Petr Cech made a string of second-half saves as Chelsea hung on to edge past a rejuvenated Crystal Palace and move within two points of leaders Arsenal.

Fernando Torres tapped in to put the Blues ahead at Stamford Bridge after Willian's shot rebounded off a post.

Palace equalised via Marouane Chamakh's volley from a Joel Ward cross before Ramires curled Chelsea back in front.

Chamakh in the goals

For the first time in his career, Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh has scored in three consecutive league appearances

Cech denied Jason Puncheon, Damien Delaney and, crucially, Stuart O'Keefe as the hosts scraped to victory.

That said, the home side had two glorious late chances to relieve the tension, only for Ramires to miscue on both occasions.

Boss Jose Mourinho said Chelsea were "in trouble" after losing at Stoke last weekend, but they are now within touching distance of the top.

While it is a contrasting picture for Palace, who remain in the relegation zone, they should take heart from another encouraging performance.

The improved organisation and confidence they have shown since Tony Pulis took over as manager last month was evident throughout - and they will be disappointed that a sequence of three wins in four games and four clean sheets in five matches has come to an end.

Mourinho enjoying Chelsea 'transition'

With a well-drilled back four, the calming influence of captain Mile Jedinak in midfield and a two-pronged attack in Chamakh and Cameron Jerome, the Eagles posed a constant threat.

But their impressive work was undone when Willian was given too much time and space to produce a low strike that Julian Speroni pushed on to a post, Torres reacting quickly to convert the rebound.

Branislav Ivanovic then drilled narrowly wide for the hosts from an acute angle after collecting a Juan Mata backheel and bursting into the box.

But Palace maintained their composure as Chelsea struggled to establish a consistent tempo, and they were rewarded when Ward's left-wing centre was guided into the bottom corner by Chamakh.

The equaliser was deserved but Chelsea's creative players gradually started to increase their influence - Willian, Mata, Eden Hazard and the ever-energetic Ramires linking effectively with lone striker Torres.

Pulis banks on Palace home form

It was Willian and Hazard who combined to tee up Ramires and he restored the hosts' advantage with a superb bending effort that Speroni, unsighted by defenders, could do nothing to keep out.

Willian squandered a chance to extend the lead before half-time and it was Palace who rallied after the break, Cech beating away a Puncheon shot before saving Delaney's header.

They continued to push for an equaliser as Chelsea continued to labour - even with Oscar now on the pitch - and substitute Yannick Bolasie and Delaney headed off target from promising positions.

Cech made a brilliant one-handed stop to thwart O'Keefe before Ivanovic scrambled clear, before Delaney again went close with a header.

The home fans grew restless and their team responded, Ramires scuffing a pass that would have meant a tap-in for a team-mate and shooting wide after Speroni denied Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba.

But Chelsea came through and can now focus on Tuesday's League Cup quarter-final at Sunderland.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Chelsea

  • 01 Cech
  • 02 Ivanovic Booked
  • 28 Azpilicueta
  • 05 Essien Booked
  • 04 David Luiz
  • 26 Terry
  • 22 Willian (Schürrle - 82' )
  • 07 Ramires
  • 09 Torres (Ba - 84' )
  • 10 Mata (Oscar - 62' )
  • 17 Hazard

Substitutes

  • 03 Cole
  • 08 Lampard
  • 11 Oscar
  • 14 Schürrle
  • 19 Ba
  • 23 Schwarzer
  • 29 Eto'o

Crystal Palace

  • 01 Speroni
  • 03 Mariappa
  • 02 Ward
  • 15 Jedinak
  • 19 Gabbidon
  • 27 Delaney
  • 46 Bannan (Bolasie - 51' )
  • 08 Dikgacoi (O'Keefe - 26' )
  • 30 Jerome
  • 29 Chamakh Booked (Gayle - 88' )
  • 13 Puncheon

Substitutes

  • 04 Parr
  • 06 Campaña
  • 07 Bolasie
  • 12 O'Keefe
  • 16 Gayle
  • 20 Williams
  • 34 Price
Ref: Mark Clattenburg
Att: 41,608

Match Stats

Shots

16 10

On target

7 5

Corners

3 1

Fouls

13 7

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Chelsea 2, Crystal Palace 1.

