Chelsea striker Drogba celebrates his match-winning brace at the Molineux
By Sam Lyon
Didier Drogba struck twice to take his season's total to 25 as Chelsea sunk Wolves to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to four points.
The Ivory Coast frontman made the most of two rare chances in an unconvincing away display, sliding home his first from Yuri Zhirkov's pinpoint cross.
Drogba then latched on to Petr Cech's long kick for his second to wrap it up.
But Wolves will feel hard done by, with Cech twice denying Adlene Guedioura to render a brave home display fruitless.
And while the hosts should certainly take heart from a performance that once again proves they can live with the best sides at the Molineux on their day, another defeat means they remain perilously close to the drop zone.
For Chelsea, though, victory will be just what boss Carlo Ancelotti will have wanted after another week of front-page allegations and controversy surrounding the Stamford Bridge outfit.
Man Utd result spurred us on - Ancelotti
The win also serves to reignite their title charge after a decidedly patchy run of form, especially on the back of rivals Manchester United's defeat by Everton earlier in the day.
Not that many observers will look back on this match as a particularly convincing Chelsea victory by any stretch of the imagination.
Anyone who witnessed Wolves' displays in their draws with Liverpool and Aston Villa, or their win over Tottenham, at the Molineux this season will have been less than surprised by their approach.
Packed across midfield and deep in defence, Wolves hassled and harried, suffocating Chelsea's creative players and denying the front-runners space and time to manoeuvre in attack.
And for much of the first half, the hosts' game plan worked to perfection. With Chelsea looking increasingly bereft of ideas, it was Mick McCarthy's men looking the more threatening on the odd occasion they sprung a counter-attack.
Kevin Doyle, in particular, was a threat and he twice stung the palms of Blues keeper Cech, once with a low effort after a decent run across the box and then again with a snap-shot that the Czech Republic international did well to turn around his near post.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a side boasting the second lowest tally in the league, though, Wolves failed to turn their half chances into goals - and when Chelsea finally put together a move of real incision and class they were made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge.
The impressive Zhirkov was the creator, exchanging a neat one-two with Michael Ballack on the edge of the box before crossing low for Drogba to complete the simplest of tap-ins at the far post in the 40th minute.
It was a rare moment of cohesion going forward for Chelsea, who have certainly lost an element of sparkle in recent weeks with only one win away from home in six league matches.
However, the opening goal failed to fire the visitors to greater heights at the start of the second half and only the commanding presence of Cech kept them ahead.
First a cross from Matt Jarvis floated to the onrushing and unmarked Guedioura at the back post, only for the midfielder's crashing volley to be beaten away by Cech.
We let Chelsea off the hook - McCarthy
And then Kevin Foley brought an even better stop from the Blues keeper when he latched on to an error from John Terry to fire goalwards, his shot smothered bravely by Cech, Guedioura seeing his follow-up cleared.
Chelsea skipper Terry, of course, has been at the heart of the stories splashed across the tabloids in recent weeks.
But while Ashley Cole was spared the ignominy of the Molineux taunts by injury, there was no such respite for Terry - and it was another less than convincing performance from the former England captain.
As with in the first half, though, Chelsea proved their most dangerous when on the back foot.
However, if the first goal was all about 'total' football, the second was far more direct - and how that, in itself, underlines the Blues' all-round threat this season.
Drogba was again the dagger in the Wolves defenders' hearts, latching on to Cech's booming goal kick, nodding round home keeper Marcus Hahnemann with his first touch and tapping in with his second.
The hosts continued to battle valiantly thereafter but, in truth, their spirit had been broken.
Doyle curled harmlessly wide and Terry cleared Greg Halford's long throw off the line - though, as it was direct from the throw, it would not have counted anyway - but the remaining 20 minutes were comfortable for Chelsea.
And so the Londoners made it four Premier League wins over Wolves in four matches to make the most of Manchester United's earlier slip-up and ensure they remain in pole position in the title race.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "I've just had a right chew at the lads in the dressing-room because we've lost a game that we shouldn't have.
We've let Chelsea off the hook today and that's what has annoyed me. We had them in that second half, we had them. We created chances, didn't take them, and then conceded a sloppy second goal that has killed us.
"Chelsea are the champions-elect and we've matched them in all departments today except putting the ball in the back of the net."
90:00+3:03 The referee blows for the end of the match.
90:00+2:01 Centre by Adlene Guedioura.
90:00+1:33 The ball is crossed by Joe Cole, clearance made by Ronald Zubar.
90:00+0:44 Shot from 30 yards by Adlene Guedioura. Blocked by John Terry.
89:05 The offside flag is raised against Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Indirect free kick taken by Petr Cech.
88:55 The ball is crossed by Greg Halford, clearance by Branislav Ivanovic.
86:33 Unfair challenge on John Terry by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.
86:06 Adlene Guedioura fouled by Florent Malouda, the ref awards a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
85:34 Joe Cole takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Ronald Zubar.
84:15 Branislav Ivanovic challenges Kevin Doyle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Karl Henry restarts play with the free kick.
81:11 Nicolas Anelka produces a cross, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Didier Drogba goes harmlessly over the
80:27 A cross is delivered by Didier Drogba, Marcus Hahnemann manages to make a clearance.
79:21 Florent Malouda takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Kevin Doyle.
78:50 Unfair challenge on Geoffrey Mujangi Bia by Michael Ballack results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Stephen Ward.
78:06 Kevin Doyle has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
75:53 Substitution Sylvan Ebanks-Blake joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Jones.
