Chelsea opened up a four-point cushion over Manchester United and Leicester in the race for a place in the Champions League next season despite making heavy weather of beating already relegated Norwich 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
Olivier Giroud’s header in first-half stoppage time secured the Blues a much-needed three points with a trip to champions Liverpool and sixth-placed Wolves visiting Stamford Bridge on the last day of the season to come in Chelsea’s final two league games of the season.
Leicester can narrow the gap when they host Sheffield United on Wednesday, while United travel to Crystal Palace on Thursday.
Frank Lampard was furious with his side’s lack of fight in surrendering to a 3-0 defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday that plunged Chelsea’s chances of a top-four finish into doubt.
Lampard made five changes from the battering at Bramall Lane with Giroud among those restored to the starting line-up.
Chelsea has already significantly bolstered their frontline for next season with the signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
But Giroud has more than justified the decision to also extend his contract by a year during football’s shutdown as Chelsea’s most potent striker since the restart.