(CNN) -- Didier Drogba scored a vital equalizer as Chelsea came from behind to beat west London neighbors Fulham 2-1 to extend their English Premier League lead to five points.
Chelsea, who were winning for only the second time in eight matches, trailed to Zoltan Gera's fourth minute strike at Stamford Bridge until Drogba powered home a 73rd minute header.
It was a crucial contribution before he heads off to the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, one of several key Chelsea stars playing in the same competition next month.
It was his 19th goal for the Blues in all competitions and sparked a late charge which saw the winner just two minutes later as Daniel Sturridge's cross shot was saved by Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer before rebounding into his own net off defender Chris Smalling.
It was rough luck on Roy Hodgson's visitors, who have already beaten champions Manchester United and Liverpool this season.
They went ahead when Chelsea failed to clear a Paul Konchesky cross and Hungarian midfielder Gera volleyed an acrobatic shot past Petr Cech.
Manchester United can cut the gap again to two points with a win at home to Wigan on Wednesday.
"It was a great performance by my players," Chelsea manager Ancelotti told Sky Sports.
"In the second half we played with more determination. We wanted to win this game, it was very important," the Italian added.
Earlier on Monday, Tottenham Hotspur moved into the top four with a comfortable 2-0 home win over struggling West Ham.
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, making his first start after being sidelined since August with a leg fracture, started and finished a flowing home move to put Spurs ahead in the 11th minute.
With midfield lynchpin Scott Parker forced off early in the first half through injury, West Ham offered little in return and Jermain Defoe clinched the three points with an 81st minute strike, his 14th league goal of the season.
Promoted Birmingham extended their unbeaten league run to 11 games with a 1-0 away win at Stoke City, taking them back to seventh in the standings.
Striker Cameron Jerome's 50th minute goal sealed the three points with Birmingham on their best run in over a century.
Elsewhere, England forward Darren Bent scored twice as Sunderland drew 2-2 away to Blackburn Rovers while Everton beat 10-man Burnley 2-0.
Monday's late game saw a second straight win since he took charge for Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.
His team thrashed struggling Wolves 3-0 at Molineux with Carlos Tevez scoring twice.
The Argentina star opened his account just before halftime with a deflected effort from a Craig Bellamy shot.
Wolves pressed hard at the start of the second half for an equalizer but in the 69th minute Javier Garrido struck the second for the visitors with a thumping free kick.
Tevez rounded off the scoring with a fine strike late on, his eighth goal in the last seven games for his side who move up to a challenging sixth and set for a run at Champions League qualification promised by Mancini when he took charge in place of the sacked Mark Hughes.