West Bromwich Albion 1 Chelsea 1
Substitute Victor Anichebe scored an 87th-minute equaliser to deny Chelsea a victory that would have taken them four points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Branislav Ivanovic put them ahead seconds before the half-time whistle, smashing home after Willian’s corner had been flicked on by David Luiz.
But Anichebe rescued a point for relegation-threatened West Brom when he beat Luiz and keeper Petr Cech to head in Saido Berahino’s left-wing cross.
Ivanovic’s second goal in three games looked like giving his team all three points – and it came after Albion had kept them at bay by defending well.
Chelsea’s best moment before the deadlock was broken came when Willian turned cleverly and fired just wide of the target.
At the other end, Chris Brunt shot wide after being teed up by Thievy Bifouma.
Chelsea made a strong start to the second half, with Oscar sending an effort wide before keeper Ben Foster saved from Samuel Eto’o and twice from Willian.
But they then had to withstand a spell of pressure in which Bifouma shot wide and Brunt went close with a half-volley.
Craig Dawson then missed a great chance to equalise, heading over from six yards following Brunt’s corner.
And Albion might have had a penalty when Luiz tugged at Anichebe’s shirt inside the area.
However, Anichebe had the last laugh and his goal meant Chelsea had to settle for a two-point lead over second-placed Arsenal, who face Manchester United tomorrow while third-placed Manchester City play Sunderland.
With Gary Cahill struggling to complete the game after picking up an injury, the visitors looked vulnerable at the back in the final minutes and Brunt almost put Albion ahead.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Ramires (Salah 89), Matic; Willian, Oscar (Mikel 78), Hazard; Eto’o (Torres 69).
Subs not used: Schwarzer, Cole, Lampard, Schurrle.