Loic Remy's thigh injury overshadowed Chelsea's heaviest-ever Champions League win as Jose Mourinho's attacking crisis took another twist during an emphatic victory over NK Maribor at Stamford Bridge.
Remy, Didier Drogba's penalty and John Terry's first half goals were add to by Mitja Viler's own goal and Eden Hazard's late double to give Mourinho's side breathing space at the mid-way point of the group phase.
However, injury to Remy which forced the French international off immediately after handing Chelsea the lead in the 13th minute leaves the club with wafer-thin resources in up front ahead of the trip to Manchester United on Sunday, with Diego Costa a doubt with a hamstring injury.
But on an evening where Premier League champions Manchester City were held by CSKA Moscow to damage their hopes of reaching the knock-out phase, the Blues eased their workload over the winter months with as comfortable a win as they will surely enjoy all season to all but book a place in the last 16.
With the Slovenian champions unbeaten in their opening two group matches, Mourinho was unwilling to rest on his laurels and made just three alterations from the win over Crystal Palace, recalling Petr Cech in goal while Felipe Luis and Kurt Zouma came into the back four.
Scorer of Maribor's first Champions League group stage goal for 15 years, Luka Zahovic, son of Slovenia's all-time record goalscorer Zlatko, began on the bench with Damjan Bohar, who netted against Schalke on matchday two spearheading the visitors' goal-threat.
And Ante Simundza's side showed plenty of menace in the opening moments, with Bahar's flicked header landing on the roof of the net when unmarked in the Chelsea box before Ales Mertelj's shot soared over the bar.
The hosts quickly discovered their killer touch however and after Remy was denied by a smart stop from Jasmin Handanovic, the Frenchman thrust the Blues into the lead after gliding inside and driving into the corner with barely a quarter of an hour played.
The 27 year old's first European goal for Chelsea was however blighted as Remy pulled up immediately with a thigh problem, which forced him to be replaced by Drogba and throws into serious doubt his fitness for the weekend trip to United.
Captain Agim Ibraimi attempted to respond with a shot from range which forced Cech to turn the ball behind but the effort acted as mere temporary respite for the away side, who were quickly two behind as Drogba netted the first goal of his second spell in west London from the penalty spot after Mertelj's handball.
The unbeaten Premier League leaders then put result beyond doubt with 31 minutes played as a flowing counter-attack which saw Hazard tee up the overlapping Cesc Fabregas ended with Terry tapping home from two yards for his first goal since last December.
Barely eight second half minutes had passed before Chelsea had a fourth goal to celebrate as they threatened to eclipse their biggest-ever win in the Champions League as Viler directed Hazard's cut-back into his own net following Luis' devilish run.
The hosts' near perfect evening was almost spoiled after Nemanja Matic conceded a penalty after barging over Ibraimi, but the forward was unable to salvage a consolation; striking the post from the resulting spot kick.
Such was the comfortable nature of Chelsea's position they were afforded the luxury of giving cameo appearances to Natahn Ake and Dominic Solanke, who replaced Oscar to make his professional debut.
The garnish on Chelsea's win was provided by Hazard's calmly taken penalty, after Branislav Ivanovic was felled by substitute Marko Suler, before the Belgian swept home in stoppage time to complete the club's preparations for the trip to Old Trafford.