Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge both scored twice as FA Cup holders Chelsea cruised to 7-0 rout of Championship outfit Ipswich Town to set up a fourth round tie away to Everton.
Salomon Kalou, Nicolas Anelka and an own goal from Carlos Edwards also made the scoresheet as Carlo Ancelotti's side recorded a confidence-boosting win at Stamford Bridge that eased the pressure on the troubled manager.
And while a comfortable Chelsea victory was always the expected outcome, the way in which his side began their bid to win the trophy for a third successive season will provide encouragement for the London club's Italian manager.
Ancelotti had conceded in the build up to the game that it would have come as no surprise if he had lost his job following the club's recent run of results which have left Premier League champions Chelsea fifth in the table and nine points behind leaders Manchester United.
Chelsea dominated possession early on without looking truly convincing and appeared vulnerable to Ispwich's occasional foray forward. But once Kalou and Sturridge had broken the visitors' defences twice in the 33rd minute, the result was never in doubt.
It was hardly surprising Ipswich folded so easily. They arrived at Stamford Bridge languishing in 19th place in the second tier and led by Ian McParland, the caretaker-manager appointed following last week's dismissal of Roy Keane.
Paul Jewell, the former Wigan Athletic manager, is expected to be appointed as Keane's full-time replacement next week and his first job will be to help his players overcome this heavy defeat.
Ancelotti, meanwhile, will be working overtime to ensure Chelsea maintain some of the good habits they rediscovered in this game when they return to Premier League action against Blackburn Rovers next week.
Those preparations would have been much more testing had Petr Cech not twice come to his side's rescue early on. The Chelsea goalkeeper reacted bravely to divert David Norris's low cross off the toe of Connor Wickham in the 17th minute and then was forced to beat away Jason Scotland's powerful shot five minutes later.
At that point it looked as though Chelsea might be in for a troublesome afternoon but they got the break they needed in the 33rd minute when Anelka's shot was half-saved by Marton Fulop and Kalou raced in to help the ball over the line as it dribbled towards the goal.
Chelsea were two up within seconds when Sturridge turned in Jose Bosingwa's near-post cross. There was worse to come for Ipswich in the 41st minute when Norris fouled John Terry, allowing Lampard to whip over a free kick which was headed into his own net by Edwards.
From then on, it was simply a case of how many more Chelsea could score in the second period as their self-belief came flooding back. Within minutes of the restart, Anelka drilled home a fourth goal with a low shot after exchanging crosses with Sturridge. Sturridge then claimed his second in the 53rd minute with an excellent curled shot that looped over Fulop from the angle of the penalty area.
Lampard then completed the scoring with two goals in as many minutes, the first a powerful 78th minute drive from 16 yards out, followed by a close range tap-in after good work by Branislav Ivanovic.