Match ends, Chelsea 1, Manchester United 1.
Diego Costa scored a late equaliser to preserve Chelsea's unbeaten record under interim boss Guus Hiddink and deny Manchester United a win.
United dominated early on, Thibaut Courtois producing a fine one-handed save to keep out Anthony Martial.
David de Gea saved well from Nemanja Matic's header before Jesse Lingard's fine turn and shot put United ahead.
Costa rescued a point in the 91st minute after rounding De Gea following Cesc Fabregas' pass.
United were moments away from moving to within four points of the top four when Costa scored his seventh goal in eight games.
Chelsea, who lost defender Kurt Zouma to a serious injury, remain 13th in the table.
A United performance to offer encouragement
This will feel like a defeat for United after a bright start and a wonderful goal to give them the lead in what was an entertaining draw between two teams struggling for form.
Apart from the late equaliser, Louis van Gaal's side produced a display full of positives after recent criticism about the team's style and reports linking former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho with the United job.
They started well and offered more zip and energy than their cumbersome hosts.
Courtois' flying save to keep out Martial's curling attempt was excellent, while United forced 10 corners before the end of the first half.
The visitors looked set for a rare win over Chelsea when Lingard displayed terrific balance and agility to break the deadlock with a sublime spin and shot inside the area.
However, United backed off after scoring and invited pressure, Costa pouncing from close range after a terrific Fabregas pass.
Instead of closing the gap on fourth place to four points, they now find themselves six points adrift.
Chelsea leave it late again
De Gea was at his magnificent best to keep out a thunderous attempt by Branislav Ivanovic and then Fabregas as Chelsea surged forward in the final quarter in search of an equaliser.
When Costa blazed over the bar after a free-kick it looked all up for the hosts.
Yet for the second league home game in a row, they rescued a point in stoppage time.
Hiddink's sixth draw in eight league games in charge leaves the defending champions seven points above the relegation zone with 13 games remaining.
Will Terry stay?
This was Chelsea's first game back at Stamford Bridge since captain John Terry announced he was set to leave at the end of the season.
There was no mention of Terry leaving in the captain's programme notes and Blues fans will still be hoping he may yet extend his stay.
They chanted his name throughout as Terry produced an assured performance at the heart of the defence, while he was denied a penalty when his goal-bound shot at the end of the first half struck the arm of Daley Blind.
Terry's importance to the team was underlined by Zouma's nasty-looking injury, the France international landing awkwardly on his right knee after volleying the ball away.
Man of the match - David de Gea (Manchester United)
What the managers said
Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink:
"I am happy with the reaction of the team. Manchester United did a good job in the first half and in the beginning of the second, they are not an easy team to beat.
"But we deserved a point. We dropped too far back after the first 20 minutes when they dominated us but later on we closed a little more.
"They made a beautiful goal - without good marking from our side - but after I think the team reacted very well."
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal:
"I feel we didn't reward ourselves with a victory because we were the better team. Until the last quarter we played very well and could have scored more goals. But you have to control the game better and we did not do that.
"It isn't a lack of concentration it is not being composed when you are defending. When we have the ball we have to keep the ball.
"You need to give the right pass at the right moment and we did not do that [before Chelsea scored]. Chelsea are a very good team and you play like we played and don't reward yourself, it is frustrating."
The stats you need to know
- Despite still being unbeaten under Guus Hiddink this season, Chelsea are winless in four consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since November 2012.
- Indeed, it is the first time they have ever drawn four consecutive home games in the Premier League.
- Jesse Lingard has scored three goals from his last four shots on target in the Premier League.
Both teams are in Premier League action on Saturday at different times of the day. While Chelsea entertain struggling Newcastle United (17:30 GMT), Manchester United travel to Wearside to face relegation-threatened Sunderland (12:45 GMT).
- 5ZoumaSubstituted forCahillat 59'minutes
- 21MaticSubstituted forPedroat 67'minutes
- 8OscarSubstituted forE Hazardat 55'minutes
- 19Diego Costa
- 10E Hazard
- 1de Gea
- 12SmallingBooked at 83mins
- 17BlindBooked at 63mins
- 27FellainiSubstituted forSchneiderlinat 79'minutes
- 35LingardBooked at 79minsSubstituted forDepayat 87'minutes
- 8MataSubstituted forHerreraat 90+5'minutes
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Chelsea 1, Manchester United 1.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Daley Blind.
Attempt saved. Diego Costa (Chelsea) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard.
Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Juan Mata.
Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.
Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United).
Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Goal! Chelsea 1, Manchester United 1. Diego Costa (Chelsea) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Diego Costa (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cesc Fàbregas.
Attempt missed. Diego Costa (Chelsea) header from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Willian with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Matteo Darmian (Manchester United).
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Manchester United. Memphis Depay replaces Jesse Lingard.
Attempt missed. Pedro (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Foul by Juan Mata (Manchester United).
Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Jesse Lingard.
Chris Smalling (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.
Hand ball by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).