90:00 +4:15 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Chelsea 2, Crystal Palace 1.

90:00 +0:49

Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

90:00 +0:49

Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:41

Attempt blocked. David Luiz (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

89:49

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the right wing.

89:49

Foul by Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace).

88:36

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

88:36

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

87:48

Attempt missed. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

87:47

Attempt saved. Demba Ba (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

87:45

Attempt saved. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ramires.

87:10 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Crystal Palace. Dwight Gayle replaces Marouane Chamakh.

86:55

Demba Ba (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

86:55

Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

84:43

Foul by Andre Schürrle (Chelsea).

84:43

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:46 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Demba Ba replaces Fernando Torres.

83:12

Attempt missed. Andre Schürrle (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

81:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Andre Schürrle replaces Willian.

77:47

Foul by Fernando Torres (Chelsea).

77:47

Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:10

Attempt missed. Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jason Puncheon with a cross following a corner.

76:39

Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Oscar.

76:26

Attempt blocked. Stuart O'Keefe (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from very close range is blocked.

76:24

Attempt blocked. Stuart O'Keefe (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

74:42

Offside, Chelsea. Michael Essien tries a through ball, but Fernando Torres is caught offside.

74:41

Attempt missed. Michael Essien (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

69:08

Attempt missed. Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Jason Puncheon with a cross following a set piece situation.

68:28 Booking

Booking Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

68:18

Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).

68:18

Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

64:23

Offside, Chelsea. Eden Hazard tries a through ball, but Fernando Torres is caught offside.

62:27

Attempt missed. Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Jason Puncheon with a cross.

61:56 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Oscar replaces Juan Mata.

61:08

Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).

61:08

Adrian Mariappa (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:37

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Adrian Mariappa.

57:57

Attempt saved. Damien Delaney (Crystal Palace) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jason Puncheon with a cross.

57:12 Booking

Booking Michael Essien (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

56:51

Foul by Michael Essien (Chelsea).

56:51

Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

53:40

Attempt saved. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marouane Chamakh.

52:39

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

52:39

Stuart O'Keefe (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:49

Attempt missed. Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Stuart O'Keefe.

50:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Crystal Palace. Yannick Bolasie replaces Barry Bannan.

48:50

Attempt missed. Juan Mata (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

48:00

Attempt blocked. Juan Mata (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Willian.

47:42

Attempt blocked. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

45:00

Second Half begins Chelsea 2, Crystal Palace 1.

45:00 +2:11 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Chelsea 2, Crystal Palace 1.

44:53

Foul by Ramires (Chelsea).

44:53

Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:54

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Barry Bannan.

42:11 Booking

Booking Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

42:09

Michael Essien (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

42:09

Foul by Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace).

41:33

Juan Mata (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

41:33

Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

40:38

Offside, Crystal Palace. Julian Speroni tries a through ball, but Cameron Jerome is caught offside.

40:12

Attempt saved. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

37:13

Foul by David Luiz (Chelsea).

37:13

Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

35:34

Offside, Crystal Palace. Julian Speroni tries a through ball, but Cameron Jerome is caught offside.

34:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 2, Crystal Palace 1. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

28:51 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 1, Crystal Palace 1. Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joel Ward with a cross.

27:38

Attempt saved. Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

26:15

Attempt missed. Michael Essien (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

25:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Crystal Palace. Stuart O'Keefe replaces Kagisho Dikgacoi because of an injury.

20:47

Attempt missed. Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Juan Mata.

18:39

Hand ball by Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace).

17:30

Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).

17:30

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

15:37 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Chelsea 1, Crystal Palace 0. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

15:35

Attempt saved. Willian (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Eden Hazard.

14:37

Attempt saved. Ramires (Chelsea) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

9:28

Foul by Juan Mata (Chelsea).

9:28

Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the left wing.

8:12

Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Kagisho Dikgacoi.

8:03

Fernando Torres (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.

8:03

Foul by Daniel Gabbidon (Crystal Palace).

5:27

David Luiz (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

5:27

Foul by Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace).

4:38

Foul by Juan Mata (Chelsea).

4:38

Barry Bannan (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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