Chelsea extended their lead to seven points at the top of the Barclays Premier League after defeating Aston Villa 1 - 2 at Villa Park. Serbian international Branislav Ivanovic, 30, restored Chelsea's advantage in the 66th minutes, as José Mourinho secured his first win at Villa Park at the sixth attempt as manager. The Blues have now gone four games unbeaten, while their nearest title rivals Manchester City were held to a draw at home, by Hull.

The visitors dominated the early possession, which culminated with Eden Hazard's opening goal in the eight minute.

Aston Villa responded well after falling behind, but this was scant consolation for manager Paul Lambert's side, whose winning run now stands at nine league games. This was Lambert's 100th game in charge of Villa, and their main game plan was top test Chelsea with many early crosses into the box. The plan finally worked at the start of the second half when the Villans eventually found a way to breach the Chelsea defence. Blues Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois, 22, gave the Villains hope when he flapped at couple deliveries as they created further chances to extend their lead. They levelled through Dane Jores Okore's header at the start of the second-half.

The goal sparked wild celebrations for Villa, who had endured a barren run of not scoring a league goal since December 20th.

Not for the first time this season, the Blues found themselves in a real battle. However, every time they have been asked a question this season they have responded, and this match was not any different, as they began to hold firm at the back and then create their own pressure.

The Villains cracked in the 66th minute, when they failed to deal with full-back Cesar Azpilicueta's run and cross into the area.

The ball broke kindly for Chelsea's right-back Ivanovic, who fizzed an unstoppable left-footed strike into the top corner of the goal for a priceless away victory.

The Blues have shown some excellent game management skills but, although they were not at their best they did enough to move seven points clear.