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
|It needs to take 30 seconds – Matic wants quicker VAR|
|Team LeBron edges Team Stephen in thrilling All-Star Game|
|McIlroy sees progress despite failing to contend at Riviera|
|Silver supports NBA players speaking out on social issues|
|Mickelson ready for Masters after third straight top-six finish|
|Gattuso: My job is to be the players´ nightmare until season´s end|
|I wasn´t good enough – Guardiola reveals Wigan rejection|
|Dillon reigns supreme with overtime win at Daytona 500|
|Bubba Watson ends drought with third Genesis Open title|
|Brazilian derby between Vitoria and Bahia abandoned after red-card frenzy|
|Anderson ends barren spell with New York Open triumph|
|It was crazy, but I like that - Zidane revels in eight-goal Betis thriller|
|Asensio credits Zidane for Madrid´s thrilling Betis comeback|
|Zidane hopeful over Marcelo hamstring injury|
|Overton replaces injured Plunkett for Blacks Caps ODI series|
|Bonaventura claims Milan can catch Inter|
|Bravo for Claudio! Guardiola to pick keeper at Wembley|
|Mourinho hoping for reinforcements at Sevilla|
|´Quick-healer´ Groves hopeful over shoulder injury|
|Real Madrid become first side to score 6,000 goals in LaLiga|
|Real Betis 3 Real Madrid 5: Asensio at the double in LaLiga classic|
|AC Milan 1 Sampdoria 0: Bonaventura makes it 10 unbeaten for Rossoneri|
|Schurrle excited to finally link up with Reus and Gotze|
|Fit-again Hughes included in England squad|
|New number one Federer revels in ´unbelievable´ week|
|Real Madrid defender Marcelo suffers hamstring injury|
|Costa fumes referees ´want to give me a card´, but Simeone plays down penalty row|
|Thiem regains Argentina Open title|
|Stoger makes Dortmund history with Gladbach win|
|Championship Review: Leeds fight back for point, Norwich & Ipswich share derby spoils|
|Racing beat La Rochelle to go second, Castres edge out Bordeaux|
|Borussia Monchengladbach 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Burki unbeatable as Reus returns to haunt Foals|
|FA Cup ´magic´ no surprise to Pochettino after Rochdale thriller|
|Rochdale hero Davies: This is every kid´s dream|
|Atletico Madrid will not stop in pursuit of Barcelona, promises Gameiro|
|Banks boot pays dividends for Treviso|
|Lucky 13 and second successive title for Kvitova after Muguruza classic|
|´Wrong image´ to blame for VAR confusion in Manchester United´s FA Cup win|
|Rochdale 2 Tottenham 2: Davies denies Kane in FA Cup classic|
|Rieder stretchered off as Wasps extend Chiefs´ slump|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Athletic Bilbao 0: Gameiro and Costa settle cagey clash|
|NHL commissioner Bettman condemns ´reprehensible´ Smith-Pelly abuse|
|Visser, Scott and Nel among six recalled by Scotland|
|Bhuvneshwar and Dhawan inspire India´s Wanderers win|
|Napoli set club record with another Serie A win|
|Froome disappoints in time trial as Wellens wins Ruta del Sol|
|Napoli 1 SPAL 0: Allan sends hosts top of Serie A again|
|Federer makes short work of disappointing Dimitrov|
|Allegri allays Higuain injury fears|
|Blackhawks fans ejected after racist heckling of Capitals´ Smith-Pelly|
|Allegri convinced Juve can get past Spurs|
|Sri Lanka sweep series after dominating Bangladesh|
|Everton fear ´long-term´ injury for Mangala|
|If it isn´t Madrid, it´s Paris - Hazard tires of speculation|
|Luiten claims Oman Open title|
|Torino 0 Juventus 1: Champions win derby but lose Higuain|
|Neymar exit made Barcelona stronger - Ter Stegen|
|Remove T20 cricket from international schedule - Bayliss|
|Injured Higuain forced off against Torino|
|Jesus confident of returning strong after knee injury|
|DeGale launches Twitter attack on beaten Eubank Jr|
|We had to change hotels – Ovrebo recalls fury after 2009 Chelsea-Barcelona semi-final|
|Spalletti: Inter board will decide my future|
|Munro blitz helps Black Caps progress despite defeat|
|Fabregas still wary of timeless Iniesta|
|Liverpool´s 30-goal hero Salah: There´s more to come|
|Valverde: Coutinho dropped for the good of Barcelona|
|Garcia floors Rios for ninth-round TKO|
|Ronaldo better than Neymar? No says Xavi|
|Donovan Mitchell caps NBA All-Star challenges with dunk success|