Frank Lampard kept Chelsea's title dreams alive with a stoppage-time winner in the 2-1 victory over Wigan at Stamford Bridge.
John Terry had put Guus Hiddink's side in front in the 25th minute with a thunderous volley but Olivier Kapo rocked Chelsea with an 82nd-minute equaliser.
However England midfielder Lampard headed a vital winner to put Chelsea into second place on goal difference above rivals Liverpool - seven points behind leaders Manchester United, who also have a game in hand.
Chelsea had goalkeeper Petr Cech to thank for keeping them on level terms in the 17th minute, when he pushed Paul Scharner's low shot around the post.
Chelsea then survived a double scare when Ashley Cole cleared Titus Bramble's header off the line and John Terry did likewise seconds later to deny Charles N'Zogbia, but Chelsea hit back and Chris Kirkland saved superbly from John Mikel Obi's 25-yard shot.
Chelsea went ahead against the run of play when captain Terry smashed home a volley from the edge of the penalty area, via a deflection.
Nicolas Anelka sent a header just wide and Lampard saw a shot saved by Kirkland as the hosts looked for a quick second goal. Didier Drogba also drew a stop from Kirkland, while Lampard's 40-yard free-kick caused the goalkeeper worry.
Drogba was thwarted early in the second half when his goalbound shot was brilliantly cleared by Bramble, however there were signs that Chelsea were tiring.
Scharner spurned a chance to equalise when he headed over, before Amr Zaki curled a shot wide, and then Wigan drew level when Maynor Figueroa's cross was turned in by Kapo.
But with time running out, a long clearance was flicked on by Michael Ballack and Lampard got ahead of former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot to loop a header over Kirkland for the winner.
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