Chelsea and Tottenham played out a stalemate at Stamford Bridge that will perhaps leave the visitors as the happier side as they maintained their five-point advantage in the battle for a Champions League spot.
The nature of the contest reflected the suspect form of both sides going into the match, and though both sides hit the woodwork, Tottenham may feel they should have got the win after a much-improves second-half display.
The first quarter of the match was caginess in the extreme, as neither side mounted anything close to a meaningful attack.
Chelsea began to exert some sort of pressure around the half-hour mark and had a penalty shout when Frank Lampard went over in the box under challenge from William Gallas. On balance the referee made the right decision, as it appeared more an accidental coming together.
The closest we came to a goal came in the dying second of the first half as a scramble in the box saw Rafael van der Vaart's shot saved well by Cech, before his followed was stopped superbly by Ashley Cole. Emmanuel Adebayor then headed over from close range.
As the second-half progressed Tottenham began to emerge as the better side, and they started to pass the ball better and begin to approach the attacking verve demonstrated before their recent slump.
And they created another good opportunity to open the scoring in the 56th minute.
A good run form Bale, saw the sprightly winger smartly pick out Kyle Walker, but the right-back's shot was always slicing wide of the near post.
Yet Chelsea came desperately close to opening the scoring themselves in the 72nd minute, through Juan Mata.
From fully-30 yards out, the Spaniard's curling free kick struck the bottom of the post with Brad Friedel unmoved.
But as the last 10 minutes approached the visitors had two great chances to grab a priceless victory.
First, Adebayor seemed certain to score after rounding Cech on the edge of the area. But the striker scuffed his shot into the ground, allowing Gary Cahill to make a fine saving block.
Immediately following that incident, Bale crashed a header against the bar after being left unmarked in front of goal form a corner.
The game ran out scoreless, leaving Chelsea with a mountain to climb if they are to avoid the unimaginable scenario of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since Roman Abramovich began splashing his millions on the club.