James Milner added to his new-found burgeoning reputation with a goal to remember as Leeds' 2-0 victory ended title-chasing Chelsea's unbeaten run - and gave Leeds their first Elland Road win for more than three months.
Milner, who became the youngest Premier League goalscorer with Leeds' equaliser in the 2-1 Boxing Day win at Sunderland just nine days short of his 17th birthday, sealed a sparkling triumph with an outstanding finish in first-half injury time.
And if you are going to win your first home league match since September 14 then you may as well do it in style, for Leeds had taken a 30th-minute lead courtesy of Jonathan Woodgate's first goal for two years.
Leeds have now taken 10 points from the last 12 to ensure manager Terry Venables' Christmas has been a very happy one, further allaying any fears of a new year battle to beat the drop.
Chelsea, who had started the day without a defeat in their last 11 games, had hoped to close the gap behind leaders Arsenal to just one point, but found themselves undone by an apprentice who is earning just £80 per week.
Milner is due to sign a professional deal on his 17th birthday next Saturday which will be worth around £800 per week, and on this evidence, he will be well worth the money.
Chelsea, though, perhaps created their own downfall as boss Claudio Ranieri made a remarkable seven changes to the side held to a goalless draw at home by Southampton two days ago, and it clearly disrupted the Blues' shape and flow.
There were a couple of early scares for Leeds, with a Gianfranco Zola snap shot in the second minute rifled straight at Paul Robinson, while an unmarked William Gallas failed to even find the target after latching onto a Graeme Le Saux inswinging corner at the far post.
Chelsea's leading scorer Zola then had another opportunity to end a scoreless run which now stretches to 10 games with a 25-yard free-kick curler which was inches over the angle of bar and post after Eidur Gudjohnsen had been fouled by Paul Okon.
Instead, it was a Leeds side buoyed by an unbeaten run going into the game of three matches, who showed all their old invention and flair.
They shook off the shackles which have previously restrained them at Elland Road as Venables and his players had previously conceded they were becoming afraid to take to their own stage.
But with Harry Kewell showing signs of returning to the star name which once made him a £20million target for the richest clubs in Serie A and the Primera Liga, it was Leeds who looked a side full of confidence.
Ed de Goey, retaining his place in the Chelsea side for the injured Carlo Cudicini, initially proved he is still an outstanding goalkeeper as he twice denied Leeds midway through the first half.
An Eirik Bakke flick in the 19th minute caught Chelsea's defence napping, allowing Kewell to run on and crack a 16-yard left-foot drive which brought out the best from the Dutchman.
Just four minutes later Alan Smith's headed flick to a Jason Wilcox corner had the 36-year-old at full stretch in tipping the ball over the bar.
But it did not take long for Leeds to finally make their mark, winning a corner in the 30th minute after a glancing header from Kewell from a right-wing cross from an advanced Woodgate took a slight deflection past de Goey's left-hand post.
With Milner waiting to come on, Kelly rolled the ball to Wilcox for a curling cross which Woodgate powerfully headed beyond de Goey - albeit taking a touch off Gallas - for his first goal for two years and five days.
As the Leeds fans celebrated, a limping Kewell was then immediately replaced by Milner and there could have been fears Leeds might have lost their way.
For a moment soon after there was a danger of the game bubbling over, too, to mirror past heated encounters - the last 13 producing 71 bookings and four red cards - when Smith was shown a yellow for hacking down Mario Stanic.
Smith could perhaps count himself fortunate to have still been on the pitch as he had escaped punishment for an earlier and clear elbow on Graeme Le Saux.
It appeared at that stage the left-back's two-footed lunge on Danny Mills in the corresponding fixture last season had perhaps not been forgotten.
Le Saux only received a caution at the time, although for his protests from the technical area, it led to the expulsion of then boss David O'Leary to the Elland Road stands.
But any threat of the game exploding was extinguished on the stroke of half-time with Milner's exquisite strike as he first took a pass from Wilcox in his stride.
World Cup winner and Chelsea skipper Marcel Desailly was then left trailing in the local hero's wake before he then curled a sensational 18-yard right-foot shot beyond de Goey.
Leeds then celebrated in style for Milner was literally mobbed by his team-mates as everyone bar Robinson piled on top of the grounded young star.
After the break Leeds did not face the onslaught they could have perhaps expected, although there were chances for Enrique de Lucas, Eidur Gudjohnsen and former Leeds star Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink which went begging.
By the final whistle, the cheers which greeted referee Graham Barber's shrill blast reverberated around the ground, perhaps as much with relief as delight - although the loudest shout of all was for the magnificent Milner.
After the match Leeds boss Terry Venables hailed rising star James Milner as 'a very special young man'.
Milner was then pushed on as a replacement for Harry Kewell who had sustained a dead leg and on the stroke of half time Milner's left World Cup winner and Chelsea skipper Marcel Desailly trailing in his wake before curling a spectacular 18-yard right-foot finish beyond Ed de Goey.
Venables, whose side have now taken 10 points from the last 12 to ensure
Christmas has been a very happy one, was left beaming as he said: 'I'm
delighted with the game, in fact with the last few games.
'But to be able to do it at home was what we were after and to do it against
as fine a side as Chelsea is fantastic.
'We played some good football, playing as a unit, and there's a nice little
story about a very special young man. He (Milner) is a very good player, no
doubt about it.
'He is a fine young fellow. The sort of guy you want to be involved in your
football club and in your squad.
'He is the kind of person who will make it better for longer, the sort of
solid character which we already have many of here at Leeds.'
Despite Leeds' current unbeaten run, Venables is refusing to get carried away
as he added 'as soon as you think you have turned a corner your end up hitting
something coming round that corner.
'But the confidence is back. Results give you that confidence and then that
gives you the ability to take the ball under all situations.
'I think the team have been playing well for quite a while now, it just that
we haven't had the rub of the green, but we have had one or two lucky breaks
recently, and that's helped with our confidence which in turn has led to us
playing good football.
Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri also had praise for Milner who will celebrate his
17th birthday next Saturday by signing a contract which will earn him £800 per
week in comparison to his current apprentice salary of £80 per week.
'He was fantastic,' exclaimed Ranieri. 'He is quick, clever, has two good
feet and well done to him, but I think it is important to leave him calm and let
Terry handle him.'
The defeat ended Chelsea's 11-match unbeaten league run from which they had
previously taken 25 points to push leaders Arsenal hard.
But come the New Year's Day clash with the Gunners they could find themselves
seven points adrift should Arsene Wenger's side beat Liverpool tomorrow.
Ranieri conceded that making seven changes to the team held to a goalless draw
by Southampton on Boxing Day had been a mistake.
'The result was right,' added Ranieri. 'Leeds deserved to win because they
played tight, compact football and were good on the counter-attack.
'I made seven changes and looking back now it was wrong but before these last
two matches I didn't think that would be the case.
'I have 18 good players in fantastic condition and, in playing two games in
three days, I thought I would be able to make changes, but we have only won one
point so it was a mistake.'