Jan Vertonghen's first Premier League goal put Tottenham Hotspur joint third in the table following a 1-0 win over Swansea City at White Hart Lane.
The Belgian defender produced a composed finish when a free-kick was flicked into his path after 75 minutes as Tottenham finally wore down a resolute Swansea defence, though he strayed offside when the cross was first delivered.
A fourth win in five Premier League games sees Tottenham climb to fourth, level on points with Chelsea but with an inferior goal difference and having played a game more than their London rivals, who on Sunday lost in the final of the Club World Cup.
Back-to-back defeats prevented Swansea from climbing as high as fifth in the table, Michael Laudrup's side having failed to build on an impressive start to mount any kind of consistent pressure on the Tottenham goal.
Spurs were weakened by the loss of Gareth Bale to a hamstring injury but Scott Parker was on the bench for the first time this season after overcoming an Achilles problem. Swansea, meanwhile, welcomed back Ashley Williams from suspension but Pablo Hernandez was unavailable so Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer flanked the in-form Michu in attack.
Deploying Tottenham in a 4-4-2 formation against Swansea's three-man midfield of Ki Sung-yueng, Leon Britton and Jonathan De Guzman appeared a risky strategy by Andre Villas-Boas and initially the Welsh side were able to monopolise possession, their supporters even indulging in calls of 'ole' following every completed pass after less than six minutes of the game.
However, they were unable to feed Michu, scorer of 12 Premier League goals this season, with any regularity and were limited to little more than a half chance in the opening stages when Ki flicked on a corner through his legs and Chico Flores was unable to hit the target with a firm effort from a tight angle at the back post.
The Tottenham midfield gradually assumed more authority and, as Swansea became more careless in possession, the end product was a string of chances for the hosts. Michu was guilty of one such lapse for Swansea when he gifted the ball to Moussa Dembele, but the forward recovered to make an excellent block after the Spurs midfielder rolled the ball to Jermain Defoe with a backwards flick of his studs.
Spurs opened up the visiting defence repeatedly but found Swansea defenders Chico and Williams to be in resolute mood, the former denying Emmanuel Adebayor with a fine block and the latter preventing Defoe from getting on the end of a cross following superb interplay between Sandro and Aaron Lennon.
When Spurs did manage to bypass the home defence with a sensational piledriver from Kyle Walker from 25 yards - the chance coming after Britton had poked the ball into his path with an attempted clearance - Tremmel got lucky when blocking the effort with his shoulder and seeing William Gallas head wide when Spurs booted the ball back into the box.
Swansea, content to sit deep for much of the half rallied late on: De Guzman fired a shot just over the bar when finding space to the right of the box and Michu, exploiting a poor pass from Sandro, almost outsmarted Hugo Lloris with an outrageous effort from 45 yards which just dropped over the bar.
Just minutes after the restart Swansea went close to snatching the opening goal. Michu flicked the ball out wide to Routledge on the left wing and he jinked away from Gallas before seeing Dyer fail to get a proper connection to his gorgeous cross when unmarked from six yards out.
Spurs placed Swansea under pressure again but still the visiting defence held firm. Defoe rolled one effort just wide of the upright after controlling well in his stride but, having just replaced Dempsey with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Spurs were dealt a setback when an injury forced off Adebayor, with Andros Townsend on in his place.
However, just when it appeared the game was swinging away from Spurs, they took the lead when Vertonghen produced an accomplished first-time finish on the half volley, sweeping home a Walker free-kick that had been accidentally flicked on to him by Ben Davies. Replays, though, showed he was marginally offside.
Defoe could have killed the game off with two minutes remaining when he was played through on goal by Sigurdsson, but Tremmel raced off his line quickly to block the shot from the England international.
After Parker came on as a late substitute for his first appearance of the season, the game took on a rather chaotic form as Lloris came to punch away and clattered Michu, knocking the forward clean out. Referee Mike Dean mystifyingly played on and Spurs almost scored through Lennon, with Chico furious and Tottenham's unused substitute Jake Livermore booked in the argument that followed.
But after eight minutes of added time, Tottenham held on for a win that bolstered their Champions League aspirations.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ashley Williams (Swansea): The defender was desperately unlucky to be on the losing side as he made a succession of crucial blocks and important interceptions throughout the match.
TOTTENHAM: Lloris 6, Walker 6, Gallas 5, Vertonghen 7, Naughton 6, Sandro 7, Dembele 7, Lennon 7, Dempsey 6, Adebayor 6, Defoe 7. Subs: Sigurdsson 7, Townsend 6, Parker N/A.
SWANSEA: Tremmel 7, Tiendalli 6, Chico 8, Williams 9, Davies 6, Britton 7, Ki 5, De Guzman 6, Dyer 6, Routledge 7, Michu 6. Subs: Agustien 6, Moore 6, Graham 6.