John Terry played his part in an entertaining encounter as Chelsea survived an early Tottenham onslaught to earn a point at White Hart Lane.
Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas had no hesitation in selecting his captain 24 hours after Terry discovered he was being charged with racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.
And despite being subjected to taunts throughout from Spurs supporters, the defender won prolonged backing from the visiting fans before throwing his shirt to them at the final whistle.
Emmanuel Adebayor gave the hosts an early lead as Harry Redknapp's side threatened to overrun Chelsea in their pursuit of Premier League pace-setters Manchester City and Manchester United.
The Blues stood firm and recovered to equalise through Daniel Sturridge before half-time - and were left frustrated as Didier Drogba struck the woodwork shortly after they levelled, then Ramires wasted two perfect opportunities in the second half.
Tottenham also posed a threat throughout, with Adebayor having a goal ruled out for a marginal offside decision and Gareth Bale and William Gallas also squandering opportunities.
Inevitably, it was left to Terry to have the final word as he blocked Adebayor's shot on the line in the dying seconds to ensure Chelsea earned a deserved draw.
The deadlock was not the ideal outcome for either side, but the result was fair. Spurs now stand seven points behind second-placed United with a game in hand, while Chelsea lie fourth.
Terry's name was met with a predictable chorus of jeering from the home fans as it was read out before kick-off, but Chelsea's supporters responded with loud backing for the England captain.
Spurs were delighted to be able to recall Bale after an ankle injury and it took only eight minutes for his importance to be graphically illustrated as he created the opening goal for Adebayor.
He ended a trademark surge down the left with a low cross that provoked a moment of hesitation from visiting keeper Petr Cech as he dived into the challenge with Adebayor, allowing the Togo striker to score.
- Tottenham are the highest placed London side in the Premier League at Christmas for the first time since 1995
Tottenham's pace and movement, particularly from Bale, saw Chelsea penned in and starved of possession, with manager Villas-Boas an agitated figure in his technical area.
The away side drew level against the run of play when Ashley Cole's cross was allowed to find Sturridge right in front of goal for a simple finish past the exposed Brad Friedel.
Chelsea were understandably encouraged by the lift of a goal and Drogba almost turned affairs around completely with a thunderous half-volley that crashed against the woodwork with Friedel well beaten.
Spurs had lost some of their early momentum but the Blues had to adapt as they lost Branislav Ivanovic and Jon Obi Mikel to injury before the break, with Paulo Ferreira and Oriol Romeu the replacements.
Redknapp was also deprived of a key figure for the restart as Rafael van der Vaart succumbed to a hamstring injury, giving Roman Pavlyuchenko another chance after scoring the winner against Sunderland at the weekend.
In spite of the changes, Chelsea made the better start after the interval as Friedel was forced to save twice in the space of seconds, first from Ramires as he raced through and then from Terry's header as he met the resulting corner.
Adebayor had the ball in the net again just before the hour, only to see the effort ruled out after the tightest of offside calls.
Spurs had been unable to get their main midfield orchestrator Luka Modric into the game in the manner they had at the start, but he almost made an impact from a set-piece as Sandro glanced a header wide.
Chelsea were not backing away from the battle though and Friedel was in action once more to clutch Sturridge's low shot at the second attempt, much to the frustration of the increasingly animated Villas-Boas.
As an entertaining encounter entered the last 10 minutes, Bale wasted an opportunity to restore Spurs' lead when he shot well over after being released by Modric's clever touch inside the area.
Cech then clawed away Sandro's deflected shot and Gallas turned Bale's cross inches wide at the near post as the hosts tried to regain their earlier supremacy.
The best chance came and went for Chelsea with four minutes left when Juan Mata's free-kick found Ramires completely unmarked in front of goal eight yards out, only for the Brazilian to direct a desperately poor header wide.
And, in a dramatic conclusion, Terry saved a point for Villas-Boas's side when he blocked Adebayor's shot on the line.
