And that is that. A truly pulsating London derby and credit must go to Spurs for their part in it. However, the difference between the sides was probably Juan Mata, who offered a demonstration in attacking midfield play. Chelsea move seven points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Spurs, to their credit, are still trying their best. They've simply been beaten by a side with superior attacking strength at their disposal. Dare I say future champions? On the evidence of the season so far they're the team to beat.
It must be said, there will be few finer performances this season than that of Juan Mata. He's been an utter delight to watch and has scored twice and assisted once too.
GOAL - Sturridge! That is that. Chelsea clear Tottenham's corner and eventually the excellent Mata has time to roll a simple ball across to Sturridge, who taps into an empty net.
90 Hazard, who was probably the least effective of Chelsea's creative trio but still played well, makes way for Frank Lampard.
Spurs fans are on their feet as Walker's 30-yard strike looks destined for the bottom corner. Cech sees it late, but gets down and produces a superb save.
Could that be Tottenham's last chance? Defoe clips a cross in which Cech fumbles straight to Adebayor, but his first touch is poor and allows Cech to atone for his mistake.
Chance for Chelsea as Sturridge finds space on the right, but the excellent Vertonghen steps in. Chelsea are soon back in attack but Mata can't quite bring down a superb ball from Torres.
Spurs break and Defoe provides space for Sandro, who should have his eye in by now. Not so, though, as he once again fires wide.
No sign of Chelsea sitting on this as an excellent dummy from Cole allows Torres through on goal. He opens his body and curls past Friedel, but it's an inch wide.
Lennon works space for a shot 20 yards out and it's the type that would've probably gone past the flat-footed Cech had it been either side. Unfortunately for Lennon and Spurs it's straight at Cech who is relieved to collect.
Free kick for Chelsea on halfway and Sturridge brings it down beautifully, only to be given offside.
83 Oscar, who put in an excellent shift, makes way for Daniel Sturridge.
Sigurdsson is the man who takes responsibility but his free-kick is far too high and with less than 10 minutes to go, that's an opportunity missed.
Excellent tracking from Adebayor and Spurs counter, Defoe eventually drawing a foul from Mikel just 20 yards out. Chance.
Defoe cuts in from the right only to find the tireless Oscar blocking his shot. Lennon then cuts in but this time it's Luiz who is in the way.
Chelsea spend some time spraying it from left to right before Hazard attempts a killer pass which is slightly too strong.
Adebayor does well to get on the end of Livermore's cross as Spurs come back into the game. However, he can't get enough power on his header and Cech collects comfortably.
Excellent work from the lively Defoe as he gets past the Chelsea defence before producing a cross which is cleared for a throw.
Chance for Spurs as Adebayor plays in Sigurdsson, whose left-footed shot flies high above Cech's goal.
Scrappy stuff near the Spurs corner flag but it's now Chelsea who are getting the breaks, Oscar eventually working space for a shot from range that forces Friedel to save down to his right.
74 It's Dempsey off, Adebayor on.
It's all Chelsea now and Mata almost grabs a hat-trick as he again finds space on the left. Instead he'll settle for a throw as Spurs prepare another change.
Mikel plays in Torres but instead of controlling the ball he nods it to Hazard, who is unable to bring it down.
Throw for Chelsea deep inside the Spurs half. Incredible game this.
Spurs are back on the attack despite looking pretty shocked and win a throw down the left, before Oscar plays it against Vertonghen to win his side a throw.
69 GOAL - Mata! Well, that's six in five for Mata and it looks like it's Livermore's fault. The Spaniard plays it to Oscar and goes for the return, before finishing well. Livermore just let him go and Chelsea lead.
Chelsea clear and all of a sudden Torres is clear on goal. Vertonghen chases and makes a superb tackle as the Spaniard threatens to score.
Meanwhile Defoe finds space for a shot 30 yards out and forces an excellent save from Cech - it'll be a Spurs corner.
67 Change for Spurs as Livermore replaces Huddlestone.
66 GOAL - Mata! Well, that came out of nowhere. Gallas clears Oscar's cross directly to Mata, and his shot from 20 yards is right in the bottom corner, Friedel no chance.
It's Cole's turn to burst down the flank but again his cross is too easily cut out as Chelsea fail to get men in the box. Caulker this time the man to do the defensive work for Spurs.
Ivanovic gets in behind the Spurs defence and cuts back, but Sandro is there to collect. Lennon breaks but Luiz again gets in the way.
