The clash between the two sides on November 26 at Old Trafford continues to build in importance as United maintained their three point lead thanks to their 1-0 win over Blackburn, their sixth successive victory in the league.
But it was Chelsea who looked to be the side in red hot form as they bounced back from last week’s defeat to Tottenham to demolish Watford 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.
The Ivorian's hat-trick which took his current season total to 14 prompted Manager Jose Mourinho to describe him as the best striker in Europe.
"In this moment I don't see another striker in Europe playing and scoring like him," said Mourinho.
"I don't like to use the word unstoppable, but he is great in every aspect of his game. I have never seen a better Drogba than now."
All eyes on the ball
United should also have recorded a comfortable win, however star striker Wayne Rooney missed a number of simple chances which meant that Sir Alex Ferguson’s side had to be satisfied with Louis Saha’s 64th minute strike.
"We've played a lot of good stuff lately and maybe we were not as good tonight," admitted midfielder Ryan Giggs.
"But sometimes you have to dig out results and you can't complain with 1-0 at a place like this, it is always hard to get a result here."
In other matches, journeyman striker Chris Sutton’s first Premiership goal for Aston Villa gave his side all three points over Everton at Goodison Park.
The win lifted Villa into third place, while Everton’s miserable afternoon could have a sting in the tail as they wait on an injury report for midfielder Tim Cahill who was carried off after a collision with team mate Lee Carsley.
|Somewhere under that is Louis Saha|
Villa's rise up the table was helped by Bolton being held to a 2-2 draw at Sheffield United.
United jumped out of the relegation zone after fighting back from 2-0 down to secure an unlikely point.
Middlesbrough were another side leaping up the table after a late winner from super sub Massimo Maccarone eased the pressure on manager Gareth Southgate and ended the brieg revival of West Ham.
Evergreen striker Andy Cole earned Portsmouth a 1-1 with Fulham, after the former Fulham striker cancelled out Zat Knight’s opener.
Wigan condemned bottom side Charlton to their eighth defeat of the season with a 3-2 win at the JJB Stadium.
Newcastle also remained in the drop zone after their goalless draw with Manchester City.
In Sunday's games, Arsenal entertain Liverpool at The Emirates while Reading host Tottenham.