Sorry, we were unable to load match stats, please try again.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +2:02
Ledley King takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Cole.90:00 +1:30
Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech. Short corner taken by Luka Modric.90:00 +0:38
The ball is delivered by Emmanuel Adebayor, comfortable save by Petr Cech.88:49
Ramires takes a shot. Ledley King gets a block in. Effort from outside the penalty box by Raul Meireles goes wide right of the goal.86:55
Foul by Gareth Bale on Paulo Ferreira, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paulo Ferreira.85:36
Scott Parker is adjudged to have handled the ball. The ball is crossed by Juan Mata, Ramires produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.84:28
Raniere Sandro takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech. Gareth Bale takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, John Terry manages to make a clearance. The ball is swung over by Gareth Bale, William Gallas has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.83:26
Shot on goal by Gareth Bale from just inside the area clears the crossbar.82:12
Effort on goal by Daniel Sturridge from 30 yards. Comfortable save by Brad Friedel.82:06
A cross is delivered by Ramires, blocked by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.80:08
The ball is crossed by Ashley Cole.79:53
Juan Mata crosses the ball, William Gallas makes a clearance.79:13
Foul by Luka Modric on Raul Meireles, free kick awarded. Oriol Romeu restarts play with the free kick.78:14
Centre by Fernando Torres. The referee blows for offside against Daniel Sturridge. Indirect free kick taken by Brad Friedel.75:47
Direct free kick taken by Jose Bosingwa.75:47 Substitution
Substitution Fernando Torres on for Didier Drogba.75:47
Foul by Emmanuel Adebayor on John Terry, free kick awarded.75:15
The offside flag is raised against Juan Mata. Brad Friedel takes the indirect free kick.75:01
Ashley Cole produces a cross, Ledley King makes a clearance.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniel Sturridge. Jose Bosingwa takes the direct free kick.73:38
The ball is crossed by Kyle Walker, clearance by John Terry.73:22
A cross is delivered by Luka Modric, Paulo Ferreira makes a clearance.72:57
Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.72:03
The ball is sent over by Juan Mata, clearance made by Luka Modric.71:22
The ball is crossed by Ramires, clearance made by Kyle Walker. Corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata to the near post, clearance made by William Gallas.69:41
Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.69:41 Booking
Booking Gareth Bale shown a yellow card.69:33
Gareth Bale concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Cole.68:06
Header from deep inside the area by Benoit Assou-Ekotto goes harmlessly over the crossbar.67:39
Luka Modric takes a shot. Ashley Cole gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken by Luka Modric from the right by-line played to the near post, Raniere Sandro has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.67:00
Luka Modric crosses the ball, Daniel Sturridge manages to make a clearance.65:23
Kyle Walker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Didier Drogba. Free kick crossed right-footed by Raul Meireles from left wing.65:09
Centre by Didier Drogba, blocked by Luka Modric.64:46
The ball is sent over by Daniel Sturridge, clearance made by William Gallas.61:08
Centre by Kyle Walker, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Emmanuel Adebayor misses to the left of the goal.60:35
The ball is sent over by Juan Mata, Benoit Assou-Ekotto makes a clearance.60:01
Corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata from the left by-line to the near post, Raniere Sandro makes a clearance.57:13
Ramires concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Bale. Luka Modric takes the free kick. The assistant referee flags for offside against William Gallas. Indirect free kick taken by Petr Cech.55:49
Kyle Walker sends in a cross, clearance by Jose Bosingwa.54:54
A cross is delivered by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Oriol Romeu manages to make a clearance.54:37
Oriol Romeu concedes a free kick for a foul on Roman Pavlyuchenko. Direct free kick taken by Luka Modric.53:12
Ramires takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata played to the near post, John Terry takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.52:27
Didier Drogba crosses the ball, Headed effort from inside the area by Daniel Sturridge misses to the right of the goal.51:32
Benoit Assou-Ekotto takes a shot. Ramires gets a block in.50:15
Daniel Sturridge has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box which goes wide left of the goal.49:26
Ramires has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the target.48:31
Raul Meireles has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses right.48:11
Paulo Ferreira takes a shot. Ledley King gets a block in.45:24
