Chelsea Maul Foxes (Sky Sports)
Leicester City 0 Chelsea 4
Steve Luckings reports
Chelsea got their title challenge back on track at the Walkers Stadium as they beat Leicester City 4-0 and reduced Arsenal's lead at the top to four points.
Manchester United will get the chance to open up the gap again against Newcastle in Sunday's later game, but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink kept alive Stamford Bridge's dreams of title success with a superb opener and a free kick that may eventually go down as a Nikos Dabizas own goal, while Adrian Mutu scored his first goal in 14 games and Celestine Babayaro sealed the rout.
Hasselbaink had gone ten league games without a goal but broke his duck in the 11th minutes with an audacious back heel.
Mario Melchiot fed Joe Cole on the right hand side of the box and the England midfielder managed to lose his man and drill in a low cross for Hasselbaink, who had Dabizas in attendance, to finish in style.
Leicester nearly found themselves two down when Andy Impey almost inadvertently sliced Hasselbaink's cross into his own, net and then Ian Walker superbly saved Claude Makelele's drive low to his right on 16 minutes.
Chelsea's dominance was evident from the off as Leicester struggled to test the Chelsea defence as Frank Lampard and Joe Cole both tested Walker, with The Foxes' best effort falling to Marcus Bent who did well to connect to Lilian Nalis' corner but could not keep his headed effort under the bar.
Leicester suffered another blow just before half-time when Billy McKinlay fouled Hasselbaink just outside the area. The ex-Leeds man picked himself up to strike the ball straight at Dabizas, who unfortunately, could only steer the ball into his own net, but it remains to be seen if the dubious goals panel will credit the Oranje international with his tenth goal of the season.
Leicester came out from the interval with renewed vigour but for all their fighting spirit, the homeside failed to cause any real problems to the Chelsea backline.
Micky Adams decided to chance his arm and throw on the imposing figure of Les Ferdinand and youngster Paul Brooker for the ineffective Nalis and Bent with just over 20 minutes remaining which nearly paid dividends.
Blues custodian Carlo Cudicini was finally called into action on 73 minutes when Callum Davidson had his first effort charged down before being presented with a second opportunity that called for the Italian to be at his best to push away for a corner.
Mutu, a second half substitute for Cole, then broke his duck on 88 minutes when he exchanged passes with Babayaro before setting his sights and curling a superb right-foot shot past Walker to add to his debut goal against The Foxes back in August.
Nigerian left-back Babayaro then completed Leicester's misery in the dying minutes when he capitalised on Brooker's poor attempted back pass and rifled past Walker as Chelsea's class proved too much for the Midlanders, who remain three points adrift of safety in the bottom three.
Leicester City Walker, Dabizas,
Davidson, Howey, Impey, McKinlay (Hignett 82), Nalis (Brooker 68), Stewart, Bent
(Ferdinand 68), Dickov, Scowcroft
Subs Not Used: Coyne, Heath
Chelsea Cudicini, Babayaro, Desailly,
Melchiot, Terry, Cole (Gallas 78), Gronkjaer (Geremi 64), Lampard, Makelele,
Gudjohnsen (Mutu 74), Hasselbaink
Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Huth
Goals: Hasselbaink (12, 44), Mutu (87), Babayaro (90)
Ref: U. Rennie (S. Yorkshire)