Eden Hazard's brilliant brace lifted the gloom around Chelsea as Premier League basement boys West Brom were dispatched 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Heavy back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Watford led to evermore voluble questions surrounding the future of head coach Antonio Conte and placed the reigning champions' hopes of a top-four finish in jeopardy.
Captain Gary Cahill dropped to the bench but the error-strewn element of recent outings was again in evidence and Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez both could have put Albion ahead before Hazard did so for Chelsea.
There was further defensive generosity to enrage Conte until Victor Moses doubled the Blues' advantage after the hour and a sublime 15th of the campaign from Hazard made the points safe.
Chelsea climb back up to fourth, a point above Tottenham, ahead of their next Premier League assignment at Manchester United at the end of the month.
7 - Eden Hazard has scored more Premier League goals versus West Brom than he has against any other team in the competition (7). Thorn. pic.twitter.com/XB1bKzPek6— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 12, 2018
Daniel Sturridge was making his second start for West Brom but the on-loan Liverpool striker's injury jinx struck again, a hamstring injury forcing him off in the fourth minute.
Replacement Rodriguez almost had an instant impact, thumping wide before Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas crashed into him. Referee Lee Mason was not interested in his penalty claims.
Salomon Rondon then headed off target from Matt Phillips' brilliant, fizzed cross and Rodriguez dragged wastefully wide after Moses' woeful backwards header left him through on goal.
Chelsea hauled themselves out of an abject slumber as Davide Zappacosta and full-debutant Olivier Giroud forced close-range saves from Ben Foster and they led in the 25th minute.
Hazard effortlessly shimmied around Gareth Barry and fed Giroud for precisely the type of centre-forward play Conte sought during the January transfer window.
The ex-Arsenal man spun Ahmed Hegazi and completed a one-touch lay-off for Hazard to thrash into the bottom corner.
Giroud required a large head bandage after taking an accidental boot to the head from Hegazi, nodded narrowly wide from Pedro's dinked cross and limped gingerly to the touchline after being clattered by Jonny Evans. He was probably glad to hear the half-time whistle.
Rondon should have equalised in the 57th minute when he outmuscled a dithering Andreas Christensen but failed to beat Thibaut Courtois. From the resulting corner an unmarked Evans headed over.
A battered and bruised Giroud took his applause from an appreciative Stamford Bridge crowd after the hour, with Alvaro Morata introduced up front, and, as in the first half, Chelsea gathered themselves to punish West Brom's wastefulness.
Fabregas looked for Morata with a dinked pass and it fell kindly for Moses to rifle beyond Foster.
Moses cut inside seeking a second, only to be denied by the West Brom goalkeeper's boot before Hazard showed him how it was done in the 71st minute – leaving Evans in his wake and unleashing an unerring left-footed finish.
It proved a harsh lesson in expert finishing for Albion, whose situation at the foot of the table and seven points from safety with 11 games to play is a desperate one.
Up next for Conte are the contrasting challenges of Hull City and Barcelona in the FA Cup and Champions League, and a season that can still be salvaged
|Wenger trolled by Wembley official in Man City humbling|
|Wenger goes easy on Mustafi, despite Wembley woe|
|It´d be a dream - Henry wants Arsenal manager´s job|
|Man City just getting started, warns De Bruyne|
|Mind the goose! Tiger Woods collects birdies in more ways than one|
|Wenger rues early Aubameyang miss after Wembley humbling|
|Gary Neville blasts ´spineless´ Arsenal after EFL Cup final|
|Neymar shakes off virus to start for PSG in Le Classique vs Marseille|
|Guardiola sets sights on further silverware after ´outstanding´ EFL Cup triumph|
|EFL Cup social round-up: Men against boys and Wenger Out|
|Kompany: Winning EFL Cup makes injury nightmare worthwhile|
|I´ve signed for a football team, claims Usain Bolt|
|Van Gaal dismisses Chelsea rumours as ´fake news´|
|Toulon claim notable scalp with victory at La Rochelle|
|Reliability first - Renault to limit initial engine potential|
|Arsenal 0 Manchester City 3: Guardiola thrashes Wenger for first English trophy|
|Pochettino plans throw-in practice for Aurier|
|Conte hints at unhappiness with Hazard work-rate in Man Utd loss|
|Terrific Tigers tame Sarries to close in on top four|
|Mourinho v Conte: All smiles and handshakes on the touchline as feud cools|
|Mourinho hails Lukaku display against old club Chelsea|
|Depleted Rhinos slump to defeat at Widnes|
|Mourinho on Conte handshake: It doesn´t need words|
|Conte demands VAR after Morata sees Old Trafford equaliser ruled out|
|Pochettino defends ´easy target´ Alli after Van Aanholt clash|
|Juventus v Atalanta postponed due to snow|
|Criticism never affected me - Lukaku revels in comeback Man Utd win|
|Khachanov claims Marseille title to deny Pouille a home double|
|Guardiola wears yellow ribbon at Wembley despite FA charge|
|Cardiff extend winning run at Zebre|
|Manchester United 2 Chelsea 1: Lukaku and Lingard complete Old Trafford comeback|
|Chambers in as Wenger picks back three at Wembley|
|Pochettino satisfied with ´deserved´ Tottenham victory|
|Six Nations to investigate Scotland-England tunnel incident|
|It´s getting boring! - Dier lauds Kane following last-gasp winner|
|Lukaku finally makes big-game breakthrough for Manchester United|
|€70m not enough to prise Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio|
|Tah pens Leverkusen extension until 2023|
|Cardiff City 1 Bristol City 0: Zohore the hero again as Bluebirds win derby|
|Crystal Palace 0 Tottenham 1: Late Kane header snatches victory|
|Morgan praises Stokes´ comeback performance|
|Skriniar sees himself at Inter ´for many years´|
|Pogba, Martial start for Manchester United as Chelsea bring back Morata|
|Aluko under consideration as Neville offers Sampson critics ´clean slate´|
|Inter did not invent Icardi injury, Spalletti insists|
|Gilberto Silva: Wilshere´s mental strength key to success|
|Lewandowski: Agent change nothing to do with ´funny´ Real Madrid talk|
|Barcelona´s Semedo facing five weeks out with hamstring injury|
|Winter Olympics 2018: Bjoergen takes record-equalling gold as Norway top medal table|
|Dier has no regrets over Manchester United snub|
|No scorpion kick for Ospina as he relishes Wembley final|
|Pepperell holds on for maiden title in Qatar|
|Kante: Chelsea can take confidence from Barca draw|
|Mierzejewski magic fires Sydney FC to derby glory|
|Taylor and Santner spoil Stokes comeback|
|´Best in history´ Messi lauded by Coutinho, Busquets|
|I enjoy living this way! - Aubameyang won´t change lavish lifestyle|
|Kohli rested for Nidahas Trophy|
|QB Bortles signs contract extension with Jaguars|
|Shohei Ohtani has mixed results in MLB debut|
|Mustafi wary of De Bruyne threat in EFL Cup final|
|Chumba and Dibaba reign supreme at Tokyo Marathon|
|Curry, Durant help Warriors dominate Westbrook´s Thunder|
|Coman suffers ankle injury in Bayern draw|
|I was right to turn down Man City move in 2016, says Laporte|
|Tiafoe wins two matches in a day to reach Delray Beach final|
|Navas not surprised by Ronaldo´s Benzema gesture|
|Ausilio: Contract talks with Inter´s Icardi done in silence|
|Mourinho tells McTominay to follow his heart amid international headache|
|I play for France´s biggest club – Marseille star Payet fires barb at PSG|