75:53 Substitution Kevin Foley goes off and Greg Halford comes on.
75:53 Substitution Geoffrey Mujangi Bia joins the action as a substitute, replacing Matthew Jarvis.
71:56 Ronald Zubar challenges Didier Drogba unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paulo Ferreira restarts play with the free kick.
71:14 Karl Henry challenges Mikel unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Florent Malouda.
69:40 Matthew Jarvis delivers the ball, clearance made by John Terry.
69:27 Stephen Ward sends in a cross, Jeffrey Bruma gets a block in.
68:16 Ronald Zubar produces a cross, save by Petr Cech.
66:28 Assist on the goal came from Petr Cech.
66:28 GOAL - Didier Drogba:Wolverhampton 0 - 2 Chelsea Goal scored by Didier Drogba from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-2 Chelsea.
64:45 Shot from just outside the area by Nicolas Anelka misses to the right of the target.
63:23 Free kick taken by Matthew Jarvis. The ball is swung over by David Jones, clearance made by Joe Cole.
63:23 Booking Michael Ballack receives a yellow card.
63:19 Jeffrey Bruma concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Jarvis.
62:39 Kevin Foley takes a shot. Brilliant save by Petr Cech. Adlene Guedioura takes the chance to get an effort at goal. John Terry
manages to make a clearance.
61:52 Mikel gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Jones. Matthew Jarvis takes the direct free kick. David Jones
produces a cross, Florent Malouda manages to make a clearance.
58:54 Florent Malouda fouled by Adlene Guedioura, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by John Terry.
56:27 Unfair challenge on David Jones by Florent Malouda results in a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann takes the direct free kick.
55:26 Substitution Jeffrey Bruma joins the action as a substitute, replacing Yuri Zhirkov.
54:57 Shot by Adlene Guedioura from 12 yards. Save made by Petr Cech.
52:06 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Adlene Guedioura by Michael Ballack. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
49:50 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ronald Zubar on John Terry. Free kick taken by Florent Malouda.
48:41 The ball is sent over by Paulo Ferreira, save by Marcus Hahnemann.
46:16 The ball is swung over by Matthew Jarvis.
45:41 Florent Malouda gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adlene Guedioura. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+0:56 The ref blows to signal half-time.
43:48 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Christophe Berra by Joe Cole. Direct free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
43:40 A cross is delivered by Didier Drogba, Christophe Berra manages to make a clearance.
41:47 Foul by David Jones on Florent Malouda, free kick awarded. John Terry restarts play with the free kick.
39:16 Assist on the goal came from Yuri Zhirkov.
39:16 GOAL - Didier Drogba:Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Chelsea A goal is scored by Didier Drogba from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-1 Chelsea.
38:56 Matthew Jarvis sends in a cross, Petr Cech makes a save.
36:15 Effort on goal by Stephen Ward from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
35:08 Joe Cole fouled by Adlene Guedioura, the ref awards a free kick. Joe Cole restarts play with the free kick.
33:39 The ball is swung over by Joe Cole, blocked by Christophe Berra. Florent Malouda takes the inswinging corner, clearance by
32:41 Karl Henry challenges Michael Ballack unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paulo Ferreira takes the direct free kick.
30:26 Branislav Ivanovic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle. Karl Henry restarts play with the free kick.
David Jones has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses left.
29:57 Matthew Jarvis takes a shot. Save made by Petr Cech.
29:02 Kevin Foley fouled by Joe Cole, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ronald Zubar.
26:37 Outswinging corner taken by Florent Malouda from the left by-line, Kevin Doyle makes a clearance. Shot on goal by Michael
Ballack from just inside the area goes over the target.
25:29 Unfair challenge on Kevin Foley by Nicolas Anelka results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by David Jones, Petr
Cech makes a save.
23:27 Foul by Adlene Guedioura on Joe Cole, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Florent Malouda, clearance made by Kevin Foley.
21:52 Foul by Mikel on Adlene Guedioura, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Ronald Zubar.
21:13 Paulo Ferreira produces a cross.
20:43 Michael Ballack fouled by Adlene Guedioura, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Mikel.
19:14 Kevin Doyle produces a drilled right-footed shot from 6 yards. Save by Petr Cech. Corner from the right by-line taken by David
Jones, Branislav Ivanovic makes a clearance.
16:00 Effort from inside the area by Kevin Foley misses to the right of the target.
15:13 The ball is swung over by Yuri Zhirkov, blocked by Jody Craddock. Michael Ballack has shot on goal from just outside the box
which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
14:54 Michael Ballack fouled by David Jones, the ref awards a free kick. Mikel takes the direct free kick.
14:29 Kevin Doyle takes a shot. Save by Petr Cech.
12:41 The assistant referee signals for offside against Didier Drogba. Free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
11:26 Paulo Ferreira challenges Adlene Guedioura unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by
Matthew Jarvis from left wing.
10:35 The ball is swung over by Yuri Zhirkov, blocked by Jody Craddock. Florent Malouda decides to take a short corner, The ball
is sent over by Joe Cole, clearance made by Kevin Foley.
8:21 A cross is delivered by Paulo Ferreira, blocked by Stephen Ward.
8:05 Foul by Karl Henry on Didier Drogba, free kick awarded. Mikel takes the free kick.
6:15 The ball is swung over by Nicolas Anelka.
3:35 Yuri Zhirkov sends in a cross, Michael Ballack has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right
of the target.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.