Chelsea has passed their toughest remaining test in the Premier League title race by overcoming Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Pedro got the ball rolling for the visitors with a sweet strike from range, before Gary Cahill and substitute Willian added to the scoring to move Chelsea seven points clear of Tottenham Hotspur ahead of second-placed Spurs’ meeting with Arsenal.
Hazard timed his run perfectly to get in behind the Toffees’ backline but could only pick out the side-netting from an angle when rounding Stekelenburg, while Costa smashed over the bar from close range after Phil Jagielka failed to truly deal with a ball over the top.
An inventive Chelsea corner ended with Victor Moses dragging a shot wide early in the second half, just moments before Costa caught Stekelenburg late after chasing down a weak backpass – a yellow the right call by referee Jonathan Moss.
Everton required one win from their final two fixtures heading into this game to make it a club-record points tally for the season, and it was they who looked the brighter for large parts of the second period as Lukaku cut inside and sent a shot between the sticks.
They were dealt a big blow in their hopes of reaching that target 66 minutes into the match, though, as Pedro picked out the back of the net with a fine strike from range, working a yard of space of placing the ball out of Stekelenburg’s reach.
Chelsea had failed to keep out the opposition in each of their last 11 games, ensuring that hope remained for the Toffees, but they struggled to create too many openings in the remainder.
The Blues made certain of the win 11 minutes from time through another goal from Cahill, who was stood in the right place to pounce and bundle over the line when Stekelenburg poorly parried Hazard’s free kick.