Chelsea has taken their stand on a Premier League top-four place on Saturday by beating London rivals Tottenham 2-1 but Sheffield United missed the chance to boost their case for Champions League football next season.
Liverpool’s shaking 22-point lead over second-placed Manchester City means the title race is effectively over but the sides below them are scrambling to qualify for Europe’s top club competition.
Frank Lampard’s fourth-placed Chelsea went into their match against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs at Stamford Bridge without a win in their past four Premier League matches and just one point clear of Spurs.
Fringe players Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso were remembered by Lampard and both rewarded their manager’s confidence by scoring in the home win.
The result means Lampard has completed a league double against his former boss this season after their 2-0 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December.
But the match was overshadowed by a VAR controversy, with officials ruling that Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso did not deserve to be sent off for a “leg breaker” stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta.
World Cup winner Giroud put Chelsea ahead in the 15th minute when he reacted quickest to finish beyond Hugo Lloris after Ross Barkley had struck a post.
Chelsea doubled their advantage three minutes into the second half, Alonso drilling in a first-time shot after being set up by Barkley.
Alonso’s free-kick hit the bar before Antonio Rudiger deflected Erik Lamela’s shot into his own net in the 89th minute to give Spurs late hope.
Lampard criticised VAR after Lo Celso was allowed to stay on the pitch.