Nicolas Anelka celebrates after scoring his second goal
Nicolas Anelka hit a hat-trick as Chelsea demolished Sunderland and moved above Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
Alex began the rout, tapping in when Marton Fulop allowed Joe Cole's shot to squirm free, and it was quickly 2-0 when Anelka met Frank Lampard's cross.
Florent Malouda unselfishly set up Anelka to add a third goal and Lampard headed in Cole's cross to make it four.
Anelka fired home from Malouda's cross to complete the scoring inside an hour.
Stamford Bridge may no longer be seen as an unbreachable fortress after Liverpool's victory there last weekend but, for Chelsea, this was the perfect riposte to seeing their 86-match unbeaten run ended in their last outing on home soil.
Blues boss Luiz Felipe Scolari voiced his concern before the game that his side have been struggling to break down team who come to west London merely to defend.
But he had no such worries here as the Blues quickly took Sunderland apart in an opening 45 minutes that saw them score three goals that were as stylish as they were simple.
From the start, with the visitors struggling to get out of their own half, it was clear that this game would be about whether Chelsea could find a way through their defence and, if so, how often.
Initially, Sunderland defended resolutely and it appeared luck was also on their side when Deco's looping shot landed on top of the crossbar.
Anelka hat-trick impresses Wilkins
But Scolari's men made the breakthrough after 27 minutes when Joe Cole's shot eluded Fulop and Alex arrived to scoop the ball over the line and score Chelsea's 1,000th Premier League goal.
Three minutes later, and in almost identical fashion, it was 2-0. This time Deco set Lampard free on the right and although Alex was first to his cross, it was Anelka who got the last touch.
With his side chasing shadows, it was becoming an afternoon to forget for Black Cats boss Roy Keane but things soon got worse.
As torrential rain continued to fall, Chelsea kept playing their instinctive passing game and scored a third goal just before the break to underline their superiority.
Joe Cole linked up with Lampard, who in turn fed the ball to Malouda, and the French striker chose to give his compatriot Anelka the simple task of rolling his shot home.
Keane, who felt Cole fouled Pascal Chimbonda in the build-up, was livid and his reward was to be banished from the dug-out for the second-half by referee Martin Atkinson.
His view may have been better from the stands but his mood is unlikely to have improved after seeing his side continue to be outplayed after the break.
Within six minutes of the restart, the majestic Cole got to the right-hand bye-line and stood the ball up for Lampard who, despite falling backwards, got enough power on his header to put it in the far corner for his 100th league goal.
Keane admits Sunderland were 'outclassed'
And seconds later it was 5-0 - Anelka completing his hat-trick after sliding to meet Malouda's cross with a shot that Fulop should have kept out.
After that flurry of five goals in 26 minutes, Scolari's side took their foot off the pedal, perhaps with one eye on their Champions League trip to Roma on Tuesday.
Sunderland showed no signs of a recovery but they did threaten to salvage some pride when Djibril Cisse ran clear towards the end.
But, on a day of landmarks for the home side, it was fitting that Petr Cech denied him and went on to keep his 100th clean sheet for Chelsea.
Chelsea first team coach Ray Wilkins:
"It was a bit sticky for us in the first 15 minutes but after that we started playing our football.
"It was a very impressive performance from the guys and it is very difficult for people to get near us when we start passing the ball like that.
"Nicolas Anelka works so hard for the team and he has been rewarded with three goals here."
Sunderland manager Roy Keane:
"It was a tough afternoon. We got outclassed by a top, top team and there is no shame in that. I was pleased my players kept going.
"We were always under pressure and we have seen Chelsea do this to a lot of teams this season - I don't have a problem praising the opposition.
"We have to take our lesson and look to bounce back."
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