Match ends, Everton 0, Chelsea 3.
Everton 0-3 Chelsea
Premier League leaders Chelsea took a big step towards clinching the title as three second-half goals saw them overcome Everton at Goodison Park.
Pedro's 25-yard stunner, Gary Cahill's close-range finish and Willian's tap-in kept Antonio Conte's side four points clear of second-placed Tottenham, who beat Arsenal 2-0 later on Sunday.
It means the Blues could drop three points in their remaining four games and still claim a second title in three years, even if Spurs win all of their remaining fixtures.
Chelsea had to be patient, with Pedro's left-footed, long-range strike not coming until the 66th minute.
Cahill sealed the win when Maarten Stekelenburg parried Eden Hazard's free-kick onto the onrushing defender, before Willian slotted home from Cesc Fabregas' cutback.
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Everton had started brightly in a game that opened at breakneck speed, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin going closest to scoring when he struck the post from a tight angle.
Manchester City's draw at Middlesbrough means Ronald Koeman's side, in seventh, are eight points adrift of the top four with three games left.
The day the title was won?
|Chelsea's 2016-17 run-in|
|Mon, 8 May||Middlesbrough (H)|
|Fri, 12 May||West Brom (A)|
|Mon, 15 May||Watford (H)|
|Sun, 21 May||Sunderland (H)|
|Sat, 27 May||Arsenal (FA Cup final)|
This may have been Tottenham's strongest hope of Chelsea surrendering points in their run-in, with Everton placed higher than any of their four remaining opponents, and three home games on the horizon for the Blues.
It could prove to be the killer blow to Spurs' spirited challenge, and seems to answer the question of whether Chelsea can handle the growing pressure applied by their London rivals' nine-game winning run in the league.
The maths are simple for Chelsea - win three more games and they will be Premier League champions for the sixth time.
And the celebrations from Conte and his players at the final whistle suggested the Blues feel they can get over the line in games against Middlesbrough, West Brom, Watford and Sunderland.
Add an FA Cup final win against Arsenal on 27 May and Conte would have had a remarkable first season in English football.
An opportunity missed for Everton
Chelsea's hosts were lacking in creativity, but provided a stubborn and organised test that required the Blues to call on persistence and perseverance - attributes any title-winning side must have.
Results on Saturday mean Everton will not finish lower than seventh this season, securing a best finish in three years and a spot in next season's Europa League.
But Koeman's men faced the league leaders with an outside chance of still creeping into the top four and sneaking a Champions League spot.
It will therefore be even more frustrating that they failed to make inroads against Chelsea and capitalise on Manchester City dropping two points.
Calvert-Lewin's strike against the woodwork aside, there was little guile from the Toffees.
And any chance they had of getting back into the game was squandered by clumsy defending for Chelsea's second goal, with Idrissa Gueye weak in the wall and Stekelenburg failing to get a stronger hand to the cross.
Costa edges battle of the strikers
The game featured two of the Premier League's most prized poachers, with Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Chelsea's Diego Costa having scored 43 times between them this season.
Asked this week which of the two he would prefer in his side, Chelsea boss Conte unsurprisingly backed his man, claiming 28-year-old Costa was the best striker in the world.
The Spain international may be five goals shy of Lukaku's 24 in the league, but the weight of the Blues forward's goals have been far more hefty - Chelsea would be 15 points worse off this season without his tally of 19.
So there was understandable concern from the bench when Costa stayed down holding his leg in the first half after a strong, but fair, tackle from Tom Davies.
He was fine to continue and, while he was not presented with a host of chances, the former Atletico Madrid man was a consistent influence, being shown a yellow card for a tackle on Stekelenburg after tireless closing down and being involved in the build-up to the final goal.
Lukaku, who continues to be linked with a return to Chelsea - whom he left in 2014 for a £28m fee, was an energetic nuisance for the visiting defence but, aside from fizzing wide from 20 yards, looked unlikely to score for the first time in six appearances against his former club.
Man of the match - Cesar Azpilicueta
'It's important to celebrate' - what the managers said
Everton boss Ronald Koeman on Sky Sports: "We did well, until 1-0 maybe. After that we had more problems but that was all about their quality, before that we played well and made it tough for them.
"Maybe we didn't create a lot of chances, but I was happy. Idrissa Gueye played a fantastic game, Hazard was not the player he can be because of the man-marking.
"It is really tough to beat Chelsea. They showed their belief and their quality. They will be champions. We need to find the motivation to finish the season strongly."
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte speaking to Match of the Day: "I must be relaxed when we win but I think it is very important to celebrate this win with the players and fans.
"I think we must continue this way - to play game by game and take three points in every game. We know every win in this part of the season is very important.
"The road is long so we need to rest and prepare in the right way."
Both sides come up against relegation-threatened clubs next, with Everton at Swansea on Saturday, 6 May and Chelsea hosting Middlesbrough on Monday, 8 May.
Chelsea reflecting title-winning season - the match stats
- Chelsea have taken 81 points from 34 Premier League games this season; their most at this stage of a campaign since 2005-06 (85) when they won the title
- Koeman's two heaviest league defeats in charge of Everton have both come against Chelsea this term (5-0 and 3-0)
- The Toffees failed to score in a Premier League game at Goodison Park for the first time in 2017, having averaged 3.7 goals per game prior to this defeat
- Chelsea kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League since January (v Hull), ending an 11-game run without one
- Cahill has scored more Premier League goals against Everton than against any other opponent (four)
- 17GueyeBooked at 78mins
- 19E ValenciaBooked at 58minsSubstituted forKonéat 72'minutes
- 29Calvert-LewinBooked at 38minsSubstituted forMirallasat 72'minutes
- 28AzpilicuetaBooked at 40mins
- 30Luiz Moreira MarinhoSubstituted forAkéat 82'minutes
- 24CahillBooked at 35mins
- 11Rodríguez LedesmaSubstituted forFàbregasat 82'minutes
- 10E HazardBooked at 75minsSubstituted forWillianat 85'minutes
- 19Diego CostaBooked at 56mins
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Everton 0, Chelsea 3.
Gary Cahill (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ross Barkley (Everton).
Goal! Everton 0, Chelsea 3. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.
Substitution, Chelsea. Willian replaces Eden Hazard.
Foul by Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea).
Leighton Baines (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Chelsea. Cesc Fàbregas replaces Pedro.
Substitution, Chelsea. Nathan Aké replaces David Luiz because of an injury.
Attempt missed. Kevin Mirallas (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Foul by Pedro (Chelsea).
Ross Barkley (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! Everton 0, Chelsea 2. Gary Cahill (Chelsea) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal following a set piece situation.
Idrissa Gueye (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Everton).
Attempt missed. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Eden Hazard (Chelsea).
Ross Barkley (Everton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match David Luiz (Chelsea) because of an injury.
Substitution, Everton. Arouna Koné replaces Enner Valencia.
Substitution, Everton. Kevin Mirallas replaces Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Everton).
Foul by David Luiz (Chelsea).
Romelu Lukaku (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Everton 0, Chelsea 1. Pedro (Chelsea) left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.
Victor Moses (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton).
Attempt saved. Romelu Lukaku (Everton) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ross Barkley.
Attempt saved. Enner Valencia (Everton) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Leighton Baines.
Enner Valencia (Everton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Victor Moses (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Enner Valencia (Everton).
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.
Attempt blocked. Enner Valencia (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Davies with a headed pass.
Diego Costa (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.