Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterDecember 14, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  Ramires of Chelsea celebrates scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on December 14, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace

Ramires moved Chelsea two points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal with his winner in a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

But Jose Mourinho's team were made to sweat for the win after Marouane Chamakh cancelled out Fernando Torres' opener in the first half.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech was kept busy in the second half which saw Jason Puncheon produce an impressive display, setting up a number of chances for the visitors.

But the Blues were also guilty of missing chances with Ramires, Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba all denied by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

John Terry needed to be alert early on after Cesar Azpilicueta lost possession, and the Blues captain denied Cameron Jerome with a sliding tackle in the area.

In the 16th minute, Chelsea took the lead through Torres. A Willian shot was well saved by Speroni, but the effort came back off the post and dropped for the Blues striker to slot home the opener.

It was all Chelsea now, and Branislav Ivanovic fired just wide of the post after a surging run into the Crystal Palace penalty box.

Palace were forced into an early change when injured midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi was replaced by Stuart O'Keefe.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien was in good form in the early stages, and he went close in the 27th minute with a shot that flew just wide of Speroni's goal.

Unbelievably, though, Chelsea were pulled back in the 28th minute through former Arsenal striker Chamakh.

Puncheon played the ball out to defender Joel Ward, and his cross was met on the volley by Chamakh for his third goal in as many matches under Tony Pulis.

But it did not take long for Chelsea to restore their lead, and Ramires fired home in the 36th minute after collecting a pass from Eden Hazard on the edge of the Palace area.

Chelsea continued the second period as they left off in the first, with Juan Mata going close.

However, Palace reminded the Blues that they were still in the game as Jerome lifted his effort high and over Cech's crossbar, while Puncheon forced a good save from the Chelsea No. 1.

Cech was called into action again minutes later when he saved well from a Damien Delaney header following Puncheon's cross into the area.

Nerves among the home crowd were frayed again with Puncheon proving the danger man with a great cross to the far post where substitute Yannick Bolasie heads the ball wide instead of opting to take a touch.

Delaney missed another chance in the 78th minute when his header from another Puncheon cross flew wide of Cech's goal.

Ramires squandered a gilt-edged chance in the closing minutes before both Schurrle and Ba were denied by Speroni. 

Player ratings

Fernando Torres A-

Some good work from the Chelsea striker throughout the match. He deserved his opening goal for the Blues.

Eden Hazard A+

Seemingly involved in everything Chelsea were doing up front, and a constant threat to the Crystal Palace backline.

But the Belgium international's approach play was not rewarded by goals scored from his accurate passes.

Marouane Chamakh B+

It might come as a surprise to some Arsenal supporters, but the Palace striker is in some good form, and he deserved his goal.

That is three goals in three matches for the Moroccan, who worked hard for Pulis and the Palace team.

Post-match reaction

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis, via

We were a little on the back foot in the first half but in the second we pushed up and to be in the game for 94 minutes is testament to the effort.

The important thing is that the lads keep believing we have got a chance and keep playing with that commitment.

The lads have bought in to what we’re trying to do and I always try to galvanise the spirit in a football club.


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