Carlo Ancelotti endured a miserable return to Stamford Bridge as Chelsea thrashed his Everton side to boost their top-four Premier League hopes.
Helped by the inclusion of 18-year-old Billy Gilmour, who made his Premier League debut, Chelsea started the game with a far greater tempo and went ahead after 14 minutes when Mason Mount ended an 18-game goal drought by firing past Jordan Pickford at his near post.
Pedro then latched on to a superb through ball by Ross Barkley to score his first league goal of the season as Frank Lampard’s side took control.
Everton had a chance to strike back five minutes later but top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin duffed a shot with only Kepa Arrizabalaga to beat.
Two goals in the space of three minutes shortly after the break ended the game as a contest as Willian found the bottom corner with a low shot and Olivier Giroud continued his renaissance with a tap-in from a short corner.
Everton have been in form since Ancelotti’s first game in charge on Boxing Day, during which time they have picked up 18 points.
But this was a desperately disappointing day for the Italian on his return to the club where he won the league and FA Cup double in 2009-10.
The result meant Everton remain 12th, six points behind fifth-placed Wolves, while Chelsea stay fourth and extended their lead over Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to five points.
Including two wins over Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, Lampard now has three victories over former Chelsea managers this season as fans serenaded him with “super Frank” from all four sides of the stadium.
Chelsea boosted by Gilmour’s influence
Gilmour’s first Premier League start came after a man-of-the-match performance in their FA Cup fifth-round win over Liverpool on Tuesday.
That game appeared to give the club a lift after a disappointing run of one win in six league matches, and the glow continued against Everton.
Gilmour offers a quicker alternative to Jorginho, suspended for this game, at the base of their midfield, and the young Scot seemed to have an effect on those in front of him, who played with extra vigour.
Mount had already tested Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who had a very good game, before he scored.
But he celebrated his sixth goal of the season with genuine relief after struggling to match his early-season form in the past couple of months.
Pickford, who was criticised after conceding against Manchester United last Sunday, made another smart save from Willian, but could do little when Barkley proved a point to the booing Everton fans by slicing his former team open for Pedro to score his first league goal in 13 months.
Aside from Calvert-Lewin’s chance, which came from a mix-up between Marcos Alonso and Kurt Zouma, Chelsea continued to press for a third.
And they wasted little time after the break in extending their lead as Willian scored his seventh of the season with a superb strike and Giroud showed his quality at the point of Chelsea’s attack with his second goal in three league games.
Such was Chelsea’s dominance, they could afford to hand Premier League debuts to teenagers Tino Anjorin and Armando Broja off the bench.
For Lampard and Chelsea, it was one of those games where everything clicked.