Frank Lampard scored a hat-trick as Chelsea thrashed bottom side Bolton on an afternoon to forget for Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
Former Bolton loanee Daniel Sturridge headed home after only 90 seconds before Lampard swept home the second.
Two errors from Bogdan allowed the pair to make it 4-0 by half-time before Dedryck Boyata headed home a second-half consolation.
But Lampard restored the four-goal advantage with a close-range finish.
The emphatic win moved Andre Villas-Boas' men back into third place above surprise package Newcastle and three points behind Manchester United and Manchester City.
Lampard stole the show with a vintage performance to silence some of his recent critics.
The 33-year-old, who was dropped from the England team last month and also found himself struggling to break into the Chelsea starting XI , caused problems for the home side throughout with his trademark forward runs.
- Frank Lampard has overtaken 1930s legend George Mills as Chelsea's fifth highest league goalscorer, with 119
- Lampard's hat-trick was his third in the Premier League
- Defeat for Bolton means it is their worst league start for 109 years
And the Premier League's all-time top-scoring midfielder proved he has not lost the knack of being in the right place at the right time with a trio of clinical finishes.
Bolton's goal was the first they have scored against Chelsea at the Reebok Stadium in nine successive defeats.
And with Bolton suffering a wretched run of five straight home defeats - their worst run in 109 years - Chelsea fans would have been forgiven for expecting a comfortable win.
But surely they did not anticipate the ease with which their team raced into an almost impregnable half-time lead.
Without the suspended Fernando Torres , Villas-Boas brought in Didier Drogba and Sturridge and his players responded with a majestic attacking display.
Bolton's defenders should have been fully aware of the threat posed by Sturridge after he scored eight goals in a 12-match loan spell at the Reebok last season but they left him unmarked to powerfully head home Juan Mata's corner with less than two minutes on the clock.
Chelsea dominated the opening 20 minutes as they tore Bolton apart with their quick movement and incisive passing.
Then Sturridge turned provider when his square pass was confidently drilled home by Lampard on his 350th Chelsea appearance.
The home fans, not to mention Bolton boss Owen Coyle, looked shell-shocked as the visitors raced into their two-goal advantage.
But much worse was to follow in a madcap three minutes just before the half-hour mark.
First Bogdan, making his first Premier League start of the season in place of the injured Jussi Jaaskelainen, weakly palmed Sturridge's fierce shot into the net.
And moments later he could only parry a strike from David Luiz, who Bolton had allowed to saunter towards their goal from his own half, into the path of Lampard to slam home from close range.
Coyle was left with the momentous task of lifting his players during the half-time break - but whatever he said clearly had some effect with Boyata heading home Martin Petrov's free kick within 60 seconds of the restart.
However, any glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished when Lampard bagged Chelsea's fifth - for the sixth hat-trick of his career - after exchanging passes with Drogba.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle: "We gave ourselves absolutely no chance early in the game - in the first 90 seconds we've switched off at a set piece and allowed a free header which costs us a goal.
"I think we could have defended the second goal better because we had enough people back.
"Adam Bogdan is a young goalkeeper who we know will have a terrific career.
"But he knows he's had a difficult day today - the third and fourth goals should have been easily mopped up. That gave us an absolute mountain to climb."
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +0:28
Nicolas Anelka fouled by Dedryck Boyata, the ref awards a free kick. Nicolas Anelka restarts play with the free kick.88:41
Daniel Sturridge takes a shot.87:43
Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Save by Adam Bogdan. Frank Lampard takes a shot. Adam Bogdan makes a save.85:56
Shot by Chris Eagles from 25 yards. Petr Cech makes a fantastic save.85:30
Daniel Sturridge produces a drilled left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the right-hand post.82:31
Didier Drogba takes a weak shot. Save by Adam Bogdan.80:35
Kevin Davies takes a shot. Branislav Ivanovic gets a block in.78:02 Booking
Booking John Terry goes into the referee's book.77:52
Free kick awarded for a foul by John Terry on Martin Petrov. Martin Petrov restarts play with the free kick.77:28
Daniel Sturridge takes a shot. Save by Adam Bogdan.75:32
Corner taken by Frank Lampard from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Tuncay Sanli.74:56
Chris Eagles takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Frank Lampard makes a clearance.73:56 Substitution
Substitution Chris Eagles on for Ricardo Gardner.73:56 Substitution
Substitution Tuncay Sanli comes on in place of David Ngog.71:49 Substitution
Substitution Nicolas Anelka replaces Juan Mata.71:28
Ashley Cole takes a shot. Zat Knight gets a block in.68:07
Unfair challenge on Nigel Reo-Coker by Frank Lampard results in a free kick. Adam Bogdan takes the free kick.67:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Darren Pratley on Mikel. David Luiz takes the free kick.65:09
Juan Mata produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
Foul by Nigel Reo-Coker on Daniel Sturridge, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by John Terry.60:33
