Aston Villa looked suspiciously like a team that had given up the ghost as they surrendered meekly to a seventh consecutive defeat, allowing an experimental Chelsea team to toy with them before being booed off the field by angry supporters.
Chelsea at last gave their Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato his long-awaited debut and the former AC Milan star responded by playing a part in all four goals - including one of his own from the penalty spot -- but even interim manager Guus Hiddink admitted it was not the toughest introduction to the Premier League.
Pato came on after French striker Loic Remy suffered a first-half groin injury that may finish his season and probably ends his hopes of being part of the squad Didier Deschamps for the Euro 2016 finals.
He scored his first Chelsea goal in first-half stoppage time, converting from the spot after he had been hauled down in the box by Villa defender Aly Cissokho.
Pato's first touch had played a part in the move that led to Chelsea's opening goal, converted by Rubens Loftus-Cheek from a Cesar Azpilicueta cross after 26 minutes, and he was involved in the build-up on both occasions when Pedro scored twice early in the second half to end any hope of a Villa recovery.
Signed on loan from Corinthians in January, Pato had been forced to wait 64 days to make his first appearance but Hiddink explained that he wanted to ensure the player was fit enough to cope with the pace of the Premier League.
"The expectation was that he would have come in sooner but we had to get his physical condition right, to put him through a pre-season before he could show his quality on the field," the Dutch coach said.
"It was not the toughest game and we will see how he will cope with more resistance but it was good to see him on the field."
Villa, who ended with 10 men after Alan Hutton was sent off for a second yellow card, had to cope with increasing hostility from their fans, who held up protest placards in the 74th minute in a planned demonstration - 1874 being the year the club was founded - and then folded them into paper aeroplanes to throw on to the pitch.
It was a difficult atmosphere for Eric Black to step into as caretaker manager following Remi Garde's dismissal last week but the Scot was not especially sympathetic with his players, who are no more than two more defeats away from their relegation being confirmed.
"It was not overly enjoyable but I can fully understand the way the fans are feeling," Black said. "But they are professional players and they are paid to take responsibility for their performances.
"The club needs to be taken and shaken and moved on and the only way to win back support is with what happens on the field."
Chelsea's opening goal arrived as soon as they decided to step up their pace after a low-key start, with Loftus-Cheek side-footing home his first Premier League goal with the help of a deflection off Joleon Lescott.
Hiddink felt the result was assured after Pato's penalty made it two-nil but a third goal came just 51 seconds after the restart, set up for Pedro by half-time substitute Oscar with a low cross after he had combined Pato on the left.
The two Brazilians linked up again after 59 minutes before Pato tested Guzan with a shot from the left that the goalkeeper saved, but only by pushing it into the path of Pedro, who easily put away his sixth goal of the Premier League season.
Hiddink had been true to his word in giving game time to some of the younger members of the Chelsea squad, starting with three 20-year-olds on the field. As well as Loftus-Cheek, he played the Brazilian Kenedy on the left of midfield and gave a debut in defence to the 6ft 4ins American Matt Miazga, who played alongside Branislav Ivanovic in the centre with both John Terry and Gary Cahill injured.
Towards the end, 18-year-old defender Jake Clarke-Salter made his debut, Pedro for the final 17 minutes.
Villa, who left out Gabby Agbonlahor for disciplinary reasons after he was photographed smoking a shisha pipe during the international break, showed glimpses of intent, with Jordan Ayew their biggest threat, but could hardly argue that they deserved any better.
To add a little more salt in their wounds, defender Alan Hutton was sent off with five minutes left for a second yellow card.
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Guzan; Hutton, Richards, Lescott, Cissokho; Sanchez (Bacuna, 67), Westwood; Gil (Grealish, 66), Gueye (Lyden, 82), Ayew; Gestede.
Substitutes not used: Okore, Sinclair, Veretout, Bunn (gk).
Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Miazga, Ivanovic, Rahman; Mikel; Pedro (Clarke-Salter, 74), Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Kenedy (Oscar, 45); Remy (Pato, 23).
Substitutes not used: Begovic (gk), Falcao, Traore, Matic.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire)
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