The visitor’s found themselves three goals down early in the second half but staged a remarkable comeback with two Wayne Rooney penalties and substitute Javier Hernandez grabbing a point which leaves Sir Alex Ferguson’s team two points behind leaders Manchester City.
United had enjoyed the better of the first period having a couple of confident penalty appeals turned down by Howard Webb, but it was Chelsea who went in at the break in the lead.
The visitor’s still looked dangerous but were rocked at the beginning of the second half as the Blues scored twice in four minutes.
Within thirty seconds of the restart Fernando Torres crossed and Juan Marta hit a sublime volley past David De Gea.
Then Mata turned provider curling in a free kick which David Luiz headed against Rio Ferdinand and into goal.
Suddenly the host’s did not look as confident and when Danny Welbeck was tripped by Branislav Ivanovic, Rooney again scored from the spot kick.
With United pressing for a leveller Chelsea had opportunities on the break to seal the game, none more so than when Torres hesitated with the goal at his mercy allowing the United defence to scramble the ball clear.
This was to prove costly as the Blues defence began to look jittery as United controlled the game and the Red Devils were duly rewarded with seven minutes remaining.
Ryan Giggs was allowed time and space to pick out the unmarked Hernandez who headed powerfully home.
Both side’s then had opportunities to win the game in added time and it took a wonder save from United’s maligned keeper De Gea to palm away a Mata free kick to ensure the status quo.
Referee: Howard Webb
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Chelsea scorers: Evans og 36, Mata 46, Luiz 50
Man Utd scorers: Rooney (pens) 58, 68, Hernandez 83
TRIBAL ASKS: Despite the remarkable fightback it now leaves Man City two points clear at the top.
Yellow cards: Torres (CHE), Ivanovic (CHE), Evra (MANU)