But Chelsea have such quality that you feel Spurs may need to score again to win. Torres loses his balance in the Spurs box and is unlucky - he was fouled outside the box but tried to stay on his feet and paid the price for honesty.
Lennon makes not one but two brilliant tackles on Cole to sum up the turnaround in Tottenham's performance. Dempsey then wins a free-kick and everything is going the way of the home side now.
Sandro joins in the Spurs attack now and takes the opportunity to shoot through a wall of bodies from 20 yards. It's an akward one for Cech but he does well to collect.
Excellent defending from Luiz as Dempsey looks to collect a pass from Lennon. Chelsea attack through Mata but Defoe tracks him and produces a top-class tackle.
Lennon is full of confidence and and dances into the Chelsea box again before Luiz steps in to clear. Chelsea break but Hazard's cross is collected by Friedel. Some game, this!
Among all that was a penalty appeal when Cole went down under a challenge from Gallas. Replays suggest a knocking of knees but not enough to win a penalty.
Walker clears from under the nose of Friedel but Chelsea have another chance to get the ball in the box having won a free-kick 40 yards out. Mata clips it in but Ivanovic can't get enough on it.
It's a corner which will be taken once Sandro and Torres stop arguing. Not sure what happened but the Brazilian seems rather annoyed.
So, what have Chelsea got? They're back on the attack and Cole wins a corner.
54 GOAL- Defoe! Well, phenomenal stuff and reward for a completely different Spurs performance so far this second half. Lennon shoots from the edge of the box but drags it straight into Defoe's path and he guides it past Cech in the style of a classy, confident finisher.
Lennon has really come alive and wins his side a throw on the right. Caulker eventually finds Sigurdsson whose cross falls to Vertonghen. He shoots with his weaker right foot but straight at Cech.
Hazard is then caught offside as the Spurs defence step up. They're certainly pressing higher up the pitch now.
Chelsea's first attack of the half sees Mata and Hazard combine on the left before Sandro steps in to dispossess Cole.
Referee Mike Dean sees a foul which gets Chelsea off the hook for a moment. However, the home side get it back, Defoe plays in Sigurdsson, and he forces a good save out of Cech. All Spurs.
And it's almost another for Spurs, as Lennon's jinking run opens up space for Sigurdsson, whose shot is deflected over for a corner.
Breath caught, and the Spurs fans are in fine form now. That's a huge blow for Chelsea who kept Spurs at arms' length throughout the first half.
GOAL - Gallas! Well, that didn't take long. Spurs win a free-kick, Huddlestone curls it in, Vertonghen cuts it back and Gallas nods into a virtually empty net. It really was that simple. Game on!
We're back under way. Can Chelsea do the Arsenal/Spurs away double? The last time they did, they went on to win the title by eight points.
Gabriel is back with a revised assessment: 'Probably a deserved lead for Chelsea and an important one - with Bale out of the Spurs team I'd be more inclined to back Chelsea for a clean sheet, and there are so many players in the Blues capable of finishing this game with a moment of magic. I'm now thinking 2-0 Chelsea.'
Interesting replays show that, when Defoe had his shot blocked at around 32 minutes, Cahill had a handfull of his shirt. No appeal from the Spurs striker but I've seen them given.
Just looking at Cahill's strike and it did take a deflection which sent it higher, but the way he hit that it's a stretch to say that made the difference.
Can Spurs come from behind to win? Sky Bet boost a 2-1 home win to 16/1, but if you fancy Chelsea to go on and win 3-0 that's 12s. Dempsey is 10/1 to score next, Hazard 11s, while Torres next and Chelsea to win 2-0 is 22/1.
And that's the last act of the half, one Chelsea dominated early before gaining a deserved lead through Cahill. Spurs came back into it but haven't yet forced Cech into a proper save.
45+3 Another yellow and in similar circumstances, this time Ramires bringing down Lennon as he threatened to get in behind the Chelsea midfield.
45+2 Walker is booked for bringing down Ramires moments after Defoe played a dangerous cross which forced Cole to clear. Chelsea had looked like launching a counter before the foul and it's a definite yellow.
Luiz is back on the field as we enter the first of three added minutes.
Ouch. Chelsea are annoyed as play is stopped when they are on the break, but it's because Walker and Luiz had a clash of heads with the latter coming off worst. He looks groggy but he's alright.
This time it's a better ball and it again breaks to Dempsey, whose shot is bravely blocked by Mikel.
As I say that, the ball breaks to Dempsey and his shot is deflected behind for another Spurs corner.
