Aston Villa proved that Chelsea's defence can be breached but a Frank Lampard double saw Chelsea come from behind to win 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Villa had the temerity to take the lead in the 44th minute through Luke Moore but Chelsea still went into the interval level, when Lampard responded with a direct free kick.
In the second period Chelsea proved they are the masters of grinding out results, as a Lampard penalty with 15 minutes remaining earned the West Londoners their seventh win of the season.
The first period lacked any kind of vitality as Aston Villa sat deep and Chelsea played as if they believed their own press.
It has been suggested that they need only to turn up to take three points but Villa had clearly not read the script and played with a real solidity across their team.
Chelsea's attack, with Hernan Crespo at its point, was largely blunted by a Villa defence marshalled by Olof Mellberg, as Mikel Essien had the first opportunity of note with a shot that so nearly squirmed through the legs of Thomas Sorensen.
The Ghanaian was busy throughout but save for a tepid Damien Duff effort and a John Terry penalty appeal waved away on the half hour mark, Villa were rarely unduly threatened.
As the half limped to a lethargic close, Lampard tested Sorensen with two archetypal shots from range but the Dane was equal to them.
Whilst Villa were comfortable, their goal was, just before half time, still greeted with stunned silence inside Stamford Bridge and across the rest of The Premiership.
Sorensen's long punt found the head of Juan Pablo Angel and from the Colombian's flick, Moore took the ball in his stride. John Terry managed to get in a block but the Villa striker was quickest to react and his angled drive beat Petr Cech at his far post.
If the sign of champions is how they respond to adversity then Jose Mourinho's men can be saluted as they were level with a minute.
A free-kick on the edge of Villa's box looked ideal territory for Lampard and the England midfield duly obliged, with a daisy cutter aided and abetted by Angel's decision to leave a glaring gap in his side's wall.
With Mourinho accustomed only to maximum spoils Shaun-Wright Phillips and Drogba were duly summoned from the bench.
It was William Gallas that had Chelsea's first opportunity when he headed over when left unmarked before Drogba showed an acute lack of spatial awareness as his own header was put over.
Villa had pockets of possession but such is Chelsea's defensive strength there was only ever likely to be one winner. Damien Duff, by this point being employed as a left back, had a half volley palmed over before Lampard resumed normal practice.
After Mellberg lost Drogba in the box, the Swede had no option but to bring down the powerful African and Lampard was left to tuck home his penalty with some aplomb on 75 minutes.
Thereafter, Villa's exertions could not be faulted but against Chelsea, one chance is one more than you are usually granted and there would be no further upsets.
|Chelsea||Team Name||Aston Villa|
|7||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||2|
|12||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||1|
|9||Total Fouls Conceded||18|