Arsenal scored three goals in nine minutes either side of half-time to move back into second spot in the Premier League and heap more pressure on the champions who have now taken just six points from their last eight league games, their worst run of form since 1998.
With fit-again Cesc Fabregas pulling the strings in midfield, the Gunners shaded a cagy first half but all caution was cast aside the moment Alex Song broke the deadlock a minute from the break.
Jack Wilshere and Song exchanged passes on the edge of the area, with the Cameroon midfielder carrying the ball into the box. Paulo Ferreira slid in and tripped Fabregas, but Song had the presence of mind not to wait for a whistle and swept a low left-footed shot across goal and into the bottom right corner.
Fabregas doubled the advantage after the restart after being teed up by a selfless Theo Walcott. Van Persie held the ball up 30 yards out, and, as he was closed down, Michael Essien’s challenge inadvertently pushed the ball straight to Walcott clean through on goal. The England winger dashed to the edge of the box, where he drew Cech before sliding the ball along to Fabregas and the Arsenal skipper made no mistake from 15 yards.
Then 90 seconds later Gunners fans were in dreamland as Walcott robbed Malouda and fed Fabregas, who repaid the favour by sending the Arsenal winger away down the right for him to slot a low shot into the bottom left corner.
While Branislav Ivanovic got one back for Chelsea, heading home a Drogba free-kick, a Chelsea comeback never really looked on.
Chelsea remain fourth while Arsenal leapfrog Manchester City into second, perhaps for less than 24 hours, however, as Roberto Mancini’s men’s meeting with Aston Villa is one of seven Premier League matches on Tuesday.
Arsenal travel to Wigan on Wednesday while Chelsea need to regroup as they play Bolton at Stamford Bridge.