Chelsea cruised into the League Cup Fourth Round with a comfortable 6-0 win over a lacklustre Wolves at Stamford Bridge.
The European champions raced into a three-goal lead in the opening 16 minutes as goals from Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand and Juan Mata all but ended the game as a contest, with Wolves extremely slow out of the blocks.
Things didn`t improve much after the break either, with Oriol Romeu slotting home from the spot after Victor Moses won a soft penalty after going down under Dorus De Vries` challenge. Fernando Torres extended the lead to five around the hour mark, powering home a great header at the near post from another Mata set-piece, before Moses completed the rout by heading in a sixth.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo named a stronger than previously assumed line-up for the game, with Torres, Mata and skipper John Terry all in the starting eleven.
He made six changes to the side that beat Stoke 1-0 at the weekend, with Ross Turnbull starting in goal in place of Petr Cech, Terry coming in for David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta for Branislav Ivanovic, while Lucas Piazon and Victor Moses were also handed starts.
Wolves manager Stale Solbakken rang the changes too, making ten changes to the side that beat Peteborough 2-0 in their last outing, with David Edwards named as captain, in what looked on paper like a youthful and somewhat inexperienced side.
The hosts didn`t have to wait long to go ahead but it came through an unlikely source, with Cahill nodding in at the back post in the 3rd minute after an excellent free-kick in from the right by Mata, beating Richard Stearman in the air in the process.
With the confidence flowing, they grabbed a second inside eight minutes after a spell of possession where the visitors could barely touch them. Young Brazilian Lucas Piazon managed to find some space on the left, before cutting a decent ball across goal for Bertrand to run onto and hit first time with his in-step to curl high past De Vries at his near post.
Solbakken`s side were struggling to get a foothold in the match and Chelsea extended their lead even further in the 16th minutes through Mata. The diminutive playmaker picked the ball up on the right wing before exchanging passes with Romeu and as he neared the edge of the box, a delightful one-two with Torres saw him played in on goal one-on-one and he coolly slotted past the onrushing goalkeeper to make it three.
The visitors had their best chance of the half in the 25th minute when Slawomir Peszko turned between Terry and Bertrand excellently after a neat ball into feet by Edwards, and after stripping them for pace and rounding Turnbull, he failed to get his foot round the ball and hit the side netting with the goal gaping.
Chelsea didn`t want to rest on their laurels, though and they chased a fourth, going close through two low arrowed crossed into the box by Torres and Ramires, while a Mata free-kick from the edge of the box just failed to find the net and they went in at the break three goals to the good.
Wolves made one change at the break, with David Forde coming on for the anonymous Hunt. They started the half better but soon conceded another, with Romeu slotting home from the spot in the 52nd minute after Moses won a soft penalty after going down under a challenge from De Vries.
The result now assured, it was just a matter of how many the hosts would rack up against a downbeat Wolves side, and Torres managed to get on the scoresheet in the 57th minute after rising highest at the front post to power home a thumping header from another dangerous Mata corner.
They made it six on 71st minute with the two substitutes Marko Marin and Oscar combining well down the left before the latter played the ball into the box, only to see Moses nod home into the bottom left-hand corner after out-jumping Ronald Zubar.
Despite enjoying the majority of possession from then on, Chelsea were unable to carve out any more clear-cut opportunities but it was more than job done after a fantastic team display during a one-sided and hugely entertaining contest.