In Chelsea's slipstream, Tottenham and Manchester City are amassing points and hoping the Premier League leaders collapse.
Harry Kane's double gave Tottenham a 3-2 victory over Everton to go seven points behind Chelsea on Sunday, while third-placed Manchester City is a point further back after sweeping to a 2-0 victory at Sunderland.
City's players, who have 12 games to overturn Chelsea's eight-point advantage over them, know all about throwing away a lead. Pep Guardiola's side was eight points ahead of Chelsea six games into the season before the tables were turned.
Now, according to Guardiola, Chelsea is "almost unstoppable."
"It's a pity that the distance between Chelsea is so big, but that's true," Guardiola said. "We started the season with 10 games winning (in a row), but our game was not like today.
"I feel we are playing quite well and that's why we are getting results."
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, whose side was four points behind City after four games, now has Chelsea in its sights.
"It's up to us to be there if they fail," Pochettino said.
TOTTENHAM 3, EVERTON 2
Kane upstaged Everton's Romelu Lukaku to assert himself as the Premier League's sharpest striker after the duo entered this showdown level on 17 goals.
Kane moved into top spot on England's scoring leaderboard as Tottenham claimed a ninth successive home league win.
Despite missing 10 games of the campaign through injury, Kane has amassed 24 goals in all competitions — only four behind last season's haul with more than two months remaining.
Kane had already sent Tottenham into a two-goal lead, including an audacious, dipping strike from 30 yards (meters), when Lukaku finally managed to score in the 80th minute. Lukaku became the first opponent to beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the league at White Hart Lane since December.
Tottenham had been cruising but it was a nervy conclusion. Even after Dele Alli clipped Harry Winks' free kick into the net in the 90th minute, Everton immediately reduced the deficit again at the other end from a set-piece that Enner Valencia completed.
But Tottenham held on to end a nine-game unbeaten run for seventh-placed Everton.
SUNDERLAND 0, MAN CITY 2
David Silva set up both goals as City won a fourth successive league match since being held by Tottenham.
Silva's 38th-minute cross was turned into the net at point-blank range by Sergio Aguero and the Spanish playmaker's defense-splitting through-ball in the 59th released Leroy Sane to net his sixth goal in 10 games.
Sunderland remains bottom, six points from safety.