Scott Parker challenges Didier Drogba unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Didier Drogba. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Juan Mata, Header from deep inside the area by Didier Drogba goes over the bar.45:01
The second half begins.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Roman Pavlyuchenko comes on in place of Rafael Van der Vaart.45:00 +5:03 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +4:33
Rafael Van der Vaart takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Didier Drogba.45:00 +3:47
Unfair challenge on Oriol Romeu by Scott Parker results in a free kick. Petr Cech restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +2:35 Substitution
Substitution Mikel goes off and Oriol Romeu comes on.45:00 +0:44
The ball is sent over by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Emmanuel Adebayor takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.45:00 +0:22
Luka Modric takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in.42:18
The free kick is swung in right-footed by Luka Modric, Raul Meireles manages to make a clearance.42:18 Booking
Booking Ramires is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.41:58
Foul by Ramires on Gareth Bale, free kick awarded.40:57
The assistant referee flags for offside against Emmanuel Adebayor. Petr Cech takes the free kick.39:04
A cross is delivered by Kyle Walker.37:36
Foul by Emmanuel Adebayor on Mikel, free kick awarded. Jose Bosingwa takes the free kick.36:50
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Walker on Ashley Cole. Petr Cech takes the free kick.36:36
Ramires gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale. Direct free kick taken by Luka Modric.33:52
Kyle Walker sends in a cross.32:54
Luka Modric restarts play with the free kick.32:54 Substitution
Substitution Branislav Ivanovic goes off and Paulo Ferreira comes on.32:54
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ledley King by Ramires.32:18
Kyle Walker takes a shot. Ashley Cole gets a block in.29:04
Effort on goal by Ramires from just inside the area clears the bar.28:39
Jose Bosingwa sends in a cross, Didier Drogba produces a left-footed shot from close in and hits the post.27:48
Emmanuel Adebayor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ashley Cole. Free kick taken by Ashley Cole.26:54
Shot by Raul Meireles. Save by Brad Friedel.25:06
Kyle Walker produces a cross, clearance made by John Terry.24:49
The ball is crossed by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, John Terry makes a clearance.24:32
Emmanuel Adebayor sends in a cross, Jose Bosingwa makes a clearance.22:37
Ashley Cole provided the assist for the goal.22:37 Goal scored
Goal! - Daniel Sturridge - Tottenham 1 - 1 Chelsea Daniel Sturridge grabs a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea.22:35
A cross is delivered by Ashley Cole,22:24
Luka Modric concedes a free kick for a foul on Branislav Ivanovic. Branislav Ivanovic takes the direct free kick.18:59
Branislav Ivanovic restarts play with the free kick.18:59 Booking
Booking Caution for Emmanuel Adebayor.18:57
Free kick awarded for a foul by Emmanuel Adebayor on Raul Meireles.18:23
Didier Drogba gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Raniere Sandro. Ledley King takes the direct free kick.17:23
The assistant referee signals for offside against Ramires. Brad Friedel restarts play with the free kick.16:51
Rafael Van der Vaart concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Cole. Free kick taken by Ashley Cole.15:59
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rafael Van der Vaart by Didier Drogba. Direct free kick taken by Kyle Walker.15:40
Gareth Bale is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Mikel.15:04
Rafael Van der Vaart takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Ramires.11:45
Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Rafael Van der Vaart. Corner taken left-footed by Rafael Van der Vaart from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Ramires.11:45 Booking
Booking Branislav Ivanovic booked.11:38
Branislav Ivanovic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale.11:21
Raul Meireles crosses the ball, save by Brad Friedel.10:20
Effort on goal by Juan Mata from 25 yards. Brad Friedel makes a save. Close range effort by Daniel Sturridge clears the crossbar.8:31
The ball is sent over by Daniel Sturridge.7:09
The assist for the goal came from Gareth Bale.7:09 Goal scored
Goal! - Emmanuel Adebayor - Tottenham 1 - 0 Chelsea Emmanuel Adebayor gets on the score sheet with a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea.7:07
The ball is crossed by Gareth Bale,4:43
A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale, clearance by John Terry.3:41
Benoit Assou-Ekotto crosses the ball, Jose Bosingwa gets a block in.1:48
Gareth Bale takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Cole. Luka Modric takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Raul Meireles manages to make a clearance.0:00
The game begins.
Live data and text provided by our data suppliers