Juan Mata scored twice in two minutes to crush Andre Villas-Boas' hopes of beating his former employers Chelsea at White Hart Lane.
A comprehensive away win looked on the cards as the Blues dominated Tottenham Hotspur in the first half, taking the lead through a fine Gary Cahill volley.
Villas-Boas, who left Chelsea 226 days ago after eight-months in charge, inspired a turnaround in his team's fortunes in the second half as Spurs surged ahead through William Gallas and Jermain Defoe, before the Blues stunned their former manager with two goals nearly 20 minutes from the end.
Much has been made of the impact of Eden Hazard and Oscar since they arrived this summer, but it was Mata, signed by Villas-Boas last season, who settled the game with two clinical strikes. The Spaniard scored his fifth of the season after pouncing on a Gallas clearance, and then made it 3-2 soon after with a clever finish from Hazard's pass. Roberto Di Matteo, Villas-Boas' right-hand man last season, then punched the air with glee when Daniel Sturridge made it 4-2.
It was all smiles for the former Chelsea manager at the kick-off. He shared handshakes and hugs with his former colleagues after emerging from the tunnel, but his smile soon disappeared.
Chelsea started strongly and took the lead in the 17th minute when Gallas' clearing header fell straight to Cahill, who fired a volley beyond Brad Friedel from 12 yards.
Petr Cech did well to parry a low Defoe drive but Spurs were struggling and both Lennon and Defoe missed chances.
Gylfi Sigurdsson offered a brief glimmer of hope when he shot a yard wide - but Chelsea should have doubled their lead moments later when Mata picked up a rebound from his shot at Friedel, but he skied over from 10 yards.
Tottenham started the second half brightly and they levelled within 65 seconds of the restart when Jan Vertonghen hooked Tom Huddlestone's free-kick across the box and Gallas nodded in from one yard.
Spurs started launching wave after wave of flying attack. Sigurdsson tested Cech with a powerful shot and saw another deflected effort fly just over.
Villas-Boas remained calm, but he was soon off his bench punching the air again when Defoe snuck in between two defenders to clip the ball past Cech from Lennon's pass. It was his 200th career goal.
Spurs threw everything at the visitors, but they could not beat Cech again and Chelsea made them pay with two crucial goals from Mata in two minutes.
First the Spaniard latched on to Gallas's clearance to beat Friedel and he then lost the Tottenham defender soon after to latch on to Hazard's pass and make it 3-2. Only a top save from Friedel prevented the Spaniard completing his hat-trick moments later.
Villas-Boas looked to Emmanuel Adebayor for inspiration, the Togo striker coming on for Dempsey with 17 minutes left. The former Arsenal man made an immediate impact, nodding the ball to Sigurdsson, but despite some excellent skill, the Iceland midfielder could only shoot over.
Torres curled a chance to put the game to bed wide with four minutes left and Adebayor stabbed at a chance soon after when Cech spilled the ball, but the Chelsea goalkeeper smothered the ball.
Sturridge, a late replacement for Oscar, made the points safe in the 91st minute, when he stabbed in a cross from Mata.
|28 Oct 2012||v Southampton (A)|
|03 Nov 2012||v Wigan (H)|
|11 Nov 2012||v Man City (A)|
|17 Nov 2012||v Arsenal (A)|
|25 Nov 2012||v West Ham (H)|
|28 Nov 2012||v Liverpool (H)|