Tottenham Hotspur failed to make any ground on the Premier League’s top four as they suffered a second-half collapse to lose 4-0 at Chelsea.
The heated and close-fought London derby was decided in five action-packed second half minutes in which the Blues scored two goals either side of a red card for the visitor’s Younes Kaboul.
A Jan Vertonghen defensive howler gifted Samuel Eto’o the opener on 55 minutes before last-man Kaboul was sent off for bringing down the forward inside the box, allowing Hazard to add a second and seal victory from the spot.
Substitute Demba Ba then took advantage of a Spurs capitulation at the back, adding two late goals in two humiliating minutes for the Champions League hopefuls.
Those ambitions look increasingly distant with crucial fixtures against Arsenal and Liverpool still to come in a season-defining month for Tim Sherwood’s side.
The visitors were certainly the underdogs coming into the match but matched league leaders Chelsea before the wheels of their performance, and perhaps their season, well and truly came off.
Sandro slipped as he attempted to clear Hazard’s low cross, leaving Ba to slot home from close range on 87 minutes and the forward made it four for Chelsea two minutes later when he latched on to Walker’s dreadful long range header back to the wandering Lloris and passed into the empty net.
It was a drubbing that looked unlikely just 30 minutes earlier after Spurs recovered from a shaky start as Jose Mourinho’s side came out firing.
The visitors were carved open on just four minutes when Eto’o played in Hazard, but Belgian rounded Lloris and skewed his shot narrowly wide off balance with the goal at his mercy.
Nabil Bentaleb dragged a shot wide after latching on to Adebayor’s header as Spurs grew into the game but the visitors looked vulnerable at the back, with Samuel Eto’o, a late replacement for Fernando Torres who was injured in the warm up, and the lively Andre Schurrle both looking to get in behind Tottenham’s high back line.
Sandro forced a sprawling save from Cech with a superb first time volley after Chelsea half cleared Vertonghen’s cross and the Blues survived a bit of ping pong in the box from the resulting corner.
Eto’o should have hit the target when he latched on to Bentaleb’s sloppy knock back but Spurs were let off when the forward delayed the shot and eventually fired wide.
Tottenham were more than matching Chelsea’s creativity but lacked the cutting edge to turn a couple of swift counter attacks into real goal scoring opportunities.
Kyle Walker, playing on the right side of midfield, was working hard to get to the by-line and Jan Vertonghen was pushing forward on the left, with Gylfi Sigurdsson getting a lot of the ball in front of Sandro and Bentaleb in the midfield.
The innovative line-up was working well and Kaboul went close with a header early in the second half but the ball landed safely in the arms of Cech.
But Spurs went behind thanks to a moment Jan Vertonghen will want to forget.
The Belgian picked up the ball in space at left back but slipped over as he tried to turn inside Shurlle and, as he swung a leg at the ball to salvage a pass back to his defence, he inadvertently played a perfectly weighted through ball to Eto’o who took a touch before slotting through the legs of Lloris under pressure from the scrambling Dawson.
Before Spurs had a chance to gather themselves, they were cut open again and Younes Kaboul conceded a penalty when he bundled over Eto’o before the forward could latch onto Hazard’s low cross from the left.
As the last man, referee Michael Oliver had no choice but to produce a red card for the centre back, who had just come back from a lengthy spell out injured.
Hazard made no mistake with the penalty, coolly slotting the ball down the middle in front of a fired up Stamford Bridge crowd.
Chelsea had their tails up and looked like adding to their two goals with every attack – Oscar missing the best of a host of attempts when he blazed over in front of goal.
But it was substitute Ba who took advantage of Spurs’ tiring legs, leaving the visitors four points behind fourth placed Manchester City, who have three games in hand, and six points behind Arsenal and Liverpool who both have one game in hand.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Lampard (Oscar, 45), Matic, Ramires, Hazard, Schurrle (Willian, 65), Eto’o (Ba, 75). Subs not used: Mikel, Schwarzer, Kalas.
Spurs: Lloris, Naughton, Dawson (Fryers, 71), Kaboul, Vertonghen, Sandro, Bentaleb, Walker, Sigurdsson (Paulinho, 60), Lennon, Adebayor. Subs not used: Soldado, Townsend, Chadli, Friedel, Kane.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
Bookings: Bentaleb, 9, Lampard, 39, Naughton, 52, Sandro, 54, Azpilicueta, 85.
Red card: Kaboul, 58.