Martin Petrov produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick. Shot on goal by David Ngog from just inside the area goes over the target.60:33 Booking
Booking The referee shows David Luiz a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.60:24
David Luiz challenges David Ngog unfairly and gives away a free kick.59:54
Darren Pratley fouled by Frank Lampard, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Darren Pratley.59:40
Frank Lampard takes a shot. Darren Pratley gets a block in.59:25
Kevin Davies takes a shot. Petr Cech makes a save.58:02
The assist for the goal came from Didier Drogba.58:02 Goal scored
Goal! - Frank Lampard - Bolton 1 - 5 Chelsea Frank Lampard gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Bolton 1-5 Chelsea.56:53
Effort from inside the area by Didier Drogba misses to the left of the goal.55:45 Substitution
Substitution (Chelsea) makes a substitution, with Mikel coming on for Ramires.55:15
Corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the left by-line, Effort on goal by Ramires from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.54:44
Martin Petrov takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in.52:55 Substitution
Substitution Jose Bosingwa goes off and Branislav Ivanovic comes on.49:09
Gary Cahill takes a shot. Blocked by John Terry.48:39
Foul by Raul Meireles on David Ngog, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paul Robinson.47:15
The official flags David Ngog offside. David Luiz restarts play with the free kick.45:54
Martin Petrov provided the assist for the goal.45:54 Goal scored
Goal! - Dedryck Boyata - Bolton 1 - 4 Chelsea Dedryck Boyata scores a headed goal from close in. Bolton 1-4 Chelsea.45:30
Unfair challenge on Ricardo Gardner by Ramires results in a free kick. Martin Petrov takes the free kick,45:01
The second half kicks off.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Zat Knight joins the action as a substitute, replacing Gretar Rafn Steinsson.45:00 +3:30 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +2:50
Kevin Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Raul Meireles. Frank Lampard restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +2:35
Didier Drogba is ruled offside. Adam Bogdan restarts play with the free kick.44:23
Juan Mata takes a shot. Adam Bogdan makes a save.41:47
Raul Meireles concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Davies. Darren Pratley restarts play with the free kick.37:08
Corner taken by Frank Lampard from the right by-line.37:01
Daniel Sturridge produces a cross, Gretar Rafn Steinsson makes a clearance.36:34
Unfair challenge on Jose Bosingwa by David Ngog results in a free kick. Jose Bosingwa takes the direct free kick.35:06
Corner taken right-footed by Frank Lampard from the left by-line, Dedryck Boyata manages to make a clearance.32:04
Raul Meireles concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Davies. Direct free kick taken by Nigel Reo-Coker.31:06
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Terry by Ricardo Gardner. David Luiz takes the direct free kick.28:47
Inswinging corner taken by Martin Petrov from the right by-line.28:34
Kevin Davies takes a shot. John Terry gets a block in.26:47
David Luiz provided the assist for the goal.26:47 Goal scored
Goal! - Frank Lampard - Bolton 0 - 4 Chelsea A goal is scored by Frank Lampard from deep inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal. Bolton 0-4 Chelsea.26:37
David Luiz takes a shot. Save made by Adam Bogdan.26:29
Kevin Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on John Terry. Direct free kick taken by Petr Cech.24:53
The assist for the goal came from David Luiz.24:53 Goal scored
Goal! - Daniel Sturridge - Bolton 0 - 3 Chelsea Daniel Sturridge fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Bolton 0-3 Chelsea.23:06
Corner taken by Martin Petrov, clearance by Frank Lampard. Outswinging corner taken by Martin Petrov, Kevin Davies has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.20:46
Didier Drogba challenges Gary Cahill unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gary Cahill takes the free kick.20:11
Shot from deep inside the area by Juan Mata clears the bar.17:45
Shot by Martin Petrov from outside the box goes over the target.15:51
Frank Lampard takes a shot. Adam Bogdan makes a save.14:52
Daniel Sturridge provided the assist for the goal.14:52 Goal scored
Goal! - Frank Lampard - Bolton 0 - 2 Chelsea Frank Lampard scores a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Bolton 0-2 Chelsea.11:17
Raul Meireles concedes a free kick for a foul on Darren Pratley. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Martin Petrov. Martin Petrov takes a shot. David Luiz gets a block in.9:10 Booking
Booking David Ngog booked.9:05
Foul by David Ngog on David Luiz, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Petr Cech.7:48
David Ngog is ruled offside. John Terry takes the free kick.6:18
David Ngog has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.5:06
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Cole by Martin Petrov. John Terry restarts play with the free kick.4:03
Daniel Sturridge gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gretar Rafn Steinsson. Free kick taken by Adam Bogdan.3:02
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Ngog on Jose Bosingwa. Direct free kick taken by Jose Bosingwa.2:32
Shot from outside the box by Daniel Sturridge misses to the left of the target.1:32
Assist on the goal came from Juan Mata.1:32 Goal scored
Goal! - Daniel Sturridge - Bolton 0 - 1 Chelsea Daniel Sturridge finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Bolton 0-1 Chelsea.1:13
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Juan Mata,0:00
The game kicks-off.
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