Frank Lampard proved the master of being in the right place at the right time once again as Chelsea survived a second-half scare to beat Sunderland 1-0 in the Barclays Premier League.
Lampard scored for the third successive match, although he knew little about it as Fernando Torres' volley smashed against the crossbar and back off his team-mate.
Torres also saw two strong penalty claims turned down in what was one of his best displays for Chelsea, Nicklas Bendtner had one rejected at the other end and James McClean missed an open goal that might have snatched a point for the visitors.
Lampard and Torres inadvertently combined to give Chelsea a 13th-minute lead, the Spaniard's scissor kick smashing against the crossbar and careering back off Lampard into the net.
Terrible defending from a corner forced Seb Larsson to clear Lampard's hooked volley off the line, but the home fans were almost silenced 10 minutes before half-time when Bendtner dragged Stephane Sessegnon's pass inches wide with Petr Cech beaten.
Matthew Kilgallon was stretchered off in first-half stoppage time after a seemingly innocuous challenge, with Michael Turner coming on.
After the break, Torres shouted for a penalty after going down under John O'Shea's challenge and Bendtner thought the same at the other end a few seconds later after being bundled over by Ashley Cole, but referee Phil Dowd disagreed.
McClean missed an open goal in the 63rd minute, stabbing wide after a brilliant run and cross from Larsson.
Torres was denied another penalty claim when he was clearly tripped by Phil Bardsley, Dowd rubbing salt into the wound by booking the striker, before fit-again Michael Essien replaced Lampard and skidded a 30-yard drive wide.
Sunderland poured forward and missed two glorious late chances, Craig Gardner sidefooting wide and Bendtner lifting the ball over.