Chelseamaintained their five-point gap at the summit of the Premier League, with a slender1-0 victory over West Ham.

EdenHazard, 24, who pulled all the strings on the night, scored the only goal inthe 22nd minute, as he continued his counter-attack into the area tobe found with a right-wing cross from Ramires, 27. He scored a rare headedgoal, his tenth league goal this season.

With onlyone defeat in eleven games, Chelsea were in red-hot form and were quickly onthe front foot.

Diego Costa, 26, couldhave doubled Chelsea's lead, when he was set through by Fabregas, but he tookhis time to shoot and Carl Jenkinson, 23, made a terrific last-gasp tackle todeny him.

West Hamtroubled their opponents and pressed forward in what was to be a nervysecond-half. But they also squandered a hosts of chances, the main culpritbeing Diafra Sakho, who had enough chancesto score two hat-tricks on the night.

No doubt that the East Londoners willsurely be anxious to see the return of their target man Andy Carroll - whowould have thrived on the quality of deliveries into the box.

Ramires nearlyscored after the break for the visitors, when his shot hit the post, afterbeing sent through on a counter-attack with Eden Hazard. Hazard then crossedfrom the left, before wrong-footing the Hammers defence, and found Ramires witha back-post shot, but the Brazilian's header was saved by the feet of Adrian.

The Bluescelebrated wildly at the final whistle, as they managed to claw a vital victoryand three points, maintaining their five-point cushion on their nearest rivalsManchester City, who have played a game more. Mourinho can now focus on next week's Champions League last-16 secondleg home match with Paris St Germain, knowing that his side are in an excellentposition for a league title.

Bycontrast, West Ham are suffering a slump in form, and have only won once intheir last 11 league games; they have dropped in the Premier League from fourth atChristmas time to tenth, and their European hopes are quickly evaporating. 

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