Tottenham Hotspur held on to third spot in the Premier League after an entertaining 1-1 draw with fourth-placed Chelsea at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham Hotspur held on to third spot in the Premier League after an entertaining 1-1 draw with fourth-placed Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Thursday.
Emmanuel Adebayor gave Tottenham the perfect start when he turned in a Gareth Bale cross after eight minutes but having dominated the opening exchanges the home side were forced to retreat by a stirring Chelsea fightback.
The visitors equalised after 23 minutes through the lively Daniel Sturridge and had the better chances after that.
Both sides went for victory in a thrilling second half with Ramires wasting a glorious opportunity for Chelsea and Adebayor denied by a sliding John Terry clearance in stoppage time.
Going into the busy Christmas programme Tottenham have 35 points from 16 games, with Chelsea two points behind having played a game more than the north London club.
Leaders Manchester City have 44 from 17 games, two ahead of Manchester United.
Tottenham have enjoyed being London's highest-placed club in recent weeks after a spectacular burst of form and they began as if they were determined to underline their new-found status.
Bale caused havoc with his pace down the left and it was no surprise he proved the architect of the opening goal.
Sandro dispossessed Sturridge and played in the Wales winger who accelerated past three defenders to fire in a devilish cross that Adebayor stroked in.
Sturridge should have equalised with Chelsea's first attack, lifting his shot over the bar after Spurs keeper Brad Friedel parried Juan Mata's fizzing low shot.
Forward Sturridge, tipped for England duty at Euro 2012, levelled against the run of play when Ashley Cole charged down the left and crossed for the unmarked former City player to guide a close-range volley past Friedel.
The goal changed the complexion of the contest as Chelsea grew in stature and Tottenham lost their early spark.
The visitors almost went in front when Jose Bosingwa's deep cross was superbly taken down by Didier Drogba who lashed a shot against the crossbar.
Chelsea were forced into two substitutions before the interval, defender Branislav Ivanovic limping off to be replaced by Paulo Ferreira and midfielder John Obi Mikel hobbling off with Oriol Romeu coming on.
The 2009-10 league champions dominated the early stages of the second half with Ramires forcing a superb save from Friedel.
Tottenham attacked sporadically and former Chelsea defender Willam Gallas had a header ruled out for offside while Sandro flashed another chance wide when well placed.
In a frantic finale Ramires somehow failed to find the net when a Mata free kick picked him out on his own, six metres from goal, and he skewed his header wide.
John Terry, booed by Spurs fans all night after being charged by the Crown Prosecution Service for making alleged racist remarks against QPR's Anton Ferdinand, saved his side at the end by deflecting Adebayor's goalbound shot past the post.