Frank Lampard marked his 350th league appearance for Chelsea with an impressive hat-trick as the Blues underlined their title credentials with a 5-1 victory at struggling Bolton Wanderers.
As well as Lampard's treble, Daniel Sturridge, who spent a successful loan spell at Bolton last season, claimed two goals during a first half in which Chelsea raced into a 4-0 lead. Andre Villas-Boas' side are now back in third place, three points behind leaders Manchester United.
The rout also added to the growing pressure on Wanderers manager Owen Coyle. Bolton have lost 11 of their last 12 league games and conceded 21 goals in seven games, the worst record in the Premier League and the primary reason the club sits at the foot of the table.
Bolton's sixth straight Premier League defeat was effectively wrapped up inside the opening 15 minutes. Only two minutes had gone when a flowing move saw Dedryck Boyata concede a corner, heading Jose Bosingwa's right-wing cross behind.
Sturridge begins the scoring
Juan Manuel Mata swung over a centre which found the head of Sturridge, unmarked only six yards from goal, and handed the visitors the lead. It was the start of relentless attacking play from Chelsea which, deservedly, brought them a second goal soon after with an eye-catching, flowing build-up.
Lampard started the move with a pass to Mata, who exchanged a one-two, via a neat back-heel, with Ramires. The ball was worked out to Sturridge and, with the Bolton defence once again static, Lampard had the simple task of sweeping in the ball from six yards.
Chelsea kept pressing forward and Lampard's shot was saved, at the second attempt, by home goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, while Mata skied over from 12 yards after yet more woeful Bolton defending.
Wanderers were being overrun and the threatened deluge came with two more Chelsea goals in the space of 60 seconds just before the half-hour mark. First, Sturridge cut in from the right, past the hapless Boyata, and scored from a wide angle, thanks to terrible goalkeeping from Bogdan, who helped the shot into the corner of his goal.
Two minutes later, Bolton backed off, allowing defender David Luiz to advance the ball 50 yards and shoot from 25 yards, Bogdan weakly parrying the ball into the path of Lampard, who slid in his second and Chelsea's fourth.
Bogdan saved well from Mata before the interval and the second half at least opened with a moment of Bolton optimism. Petrov's 46th minute free-kick whistled into the six-yard box and, among a large group of players, Boyata steered a downward header into the Chelsea goal.
Lampard completes treble
It was the start of an improved spell for the home team, but the Blues remained dangerous and, after chances for Didier Drogba and Ramires, Chelsea restored their four-goal cushion after 58 minutes.
It was another superbly worked goal as Lampard exchanged passes with Drogba, who showed excellent control in the area, before playing in Lampard to complete his hat-trick from 12 yards.
As the game inevitably petered out, Kevin Davies thought he had pulled back a goal only to see his shot cleared off the line by Branislav Ivanovic, and Chris Eagles unleashed a terrific strike which hit a post. However, there were also chances which might have brought further goals for Sturridge and Lampard as Chelsea finished well in control.