Andre Villas Boas’ men had to come from a goal down to get the three points after the visitors started the brighter; Mario Balotelli converted after two minutes following excellent build up play from Sergio Aguero.
Raul Meireles managed to tie things up after 34 minutes, slotting home from close range after a great run and cross by former City attacker Daniel Sturridge.
The game changed on the hour mark, as Gael Clichy was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card for a mistimed challenge on Ramires.
With the game heading towards a draw, Chelsea were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minutes, as Joleon Lescott was adjudged to have handled a Sturridge shot; substitute Frank Lampard dispatched the spot kick to give The Blues an invaluable three points.
After the game victorious coach Villas Boas was delighted with his team’s display, and feels Chelsea’s title ambitions are still alive.
“Our objective was to shorten the distance to the leaders today, and we managed to do exactly that, but we don’t take extra flavour from being the first team to beat them,” he told Sky Sports.
“We needed to do our job to get our Premiership challenge back on track, and I think it’s pretty much alive now.
“I think the fact that also other teams won, Man Utd won, Arsenal won all of us are chasing now and all of them are putting pressure on Man City so a lot of team still competing in this league.
“Again December fixtures will be decisive, Tottenham still with a game in hand so it’s very hard at the moment,” he admitted.
Meanwhile City have lost their unbeaten Premier League record, but Mancini hopes his side can start another run in the near future.
“We can do nothing about losing the record. We are at the top and we knew that it was possible to lose one game.
“I think that tonight after the Chelsea game we should draw or win the next match. We have worked well until now and we should continue.
“I hope that we can go another 14 games without losing,” he concluded.
City’s lead at the top of the division is now only two points, and Chelsea have moved up to third, seven points adrift of the leaders.
By Gareth McKnight