The weather did its best on a filthy night in Leeds but West Yorkshire could not quite manage to rain on a second London parade in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.
Following Arsenal's ignominious exit at the hands of League Two side Bradford City last week, another big upset was on the cards when Luciano Becchio gave Leeds United a half-time lead against the champions of Europe, but Chelsea stayed calm to win with five coolly taken second-half goals from five different players.
Both sides were at something close to full strength, give or take a couple of reserves, and if it was the introduction of Eden Hazard for the last half-hour that raised the quality bar just too high for Leeds, there was no doubt which goal took the individual honours. Rafael Benítez has had his critics for showing faith in Victor Moses, but the former Wigan forward's elegant strike was not only the game's decisive goal it was also the sign of a player brimming with confidence.
"Preparation is hard when you have eight games in 24 days, especially when you go all the way to Japan and back, but the reaction was excellent," Benítez said. "The first half was good, the second half amazing, but we can still improve in defence. Of course I would like to win this cup, all competitions are important, but my priority now is Aston Villa [in the league] at the weekend."
Moses brought the first save of the game from Jamie Ashdown after El Hadji Diouf went down theatrically in his own half but failed to win any sympathy from the referee, Andre Marriner, before Paul Green and Michael Brown injected some niggle into the proceedings by taking it in turn to foul David Luiz.
The two managers had set the right example by shaking hands before kick-off, despite their long-standing enmity, but Frank Lampard, surprisingly, was the first player to let the Leeds provocation get to him, the Chelsea captain finding himself in the book after only 14 minutes for a needlessly crude challenge from behind on Diouf.
Moses saw another shot saved midway through the first half after Ryan Bertrand had shown impressive control to bring down a raking cross-field ball from Branislav Ivanovic, then exquisite footwork from Juan Mata came to nothing when Jason Pearce stuck out his head to block his goal-bound attempt. Chelsea were producing most of the attacking ideas yet little clear-cut was being created and Fernando Torres was making no impact whatsoever.
That became much more of a worry eight minutes from the interval, when Leeds took the lead with a classic breakaway goal. David Luiz was caught in possession and out of position on halfway, Jerome Thomas galloped into yards of empty space on the left, and with the visitors undermanned in the middle an excellent cross was tucked away with relish by Becchio. The goal brought an already feisty crowd to life, and in addition to the familiar insults from his Liverpool days the home fans began to taunt Benítez with chants that he would be getting sacked in the morning.
On the restart Chelsea instantly spoiled their hosts' fun by equalising barely a minute in. Mata played a one-two with Moses and perhaps surprised Ashdown by squeezing out an accurate shot on the turn, yet even so the goalkeeper should have done better than allow an effort of only medium pace to squirm underneath him. Lampard sensibly kept testing Ashdown after that, even from distance, because there was always a chance the goalkeeper would misjudge a bounce or make a handling mistake in the slippery conditions.
In the event Chelsea took the lead in more prosaic fashion. From a routine corner Ivanovic met Lampard's cross decisively at the near post, though there was nothing prosaic or routine about the Moses goal that made the game safe just over a minute later.
With Leeds tiring and Hazard proving more effective at drawing defenders than Marko Marin, Moses skipped into space on the left and met the tireless Mata's first-time pass, cut inside Sam Byram and beat Ashdown handsomely with a drive from the edge of the area.
That confirmed the result, Hazard's well-taken goal 10 minutes from the end was mere decoration, and home fans were leaving in droves by the time Torres stabbed in a fifth from close range after Ashdown parried a shot.
"No complaints," the Leeds manager Neil Warnock said. "We shouldn't have conceded so early in the second half, but after that Chelsea took over. They were too good for us."
Benítez would like to win something in what appears likely to be a short stay at Chelsea, and now he has his chance. Even Bradford would hold no fears after this, never mind Swansea.
"We had a word with ourselves at half-time because we knew we had to up it," Lampard added. "With such a long trip to Japan our preparation wasn't great for this game, but it made a big difference when we began to play with pace."