Both teams came into the encounter on the back of contrasting fortunes in Europe, with Chelsea safely progressing past Copenhagen to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, while City exited the Europa League after a narrow aggregate defeat to Dynamo Kiev.
Fernando Torres spearheaded a three-man attack for the Blues, which also included Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda, but Manchester City were forced into a late alteration after Carlos Tevez failed a late fitness test.
City began the fixture the better of the two teams, and after a couple of passes had been intercepted by the home team, Petr Cech was required to dive to his right to turn away a low effort from Yaya Toure.
Chelsea slowly adjusted to the tempo that had been set by the visitors but they were struggling to register a shot on target, with their most encouraging attempt coming from a sliced drive from Frank Lampard.
© Getty Images
Chances were becoming few and far between as neither attack appeared confident in the final third. Torres, who was still searching for his first Chelsea goal, was struggling to get a shooting opportunity, while most of City's good work came through David Silva, leaving Edin Dzeko a lonely figure against David Luiz and John Terry.
Carlo Ancelotti's outfit ended the opening 45 minutes in command but their one opening was squandered by Kalou, who opted to send a weak shot towards goal rather than laying the ball off to Torres, who looked well positioned to fire his team into the lead.
The second half started in the same fashion in which the first had ended as Chelsea continued to look for the breakthrough, but despite Malouda being played in behind the City defence, he could only scuff his shot straight at Joe Hart from inside the penalty area.
The momentum remained with the Blues, and after some neat work from Torres had earned a corner, Lampard picked out Branislav Ivanovic from the set piece, but his goal-bound header was deflected wide by Vincent Kompany.
City had been second best for much of a lacklustre contest, but they almost stunned their hosts by taking a surprise lead on 67 minutes when Dzeko's header dropped inches wide of the post with Cech beaten.
© Getty Images
However, Chelsea introduced Didier Drogba as Ancelotti made three changes in the space of seven minutes and it brought an immediate impact as the Blues edged ahead with 12 minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba's free kick was curled into a packed penalty area, but Luiz met the delivery at the near post to glance the ball into the far corner from 12 yards for his second goal for the club.
City struggled to find any kind of response against a Blues side who were now brimming in confidence, and the three points were wrapped up in the final minute when Ramires completed a mazy run into the penalty area by clipping the ball over Hart to see Chelsea move past Roberto Mancini's side in the table.
Five wins from their next six games took Chelsea into title contention, but their challenge petered out in the final three matches to allow Manchester United to seal their 19th league title.
As for City, six victories from their remaining eight fixtures ensured third place in the Premier League table, while Mancini also delivered the club's first FA Cup success in 42 years.