Two goals by Pedro lit up this entertaining FA Cup 3rd round match at Stamford Bridge as the Blues downed plucky League One outfit Peterborough United 4-1.
Further strikes by Willian and Michy Batshuayi saw off the plucky resistance of the Posh who did get a consolation goal through Tom Nichols.
But the game will be one that returning skipper John Terry will want to forget as he saw a straight red card from referee Kevin Friend as he slipped and bundled over Lee Angol on 67 minutes. Terry was the last man after Kurt Zouma exposed his defensive partner by not making a crucial interception.
Terry, 36, his first start since the League Cup defeat at West Ham, will be hoping to impress and force the Chelsea board to offer him another playing contract.
A move to China seems the most likely option.
A swift attack by the home side on five minutes, with left wing-back Pedro and Willian combining effectively saw the goal-bound effort blocked by right back Michael Smith
But the best chance fell to the visitors three minutes later when a regulation deep cross from the right was volleyed by striker Angol from close range. But Asmir Begovic was perfectly placed to thwart the effort.
Striker Michy Batshuayi and a fine John Terry effort, well saved by Luke McGee typified the end-to-end nature of the opening 15 minutes of this FA Cup tie.
But the deadlock was broken with a fantastic effort by Pedro on 18 minutes, after Cesc Fabregas and Nathaniel Chalobah had efforts denied by McGee.
The second saw the ball fall invitingly for Pedro, who took one touch, before smashing the ball high and into the corner of McGee’s goal.
The Spaniard should have doubled the lead on 33 minutes when Loftus-Cheek passed to him in the six-yard box. Again, he took a touch to round McGee, but somehow blasted his right-footer onto the crossbar.
Two minutes before the break the Blues broke again – four against two Posh defenders.
The ball was fed to Loftus-Cheek, who side-footed to in-running Batshuayi, who rammed
a low drive past the exposed goalkeeper.
It was the Belgium’s first goal in his last 13 games.
Loftus-Cheek had a wonderful chance to extend the lead two minutes after the break, but his side-footer inched wide of McGee’s left post.
But class won out and Willian’s sumptuous right-footed curler from the edge of the penalty area, gave McGee no chance and the Blues went 3-0.
Posh had a chance to nab a goal, but Marcus Maddison who ran three-quarters of the length of the pitch to find his striker but Chalobah managed to race back and intercept the ball before it fell to Angol.
Gary Cahill was Antonio Conte’s first substitution, replaced by Ola Aina.
On 67 minutes, having seen Kurt Zouma fail to intercept a defect-splitting ball, Angol took on last man Terry, who slipped and brought the live wire down.
Referee Kevin friend opted to red card the skipper.
Conte was forced to sacrifice Loftus-Cheek for defender Cesar Azpilicueta.
But it failed to stem the attack of the visitors who, on 70 minutes, snatched a goal back through Tom Nichols.
Conte’s game management proved effective as he replaced Willian for N’Golo Kante.
It had the stabilising effect and the Blues resumed their assault on the Posh goal, and with 15 minutes on the clock, Pedro arrowed home the perfect drive to make it 4-1.
The draw for the 4th round is tomorrow at 7pm
Chelsea: Begovic, Ivanovic, Fabregas, Zouma, Pedro, Loftus-Cheek, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Terry, Chalobah
Subs: Eduardo, Kante, Hazard, Moses, Costa, Azpilicueta, Aina
Peterborough United: McGee, Smith, Hughes, Bostwick, Tafozolli, Edwards, Forrester, Anglo, Maddison, Da Silva Lopes, Nichols
Subs: Tyler, Taylor’s, Ball, Inman, Chettle, Binnom-Williams, Samuelson
Referee: Kevin Friend