Chelsea moved to within one point of the Premiership title with a masterful victory over 10-man Everton.
Lampard struck his 20th goal of the season to set Chelsea on their way
Frank Lampard coolly slotted in the first on 28 minutes after excellent work from Didier Drogba.
Lee Carsley's dismissal shortly after the break for a late tackle on Drogba all but ended Everton's comeback hopes.
Drogba got the goal his performance deserved with a bullet header from Lampard's corner and Michael Essien wrapped up the win with a rising shot.
The result means Chelsea will lift the title for the second year running if they avoid defeat against United at Stamford Bridge on 29 April.
Jose Mourinho's side could have been crowned champions on Monday but by the time they took to the field against Everton, United had put paid to that idea by beating Tottenham.
The sense of anti-climax inside Stamford Bridge seemed to affect the players in a lacklustre opening.
The hosts were limited to two wayward Essien efforts from range in the first 20 minutes as Everton, while offering little in attack, comfortably kept the champions at bay.
However, the moment Chelsea clicked into top gear, Everton found themselves behind.
Drogba chased back and robbed the ball from Tim Cahill before feeding Lampard, who netted his 20th goal of the season.
Everton almost hit back within five minutes when James Beattie took advantage of indecision by William Gallas and Petr Cech to steal in and put his shot just over the crossbar.
Gallas' accidental collision with Cech left the goalkeeper writhing in agony with a leg injury.
He continued, and even made a fingertip save from a twice-deflected Cahill shot, but did not emerge for the second half as Carlo Cudicini took his place in goal.
Mourinho opted against other changes at half-time, although Chelsea did kick off the second half without Robben, who was still in the tunnel when referee Rob Styles blew his whistle.
But within two minutes, it was Everton who were down to 10 men, Carsley deservedly dismissed for an ugly two-footed lunge on Drogba.
Terry should have made it 2-0, the defender blazing over from six yards, but Drogba saved his captain's blushes when he powered in a header from Lampard's corner.
Chelsea's third came from a bizarre beginning.
Everton crowded the goalline to keep out a Lampard free-kick from 12 yards after Richard Wright was adjudged to have picked up a backpass.
But the ball eventually broke to Essien, who arrowed a well-struck shot into the top corner for only his second goal for the club.
With the full-time whistle approaching, Mourinho had his feet up on the bench, safe in the knowledge that United can only now beat them on goal difference.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho:
"You cannot choose where you win the title. It happens where it happens, home or away, it doesn't matter. But of course, I want it to be the next game.
"We're almost there. In football, normally there are no miracles - and it would be a miracle."
Everton boss David Moyes:
"It's not his fault we lost, but the referee made it much easier for Chelsea.
"I've seen the red card incident again and Lee's challenge was reckless and a little bit late - but not a red card.
"Our boys did great today and we were hoping to force the issue in the second half but it was taken away from us."
Chelsea: Cech (Cudicini 45), Geremi, Gallas, Terry, Del Horno, Essien, Makelele, Lampard, Robben (Joe Cole 62), Crespo (Wright-Phillips 75), Drogba.
Subs Not Used: Duff, Huth.
Goals: Lampard 28, Drogba 62, Essien 74.
Everton: Wright, Neville, Weir, Yobo, Naysmith, Cahill, Carsley, Osman, Kilbane (Ferguson 70), McFadden, Beattie (Davies 69).
Subs Not Used: Turner, Ferrari, Van der Meyde.
Sent Off: Carsley (47).
Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).