Everton took the lead thanks to a Steven Pienaar goal in the first minute, but Chelsea hit back with a Frank Lampard brace to secure the points and end the Toffees' unbeaten home record.
In a game oddly reminiscent of when the two teams met in the 2009 FA Cup Final, Everton took the lead almost immediately as a surging run from Phil Jagielka up the wing allowed him to pick out Victor Anichebe, whose header crashed off the bar. Steven Pienaar was lurking, however, and finished coolly to give the Toffees a perfect start.
The early goal appeared to rattle Chelsea, who got off to a typically sluggish start at Goodison Park, and the Blues struggled to cope with Everton's ferocious pressing. The home side almost doubled their advantage just seven minutes in when Nikica Jelavic smashed a free-kick off the post after a bad mistake from Gary Cahill, but it wasn't to be.
Despite Everton's domination, however, they could not take advantage and secure another goal, and were perhaps inevitably made to pay later on in the half. Fernando Torres managed to keep a loose ball in play before cutting back to Ramires, whose cross found a typically well-timed run by Frank Lampard, who steered a fine header past Tim Howard.
After half-time, Everton appeared unable to regain their earlier swagger. David Luiz, continuing in his midfield role, almost created a fine second for Chelsea when he chipped a brilliant pass to Fernando Torres, but the much-maligned striker badly miscued his shot and the chance was gone.
As time wore on, Everton became increasingly marginalised in the game, perhaps having exhausted themselves with an overly-energetic opening spell, and it was Lampard who bagged the second goal for the Blues that was looking more and more certain as the game progressed. The Toffees defence simply came under too much pressure as they failed to clear a wave of Chelsea attacks, eventually allowing Eden Hazard to cut the ball across the area for Lampard to finish from close range.
Chelsea almost made it three when Everton's desperate attempts for an equaliser left them exposed at the back, and when the counter-attack eventually found Fernando Torres, he took too long over the finish and allowed Sylvain Distin to get back with an excellent slide-tackle just as he was pulling the trigger. The sad inevitability of the game following Everton's early goal was complete when, in the last minute, Nikica Jelavic had a chance to equalise from a Leighton Baines cross, but completely missed the ball with his attempted volley.
The game may have had a familiar big-club-comeback feel to it, but it will probably produce a heated debate over the relative pros and cons of releasing Lampard in the summer, which the Blues appear set to go ahead with. His limitations are well-known, but he is still a player who can contribute important goals when required - it's a tricky conundrum for Roman Abramovich to weigh up. For now, they can be glad they have him as the early troubles of Rafael Benitez's reign appear to be over.