London: John Terry scored for the second straight game and Diego Costa grabbed his 13th goal of the season as Chelsea beat West Ham 2-0 to stay top of the Premier League on Friday.
West Ham arrived at Stamford Bridge in fourth place and one of the surprises of the season, but rested key players Alex Song and Diafra Sakho in view of the hectic festive schedule and was cut down to size by Chelsea.
Terry tapped home a close-range finish in the 31st minute after a right-wing corner from Cesc Fabregas was headed goalward by Costa.
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian made a string of fine saves but could not get anywhere near a low, angled shot from Costa in the 62nd after the Spain striker was fed by Eden Hazard.
Substitute Morgan Amalfitano clipped a deft shot against the post in the 87th minute in one of the few chances created by West Ham, which paid for deploying a defensive shape in the first half that allowed Chelsea to seize the initiative.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho fielded a full-strength lineup, despite a potentially tougher fixture at Southampton coming up on Sunday. And the gulf in the sides was clear from the start as the hosts — three points clear of Manchester City at the start of the day — won a ninth straight home game, boasting 66 percent possession.
"We are playing great, everyone can see that," Terry said. "If we can keep playing like that, it's going to be tough (to stop Chelsea)."
Mourinho accused West Ham of playing "football from the 19th century" after a 0-0 draw between the teams in the corresponding fixture last season, but Terry's goal ensured there would be no frustration this time for Chelsea.
Four days after setting Chelsea on its way to a 2-0 win at Stoke, the former England captain was on hand to poke in from barely two meters out to punish West Ham's poor marking from a corner.
Adrian had already saved well from Gary Cahill and Willian, and the Spanish goalkeeper then tipped aside a curling shot from Nemanja Matic as Chelsea poured forward.
Costa looked dangerous throughout and got the goal his performance deserved when he collected a forward pass from Hazard, twisted and turned past Carl Jenkinson, and shot into the bottom corner from just inside the area.
Mourinho said he was delighted with the creativity of his team, saying: "It was the football of a team that leads (the league), and leads with the credit that it deserves."