Premier League - Torres and Ramires score as unconvincing Chelsea go second

Premier League, Stamford Bridge - Chelsea 2 (Torres 16, Ramires 35) Crystal Palace 1 (Chamakh 29)

Ramires scored his first Premier League goal of the season as Chelsea moved within two points of leaders Arsenal with an unconvincing 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Fernando Torres ended an early period of Palace resistance when he bundled home the ball on the rebound on 16 minutes after visiting goalkeeper Julian Speroni had tipped a Willian effort from distance onto a post. It was only the Spanish forward's second league goal of the season.

The visiting side equalised with their first real attack of the match 13 minutes later courtesy of the outstanding Marouane Chamakh, who gave John Terry the slip to tuck a volley beyond home goalkeeper Petr Cech from 12 yards out.

Ramires restored the home side's lead ten minutes before half-time by driving a volley into the net from distance after he had been picked out by Eden Hazard.

Palace were the better side in the second period, but could not find the equaliser their energy merited as John Terry knocked an effort by visiting substitute Stuart O'Keefe effort off his line as the home defence were forced to defend frantically.

Chelsea are second and could go top of the Premier League on Christmas Day with a win at leaders Arsenal a week on Monday depending on results elsewhere.

KEY MOMENTS

16' - TORRES NETS FOR CHELSEA: Torres scores for Chelsea. Willian sees a shot come back off a post from distance, and Torres reacted quickest to slide the ball into the net on the rebound. Decent touch by Speroni to divert it onto the post.

22' - MATA MAGIC: Marouane Chamakh has scored the equaliser with a superb effort. Great volley from 12 yards. Superb cross from Ward. 1-1 here. Marouane Chamakh in the mood at the moment.

26' - ESSIEN EFFORT: Hazard with some intelligent play out wide. Picks out Essien, but he drags a powerful shot a few yards wide of goal from distance. We remain at 1-0 to Chelsea.

29' - CHAMAKH VOLLEY: Marouane Chamakh has scored the equaliser with a superb effort. Great volley from 12 yards. Superb cross from Ward. 1-1 here. Marouane Chamakh in the mood at the moment.

35' - RAMIRES RESTORES LEAD: Willian picks out Hazard, who picks out Ramires. Glorious hit from 22 yards. No chance for Speroni. Terrific move. And that is a fabulous finish. Chelsea lead 2-1.

70' - DELANEY HEADS OVER: Puncheon throws over another free-kick. Again Chelsea fail to convince as Delaney nods over the bar on the run at the back post

75' - TERRY PRESERVES HOME ADVANTAGE: Chance for Ramires to finish off Palace once and for all. But he can't come up with the pass for Oscar and Speroni dives on the loose ball. Should have been all over there and then.

77' - DELANEY CHANCE: Delaney heads wide at the near post from the Puncheon corner. Torres marking fresh air when Delaney got that header in.

84' - RAMIRES BLUNDER: Chance for Ramires to finish off Palace once and for all. But he can't come up with the pass for Oscar and Speroni dives on the loose ball. Should have been all over there and then.

88' - SPERONI TO THE RESCUE: Two magnificent stops from Speroni to keep out the effort by Schurrle before getting back on his feet to make the stop from Demba Ba. Stunning piece of goalkeeping.

KEY STATS

Chelsea extend their club record run of scoring at least twice to 13 consecutive top flight home matches, the first club to achieve this in the Premier League since Man United (Mar-Dec 2000).

Ten of Ramires’ 13 Premier League goals for Chelsea have come at Stamford Bridge, including each of the last six.

Marouane Chamakh scores in three consecutive league appearances for the first time in his career. He had never previously managed it in French or English league football.

Fernando Torres has been on the winning side in all ten Premier League home matches in which he has scored in for Chelsea.

Chelsea remain unbeaten in all 68 Premier League home matches under Jose Mourinho (W53-D15).

Chelsea stretch their unbeaten Premier League home run to 17 matches, their longest since December 2008 to February 2010 (24 matches).

Infostrada

MAN OF THE MATCH

Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) - A third goal in three straight Premier League outings. Chamakh never stopped running all afternoon, and seems to be back to his very best form as a forward.

TALKING POINT: Why do Chelsea's defence seem incredibly nervous in defending dead-ball situations? Who knows, but is something that has to be addressed by the Chelsea coaching staff. The defence feels like an accident waiting to happen. if Damien Delaney had been a bit more clinical with headers, Palace could easily have escaped with a point here.

MATCHCAST: PLAYER RATINGS AND FULL COMMENTARY

PLAYER RATINGS

Chelsea: Cech 7, Ivanovic 6, Luiz 6, Terry 7, Azpilicueta 6, Essien 6, Ramires 7, Willian 6, Mata 6, Hazard 6, Torres 6..subs: Oscar 6, Schurrle 6, Ba 6

Crystal Palace: Speroni 8, Mariappa 7, Delaney 7, Gabbidon 7, Ward 7, Jedinak 7, Dikgacoi 5, Bannan 5, Puncheon 7, Chamakh 8, Jerome 5..subs: O'Keefe 7, Gayle 7, Bolasie 7

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