Their grip is tightening.
Olivier Giroud’s winner in first half injury time didn’t just earn Chelsea vital breathing space in the race for the top four, it also provided the perfect response to their 3-0 humiliation at Sheffield United.
Boss Frank Lampard warned his timid stars that a few of them had written their Blues obituaries after what became known as the ‘silent surrender’ – experienced players waving the white flag at Bramall Lane.
The five players dropped here – Andreas Christensen, Ross Barkley, Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham – could find themselves with a job on their hands to make it back into the first-team line-up next season.
Let’s not kid ourselves, they were up against a Norwich side on course for their eighth consecutive league loss for the first time in their history.
Daniel Farke’s relegated team had conceded 67 league goals from 35 games. They were on course for a 25th defeat in a single campaign for the first time in league football.
In fact, most teams since the restart have been delighted to use the plucky Canaries as a opportunity to kick-start their faltering form.
Brighton pretty much secured their Premier League safety against them. West Ham carved out some valuable room for manoeuvre for themselves – while sending the Canaries down – last weekend. Now this.
Chelsea set up a camp in the Norwich half early on and Farke’s side dug in. Christian Pulisic and Giroud both shot into the side netting before the home side began turning the screw.
On 28 minutes Giroud missed his kick when it would have been easier to score from Cesar Azpilicueta’s low cross.
Soon afterwards Pulisic swiveled in the box to smash a left-footed shot which Tim Krul did well to push onto the bar.
Kurt Zouma headed wide from the resulting corner and you just knew it was a question of when. Norwich had heart, to be fair.
Todd Cantwell and Onel Hernandez out wide made a few incursions into enemy territory.
But the Blues were running this show. Three minutes into first-half injury time, Giroud struck. Pulisic found him in his crosshairs, sent in a cross and the Frenchman buried it with his head.
Norwich heads dropped. Again. The wind ebbed away from their sails. There’s always Burnley on Saturday.
Pulisic should have wrapped a big red bow around it when Giroud returned the favour with a sumptuous ball into the box with 16 minutes left. The American was denied by a fine Krul save. It didn’t matter.
For Chelsea the Champions League is getting closer. Leicester and Manchester United had their chances since Saturday night to ease them out of the top four and they blew it.
The final couple of hurdles – Liverpool away and Wolves at home – won’t be easy for Lampard and his men but they’ve made their luck to put themselves in this position.
Surely they won’t let it slip now.