(CNN) -- Chelsea regained top spot from champions Manchester United in the English Premier league title race with a thumping 7-0 win over Stoke at Stamford Bridge with Salomon Kalou grabbing his first hat-trick for the west London giants.
United had turned up the heat on Chelsea with a 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, but the Blues responded with an emphatic victory which was sealed by halftime as they led 3-0.
A flurry of late second half goals then greatly improved Chelsea's goal difference as they go a point clear of United with two games each to play.
It was the third time this season that Carlo Ancelotti's men had scored seven in the Premier League and he was delighted.
"We played very well and showed good physical condition," he told Sky Sports.
"There was a little bit of pressure on us before the game but from the beginning the team was in form. We gave a fantastic performance."
Kalou opened their account after superb work by Didier Drogba and he added a second in the 31st minute, with Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen hurt in trying to prevent the goal, stretchered off with a suspected fractured elbow.
Frank Lampard made it three from the penalty spot in the 43rd minute after Robert Huth clumsily pulled down Kalou.
The second half was a tepid affair until Kalou claimed a fourth to open the floodgates again.
Lampard cropped up in typical fashion to score the fifth, substitute Daniel Sturridge displayed composure to grab the sixth, with Florent Malouda, who had been guilty of an earlier glaring miss, completing the rout.
Earlier, Liverpool retained their slim hopes of fourth spot and the final Champions League spot with a 4-0 away win at Burnley, who are relegated after a single season in the top-flight.
Two from captain Steven Gerrard, a first Liverpool goal for Maxi Rodriguez and a late strike from Ryan Babel completed a miserable afternoon for the home side, who cannot now catch 17th-placed West Ham.
Liverpool stay in seventh place with two games remaining, their next a crucial encounter next weekend with Chelsea at Anfield which could go a long way to deciding the title race, not to mention settling the final European places.
Aston Villa moved up to fifth, level on points with Tottenham Hotspur but having played a game more, with a 1-0 derby win over Birmingham City.
England international James Milner scored an 83rd-minute penalty after Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor went down in the box under a challenge from Roger Johnson.
City manager Alex McLeish was infuriated by the decision of referee Martin Atkinson, saying it was a "bad mistake."
Everton's strong late season form continued with a 2-1 home win over Fulham at Goodison Park.
Erik Nevland gave Fulham a 36th-minute lead before substitute Victor Anichebe pulled Everton level in the second half.
It looked set to end in stalemate until Everton won a last-gasp penalty and Mike Arteta converted with the last kick of the match.
It leaves them in eighth place in the standings in the battle for Europa League places but five points adrift of Merseyside rivals Liverpool with just two games to play.