Aston Villa were played off their own park on Saturday afternoon as Chelsea ran out 4-0 winners. Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alexandre Pato and a brace from Pedro were more than enough to ensure Chelsea left the Midlands with all three points.
The Blues had plenty to smile about after seeing debuts for Matt Miazga, Pato and Jake-Clarke Salter, the latter coming through the Chelsea academy.
It took a while for the game to get going with both sides moving the ball around a lot but creating nothing until the 11th minute when Pedro cut onto his right foot and curled just over from distance.
Despite Villa enjoying more of the ball today than they have had in the majority of games this season, they were 1-0 down before the half hour mark.
Excellent footwork from Mikel freed up space and the midfielder finds Pedro, who in turn found Cesar Azpilicueta down the right flank and the Spaniard's low-driven cross was turned home by Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The 20-year old's first Premier League goal makes it 1-0 to his boyhood club.
Aston Villa responded well and were almost level with 32 minutes gone after Carles Gil forced a good save from Thibaut Courtois. The ensuing clearance from Baba Rahman cannoned off Jordan Ayew but the striker could only watch on as Courtois claimed the close-range deflection with ease.
Minutes later, Chelsea were denied on two occassions. Cesc Fabregas found Baba Rahman all alone in the box but the defender's shot was stopped well by Brad Guzan before a free kick seconds later was met by debutant Matt Miazga, but the American's touch was saved by his fellow countryman.
Ayew went close again as the first half was winding down. The striker's close control gave him plenty of space to work with but he only managed to roll a shot wide of the left hand post.
It was almost 2-0 as the clock hit 45 minutes after Loftus-Cheek won back possession but his effort from inside the box curled inches wide. In first half stoppage time, Chelsea were awarded a penalty after Aly Cissokho dragged down another debutant, Alexandre Pato, inside the box.
Pato stepped up and smashed his penalty into the corner for his first goal in his first appearance for the Blues. Chelsea went into the break 3-0 up and deservedly so.
Chelsea run up comfortable lead by the break
The second half started in the worst possible way for Aston Villa as they find themselves 3-0 down with just 49 seconds gone. An excellent one-two between the substitute Oscar and Pato resulted in the former sliding the ball across the face of goal to Pedro, who made no mistake from close range.
Ayew tried his luck from distance with five minutes gone in the second half and almost caught Courtois out but the Chelsea 'keeper was on hand to keep it out.
Villa would rue that miss as it was 4-0 just before the hour mark. Pato's curler was pushed away by Guzan but straight into the path of Pedro, who tapped into an empty net from a couple yards out.
Villa had a golden chance to grab a consolation in the 69th minute after substitute Jack Grealish found space on the right and hit a superb ball across the face of goal but Ashley Westwood could not get a touch on it.
The hosts had strong claims of a penalty turned down with 20 minutes to go, after Grealish was tripped by Pedro going away from goal, but referee Neil Swarbrick waived away any protests.
Chelsea almost had five on the day with five minutes to go as Fabregas found Baba Rahman in the box but the defender poked his shot just wide.
Things got from bad to worse anyway for the hosts as Alan Hutton was sent off moments after the Baba chance. A late challenge on Loftus-Cheek earned the Scottsman a second yellow and his side were down to ten men to finish the game.
The result leaves Aston Villa, one of the most historic clubs in England, on the verge of relegation from the top flight of English football for the very first time. Chelsea meanwhile, move up to ninth in the league table - level on points with Liverpool.