After a torrid Christmas the Blues started the New Year off in style in the Midlands with Lampard’s last gasp winner proving to be a welcome relief for manager Andre Villas-Boas. Defeat against Aston Villa 48 hours prior saw the level of pressure on the shoulders young Portuguese coach get considerably heavier as their hopes of a title challenge in 2012 evaporated before the year had even begun. They responded in style at Molineux with Ramires giving them the lead after a goalless first half before Stephen Ward equalised with six minutes remaining with the game looking destined to end level. But Lampard popped up with just a minute of normal time remaining to put the Blues back into contention for a top four finish.
December had proved a fruitless month for Chelsea taking six points from a possible 18 and that run looked like continuing as Jose Boswinga almost gifted Mick McCarthy’s side the lead. His sloppy back pass was seized upon by David Jones but the midfielder couldn’t connect properly with his effort before the visitors started to get on top. Fernando Torres was their standout player on his return to the starting line up and almost set up goals for Lampard and Juan Mata in the early stages. Firstly the Spaniard released Mata only for the playmaker to be thwarted by Wayne Hennessey before Richard Stearman did enough to cut out another quality through ball from Torres as tried to play in Lampard. The striker then attempted to lob Hennessey from 60-yards as his confidence grew in an impressive first half with Ramires also shoot wide. The game sparked into life just before the break with Lampard finding himself lucky to still be on the field after a studs up challenge on winger Adam Hamill.
Wanderers enjoyed their best period of the game after that with Roger Johnson and Ward heading wide after two quality deliveries from Hamill as the hosts ended the half on top. It was the visitors who started the brighter after the break and they took the lead in the 54th minute with Ramires hammering the ball into the top corner from Mata’s corner. The Brazilian almost doubled the lead soon after testing Hennessey from the right after powerful burst from midfield before Wolves equalised with just six minutes to go. Ward was the man on hand to beat Petr Cech after Matt Jarvis’ cross had been headed back into the penalty area by Steven Fletcher for the midfielder who made no mistake from close range. With the game heading towards an even conclusion there was one last twist in the tale as Lampard connected with Ashley Coles excellent cross to steer the ball past Hennessey and give Chelsea a much needed win.