For the first time, Spurs are truly on top and it's only the fact that Chelsea are hard working and organised that is denying them gaps.
A sustained spell of possession from Spurs sees Caulker invited to go forward. Sigurdsson eventually finds space for a cross and, under pressure, Cech does well to punch clear.
40 Gallas is furious as he's booked for a foul on Torres. He's unlucky as it was one-footed, from the side, and he got the ball. Certainly looked worse than it was.
Minor alarm for Chelsea as Luiz heads carelessly back to Cech, but his keeper gets there before Defoe. Chelsea break, Ramires finds Mata and the Spaniard probably should score from the rebound after Friedel saves his first effort. Instead, he fires over.
Lennon cuts inside and runs fully 50 yards into the Chelsea final third, but when he passes to Dempsey all momentum is lost.
Sigurdsson's corner is poor and Luiz reacts quickly to release Hazard. It's four on three briefly, but Walker gets back to put it out for a corner which he then clears.
A bit of space for Vertonghen but where Bale would run at Ivanovic, the Belgian crosses from deep. It's a good one though and Spurs win a corner.
Ashley Cole shows his class and composure by stooping low to nod back to Cech when under pressure from Defoe as we enter the final 10 minutes of a fascinating first half.
Quick feet from Torres and he's past Caulker, but instead of shooting he tries an intricate reverse pass to Mata who is offside anyway.
Excellent work on the right from Torres but there's nobody in the box to get on the end of a dangerous-looking cross.
However, Chelsea have the midfield quality to cope and so far that's probably been the difference between the sides so far.
Spurs are really pressing now, not allowing Chelsea the time which they were given early on.
Defoe uses his body well to shield the ball, but Cahill blocks. The ball is quickly back with Spurs though and Lennon's cross breaks to Sigurdsson, who fires just wide from 12 yards out.
Silly foul from Mikel on Walker, who didn't look to be going anywhere with his crossfield run. Huddlestone steps up from 40 yards and somewhat ridiculously attempts a shot, which is cleared.
Free-kick for Spurs deep inside their own half as we approach the half-hour mark. Chelsea have had 60% of possession so far.
Good pressure on Friedel sees the American rush his clearance and Chelsea can attack, Vertonghen forced to come to the rescue as Hazard threatened to break free.
Chelsea make a sensible attempt to slow the game down and it works, with their back four able to control possession. The Spurs crowd were getting very vocal but they've quietened down now.
Better from Lennon, who has been quiet so far. He beats Mata to the ball, runs at Cole before dancing into the area, only to find his path blocked by Luiz.
24 Ivanovic is booked for a dive. Contentious that, as he did go to ground without contact but made no claim for anything, got up and got on with the game. Hmm.
However, as Vertonghen loses control of the ball down the left, we're reminded of Bale's absence. Spurs yet to get in behind the Chelsea full-backs, who are among the best in the business.
It looks as though it took a goal for Spurs to realise they need to do better, as since it went in they've enjoyed more possession.
Better from Tottenham as Sigurdsson just fails to control a slightly overhit through-ball from Defoe.
And just like that, Defoe charges at the Chelsea defence, forcing Cech into a save before Cole clears for a corner which comes to nothing.
So, who had Cahill to score first? Didn't think so. Tottenham need to change something soon because Chelsea could run away with this, they look a threat with every attack.
17 GOAL - CAHILL! It's a world-class finish...from Gary Cahill. Gallas heads the corner out to the edge of the area and the England defender unleashes an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net. What a goal and just about a deserved lead.
Mata and Oscar exchange passes on the right before the Spaniard whips in a cross that Gallas can only flick behind for a corner.
Spurs are really struggling to assert themselves here and it's noticeable how comfortable Chelsea are on the ball. Sigurdsson is trying to join Defoe to press but it's leaving gaps in midfield.
It comes to nothing and Ramires breaks, driving at the home defence, cutting outside then in before Huddlestone comes to the rescue with a well-timed challenge.
Defoe does well to put pressure on Luiz, who is forced to put the ball out for a Spurs throw deep inside the Chelsea half.
Gallas is caught out by Oscar just inside his own half and the Brazilian plays a wonderful reverse pass to Torres, but the Spaniard is offside. That was close and he would've been through on goal.
Sigurdsson's corner is cleared but only as far as Sandro. However, his left-footed attempt from 30 yards is high and wide and Cech watches it sail over.
Lovely exchange between Huddlestone and Dempsey and the former whips in a fine cross with his left foot, which Cole turns behind for a corner.
