A Brazilian brace was not enough to secure victory in a ferocious London derby that leaves us waiting to secure Champions League football.
Oscar and Ramires twice put Chelsea in front during the first half, but Spurs fought back and earned a point they probably deserved thanks to a late equaliser.
We went in front early when Oscar nodded in at the far post after Gary Cahill had flicked on Juan Mata’s corner, but Spurs, led by former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, equalised 15 minutes later through Emmanuel Adebayor’s solo effort.
Both sides had chances before the Blues retook the lead through the ever-fresh Ramires, bursting beyond Tottenham’s midfield and backline before poking home seven minutes before the break.
It looked as though that would be enough to see us through but the visitors equalised once more 11 minutes from time through substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson, after Adebayor, possibly offside, had fed him inside the area.
The game continued to ebb and flow until the end but there would be no clear winner, and so we head into the weekend’s game at Aston Villa still requiring victory to secure our place in next season’s Champions League.
Rafael Benitez made three changes from the side that won at Manchester United three days earlier, with Frank Lampard, Victor Moses and Demba Ba all dropping to the bench.
In came fit again Eden Hazard for Moses and Fernando Torres for Ba while Cahill dropped into central defence with David Luiz stepping up to partner Ramires in midfield.
Spurs were without the injured Mousa Dembele, who was replaced by former Blue Scott Parker, while Clint Dempsey was replaced by Lewis Holtby. Aaron Lennon was passed fit despite hobbling off in their win against Southampton at the weekend.
The game had started reasonably evenly, Spurs with slightly more possession but unable to create a chance, Chelsea sitting deeper and awaiting a chance to counter.
When it came, Hazard was blocked off by Tom Huddlestone in the middle of the park. From the free-kick Branislav Ivanovic saw his header deflected behind for a corner, and Juan Mata’s cross was met by Cahill knocked it on towards the far post where Oscar had escaped Parker’s attentions and stooped to nod in the opening goal.
In the minutes that followed Mata whipped a shot just over, as he had done earlier in the game, while Hazard tracked back excellently to dispossess Holtby on the edge of the box.
At the other end it took a brave Michael Dawson block to prevent Hazard a potential second after he had cut inside and shot powerfully, and within a minute Spurs had levelled against the run of play.
Emmanuel Adebayor headed clear Chelsea’s corner and the visitors broke, the Togo striker receiving the ball back just inside the Spurs half and advancing towards goal before curling his shot over Petr Cech and into the top corner.
Spurs could twice have gone in front in the 10 minutes that followed, as first Gareth Bale worked space but found his shot blocked by Ivanovic, and then Adebayor turned Jan Vertonghen’s rangy pass over the crossbar.
Few visiting teams have created many chances at the Bridge recently, and Spurs were quickly made to pay when Ramires showed his lung-busting best, slipping a pass to his right in midfield and continuing his run, eventually being fed by a well-weighted Torres pass before toeing the ball beyond Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal.
Kyle Walker then wasted a good chance at the Matthew Harding end before Lloris saved from Oscar towards the end of a first period that had flashed by at a tremendous pace.
Little changed from the first half to the early stages of the second, with no alteration to personnel or shape on either side and the pace of the game well maintained.
Torres had two half-chances both blocked by Tottenham defenders and then Hazard fired over from inside the area after Spurs had clumsily lost possession.
Oscar’s foul on Benoit Assou-Ekotto gave Spurs another chance but Vertonghen scissor-kicked high into the Shed when Holtby was better placed, while Ramires slipped and hit his head when one-on-one with Lloris.
Villas-Boas, returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his stint as our manager last season, was pressed into changes with Lennon and Holtby replaced by Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey.
Former Fulham man Dempsey had an effort blocked but Chelsea did not look overly threatened, until with 11 minutes remaining, Tottenham found an equaliser, working the ball into Adebayor, who looked offside but did well to pull back to Sigurdsson who had time to take a touch before bending into the bottom corner from 10 yards.
Both sides wanted the win and neither was going to let up as full time approached. The ball passed from one end to the other, formations out the window, but neither could fashion a proper chance, though Dempsey did get one shot on target which Cech held comfortably.
In the second minute of injury time, Bale was fouled 30 yards out and took the free-kick himself. They are the sort of chance he has taken this season, and it dipped and curled but lacked the venom to beat a focused Cech. It would be the game’s last chance, and so twice having led with Champions League football almost secured, Chelsea will have to wait a little longer.
Tottenham also have to wait. They have still not won at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole; Ramires, David Luiz; Oscar (Benayoun 83), Mata, Hazard (Moses 72); Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Terry, Ake, Lampard, Benayoun, Ba.
Goals Oscar 10, Ramires 38
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Dawson (c), Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Huddlestone, Parker; Holtby (Dempsey 69), Bale, Lennon (Sigurdsson 60); Adebayor.
Unused substitutes: Friedel, Caulker, Naughton, Carroll, Defoe.
Goals Adebayor 25, Sigurdsson 79
Booked Vertonghen 78, Bale 86
Referee Mike Dean