After a largely forgettable first half at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, the game sprang into life on 56 minutes.
Samuel Eto’o – only starting the game thanks to an injury to Fernando Torres in the pre-match warm-up – intercepted a Jan Vertonghen back-pass to fire home under Hugo Lloris.
Then just minutes later, Eto’o won a penalty off Younes Kaboul as he went down under his challenge in the box. The Spurs man saw red and Eden Hazard tucked away the spot-kick.
The Chelsea win was sealed with just a couple of minutes left as substitute Demba Ba helped himself to two goals in two minutes.
His first came as Sandro’s slip allowed him to fire home from close range, before yet another defensive blunder from Spurs, this time from Kyle Walker’s headed back-pass, saw him control and stroke the ball past Lloris.
The result was harsh on Spurs, who had set up with a shape looking to contain Chelsea, and they were more than doing their job until a defensive error from Vertonghen opened the door for Jose Mourinho’s side.
The victory extended Mourinho’s unbeaten Premier League home record to 75 games and took Chelsea seven clear of Liverpool and Arsenal, and nine clear of third-placed Manchester City – who do have three games in hand.
Chelsea had made one change following the win at Fulham – Frank Lampard replacing Oscar – but Torres’ late blow brought in Eto’o, who was caught narrowly offside in the opening minute.
Three minutes later, the Cameroon striker was found by Andre Schurrle and played the ball on to Hazard, who rounded Lloris but fired into the side-netting with the goal empty.
It was a glorious opportunity and a surprising miss for a player enjoying a scintillating season.
But Spurs had their chances too. Nabil Bentaleb found himself through on goal in the left channel following Emmanuel Adebayor’s header down, but the Algerian midfielder snatched at his shot, with his team-mates queueing up.
Greater conviction, one way or the other, would likely have seen Spurs take the lead.
Petr Cech had to be alert when Gary Cahill’s clearance went only as far as Sandro, whose volley was well saved.
Spurs were having the better of the action, but Chelsea lurked menacingly for their chance.
A loose Bentaleb pass presented Eto’o with the ball, but the striker was forced wide by a combination of the midfielder and Kaboul and shot into the side-netting.
Oscar replaced Lampard at the interval and Chelsea’s reshuffled midfield left Vertonghen in space, but his attempted lob never troubled Cech.
Schurrle twice had tame efforts at the other end before pressurising Vertonghen into a blind panic.
The Belgian slipped and, from the ground, returned the ball hopefully and centrally before watching on helplessly as Eto’o nipped in to find the bottom corner.
Moments later, it was two when Hazard’s cross behind the Spurs defence found Eto’o and Kaboul was adjudged to have tripped the striker, who tumbled to the turf.
Referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot, then reached for his pocket to dismiss Kaboul.
Hazard sent Lloris the wrong way to give Chelsea a two-goal advantage with 30 minutes remaining.
The Belgium forward tried to tee up Eto’o in the 75th minute, but the pass was short and the striker was then replaced by Ba.
Oscar snatched at a shot when played in by fellow substitute Willian before Ba benefited from more hapless Spurs defending.
Sandro, who dropped into centre-back following Kaboul’s departure, was unable to deal with Oscar’s cross and Ba tucked in.
Another followed when Lloris’ clearance kick looped into the air and Walker inexplicably headed backwards towards the goalkeeper. Ba intercepted the ball before passing into an empty net.