Mata shows his full array of skills by tracking back to dispossess Dempsey, setting up a Chelsea counter which ends when Oscar fires just wide from 20 yards.
Superb vision from Hazard to play a ball through to Torres, but Friedel is alert to the danger and comes out to collect.
Careless from Sigurdsson as he tries to play in Lennon and Chelsea are back in control of the ball. They look more comfortable at this early stage.
Sandro again does well as Hazard bursts through down the right, only to see the Brazilian intercept his attempted cut-back.
Good defensive work from Sandro to crowd out both Mata and Torres as they look to pose problems down the Tottenham left.
Spurs do well as first Gallas and then Vertonghen beat Chelsea attackers to the ball, the latter clearing beyond halfway.
Chelsea win a corner from their first attack as Cole's cross is put behind by Gallas.
Mikel commits the first foul of the game just inside his own half and Sigurdsson takes the chance to curl in a dangerous ball that falls to Gallas, who can't divert goalwards from five yards out. Half-chance, that.
Chelsea's back-four take the opportunity to get an early touch but Cole loses out after collecting a diagonal ball from Mikel and it's a goal kick to Spurs.
Spurs get us under way, Caulker and Gallas exchanging passes before Mikel picks Dempsey's pocket 30 yards out.
Anyway, it's almost time for the talking to stop as the teams are out on the pitch under a bright blue sky. Game almost on...
It seems the general consensus is that everyone thought this would be tight, and then saw the absence of Bale and Dembele which hands Chelsea what could be a huge advantage. But you have to go back to 2007 since the last time Spurs lost one of these London derbies at home in the league.
Jordan Lester says: 'I think that this London derby will be a great encounter between two great london teams. I think chelsea will win it 2-1 with Torres and Mata scoring for Chelsea and Dempsey for Tottenham. It should be a great game, two great teams with a good set of players but chelsea boss Di Matteo has a better track recored than AVB - glad he left Chelsea.'
With Bale out (Twitter rumours say his partner is in labour), Sky Bet have boosted Sigurdsson to score first to 10/1. Hazard to score first and Chelsea to win 2-1 is 60s, while you can have 25/1 that Torres scores first and Chelsea win either 1-0 or 2-0.
And Sreekanth is delighted with the team news: 'No Bale and no Dembele for Spurs? The best news Chelsea fans like me could have heard today?'
Josh from Leeds is another in the away camp: 'I feel Chelsea will have too much pace for tottenhams back 4 this afternoon. 3-2 win for Chelsea.'
James Mottershead is going for a 4-1 Chelsea win and writes: 'As a United fan, it's only natural that I want nothing less than a Tottenham win today. Unfortunately, Chelsea are in far too much form in my eyes, so I am expecting a landslide today.'
Nikhil agrees: 'Tottenham are going to miss Bale badly. I think Chelsea can capitalise on this and claim the three points. So I'm going with 3-1 Chelsea.'
Eugene Dunne says: "I think we will attack from the first whistle. Without bale, Spurs have no chance. 4-0 chelsea today with a brace from 'nando.'
Speaking of value, Sky Bet make Chelsea their 6/4 favourites, with Spurs 17/10 and the draw 12/5. Their Price Boosts are Spurs 2-0 at 14/1, Chelsea 2-1 at 10/1 and the in-form Juan Mata to score first at 9s.
'What do you think, Ben?' asks, err, nobody. Well, I've gone for a 1-1 draw - fence-sitting at its finest. Essentially I thought Chelsea were decent value but it's a long time since Spurs lost a home London derby in the Premier League.
Akshet follows with: "I predict a very close game today, huge midfield battle but I think that it will be Chelsea edging it due to better quality up front. 1-0 Chelsea."
Gabriel is first in and says: "I fancy this to be an entertaining match; both sides have creative players in their team whilst neither look completely solid at the back. Villas-Boas' new side are in-form at the moment and beating Aston Villa 2-0 last time proved the win at Old Trafford wasnt a one-off result. For Chelsea, the effects of Hazard, Mata and Oscar combining to provide for Torres have been devastating at times, but I also think Lampard's knowhow and Ramires's dynamism has given them the platform they need in midfield for these players to get time on the ball. I just can't see the Blues being knocked off their perch at the moment, so will say 2-3."
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Sturridge, Azpilicueta, Bertrand.
Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Sandro, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Adebayor, Naughton, Dawson, Falque, Livermore, Townsend.
As I await a flood of predictions, here comes the team news...
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of Spurs v Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Do feel free to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org as we build up to a fascinating Barclays Premier League encounter.