LONDON (AP) — An unconvincing Chelsea beat relegation-threatened Crystal Palace 2-1 Saturday to provisionally move second in the Premier League, only two points behind leader Arsenal.
Fernando Torres scored in the 16th minute at Stamford Bridge before Joel Ward set up Marouane Chamakh to equalize for the visitors in the 29th.
Six minutes later, Ramires grabbed the winner with a right-footed shot from the edge of the area to the top left corner.
Jose Mourinho's team could go top of the league over Christmas with victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Dec. 23.
Torres netted his second Premier League goal of the season — only the fifth by a Chelsea striker and the Spaniard's first since his winner in the October defeat of Manchester City.
While Chelsea's strikers are struggling for goals, Chamakh's convincing streak continued as he scored for a third straight game and showed some of the failings present in Mourinho's defense.
Palace, which had won its previous two games, had parity for just six minutes as Ramires struck after being set up by Eden Hazard, to restore the hosts' advantage.
Those expecting Chelsea to romp away with the points and fire a warning to both Arsenal and Manchester City were mistaken and the hosts were indebted to Petr Cech when the goalkeeper saved from substitute Stuart O'Keefe.
Despite the shaking foundations, still Stamford Bridge remains a fortress, as Chelsea extended its unbeaten home run in the league to 16 games and Mourinho's home league record to 68 undefeated.
Torres and Ramires were included as two of five changes following the unconvincing midweek defeat of Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League.
Michael Essien, Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta, preferred to Ashley Cole, all started against a Palace side showing one enforced change from the 2-0 defeat of Cardiff, with Adrian Mariappa replacing Dean Moxey at right back.
Palace harassed and harangued Chelsea early on, so much so that the Blues could not string a meaningful period of possession together.