro 2016|
|Emotional Bale glad to share Paris joy with family|
|O´Neill left frustrated by officials following Euro 2016 exit|
|Coleman hails Bale brilliance in Wales win|
|Low relying on Kroos to lead Germany the way|
|Italy v Spain: Thiago denies shirt jinx ahead of Azzurri clash|
|O´Neill: McAuley has been magnificent|
|Szczesny thanks Swiss fans for drink|
|Hector: Slovakia have plenty of quality in attack|
|Morata: Italy defenders have told me to wear a helmet|
|Coleman content with scrappy Wales progression|
|Wales remain and Northern Ireland leave after Paris battle|
|We are free of pressure - Gera|
|´Do I look like I have doubts?´ - Defiant Nawalka defends Lewandowski|
|Wales 1 Northern Ireland 0: McAuley´s woe is Welsh joy|
|No chance Barcelona star Neymar will join Madrid, says his father|
|Witsel happier to face Hungary than Spain|
|Wilmots accepts pressure ahead of Hungary test|
|Slovakia can upset Germany again - Pekarik|
|Shaqiri unhappy with Poland celebrations after Euro 2016 exit|
|Grosicki struggled to watch Poland shootout win|
|Poland need Lewandowski to rediscover ruthless streak|
|Switzerland 1 Poland 1 (aet, 4-5 pens): Xhaka shocker costs Swiss after Shaqiri magic|
|Payet can handle hero status - Deschamps|
|Redmond joins Southampton on five-year deal|
|Sturridge: Sterling unfairly targeted over England performances|
|Wilmots: I want more from smiling De Bruyne|
|Croatia star Perisic unveils latest wacky hairstyle|
|Brazil´s Lucas Lima wants European move|
|Lloris tempers talk of Ireland revenge mission|
|Deschamps refuses to make France ´98 comparisons|
|O´Neill confident Ireland can shock France|
|Chiellini will give Morata a few kicks - Barzagli|
|England v Iceland: Rooney targets early goal|
|Italy´s Candreva ruled out of Spain match|
|Butland ready for pre-season after scan gives goalkeeper all-clear|
|Origi not underestimating Hungary|
|Plans drafted for Old Firm games to be played abroad|
|Boost for Germany as Boateng trains ahead of last 16|
|I never saw Ronaldo look in the mirror! - Ancelotti|
|Fabregas fears Brexit will damage Premier League|
|Roy not keen on Ireland allocation|
|Dyke backs Hodgson for new contract|
|Spain not as aggressive as 2012, claims Ancelotti|
|Ronaldo and Messi need each other – Ancelotti|
|Juve on the same level as Madrid and Barcelona - Dybala|
|Fabregas: Conte´s Italy will be tough|
|Argentina v Chile: New year, same Copa finalists|
|Ronaldo ´cannot be the whole of Portugal´ - Shilton|
|Messi: Neymar is an amazing person|
|Pekerman keen to finish Copa on high note|
|Rakitic: Ronaldo won´t sleep easily|
|Messi: Now is not a time to give nothing|
|Courtois expects to leave Chelsea in future|
|Less rest no problem for Portugal - Joao Mario|
|Euro 2016 Diary: Benteke rap and Nelly the elephant|
|Santos: Group-stage performances behind Portugal|
|Cacic: We cannot let Ronaldo show his strength|
|O´Neill hopes to blow Bale off course|
|Coleman impressed with Ramsey´s discipline|
|O´Neill fires derby passions ahead of Wales showdown|
|Coleman: Take emotion out of Northern Ireland clash|
|LFP sanctions six Nice players for flouting gambling rules|
|Hungary v Belgium: Lukaku targets last-four spot|
|Dyke hopes Brexit can help England youngsters|
|No favourites against Italy, says Koke|
|Krychowiak not thinking about PSG as Poland stand by Lewandowski|
|World Cup qualifying: Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria drawn in same group|
|Brexit may damage Premier League´s pursuit of young European players|
|Germany v Slovakia: Weiss confident of repeat Augsburg success|
|France v Republic of Ireland: Long not on Henry revenge mission|
|Chelsea midfielder Baker extends Vitesse loan|
|Chiellini concerned over Brexit ´domino effect´|
|Staying in Euro 2016 gets Coleman´s vote|
|Nainggolan has a room with a balcony so he can smoke - Wilmots|
|Petkovic attempts Poland mind games|
|Wilmots would rather play Spain than Hungary|
|Morata deserves more than being a Madrid bargaining chip - Chiellini|
|AZ want record fee for Janssen|
|What does Brexit mean for European football?|
|I´m not tired, I feel sharp - Kane hits back at critics|
|Delighted Kiyotake hopes to prove his value|
|Premier League confident Brexit will not diminish its success|
|Neuer wary of Hamsik´s long-range shots|
|Genesio: Lyon do not have to sell|
|Morata thanks Juventus fans after Real Madrid return|
|Lapadula undergoes AC Milan medical|
|Santos: Not everything revolves around Ronaldo|
|Icelandic chihuahua prepares to chase the England rhino|
|Jakupovic signs new Hull City contract|
|Lagerback: Brexit will not affect England team|
|ES Setif disqualified from CAF Champions League|
|Gerland sees Kimmich as Lahm´s long-term successor|
|Navas ´recovering nicely´ from heel injury|
|Messi excited by future Barcelona challenges|
|Conte´s Italy like Atletico and Barcelona, says Xavi|
|Zidane the man to take Madrid forward, says Baptista|
|United States v Colombia: Hosts out to end Copa America on a high|
|Aubameyang: It´s my dream to play in Spain|
|Wenger not interested in France job|
|Ronaldo: Euro 2016 surprises end now for Portugal|
|Coke hopeful Sampaoli can exceed Emery at Sevilla|
|Maradona: Portugal too dependent on Ronaldo|
|´What a disaster´ - Messi takes aim at AFA|
|Guidetti: Nolito will thrive at City|
|Wanyama thanks Southampton fans following Spurs switch|
|Kranjcar: Rangers can push Celtic all the way|
|Euro 2016 Diary: Icelandic heaven and Rooney not feeling the love|
|Wenger respects Vardy, talks up Kante|
|Rooney wants to end ´disappointing´ tournament record for England|
|Di Maria in serious doubt for Copa America final|