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.
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."