Maccabi Tel Aviv 0 Chelsea 4
Willian scored with a free-kick yet again as Chelsea won in Israel, where John Terry was stretchered off and former Blues defender Tal Ben Haim was sent off.
There were also goals for Gary Cahill, Oscar and Kurt Zouma in an eventful Champions League clash in which Maccabi Tel Aviv caused some problems but were always second best.
The result moved Chelsea to the top of group G but they still need a point in their final group match, against boss Jose Mourinho’s former club Porto at Stamford Bridge on 9 December, to guarantee a place in the knockout stage.
They would have qualified with a match to spare had Dynamo Kiev, who beat Porto 2-0, not won in Portugal.
Cahill put Mourinho’s men ahead on 20 minutes when he blasted in the loose ball after keeper Predrag Rajkovic produced a brilliant save to tip the defender’s header from Willian’s corner on to the post.
And worse followed for Maccabi when Ben Haim was red-carded after kicking Diego Costa in an extraordinary outburst five minutes before the interval.
Shortly after Terry was injured on 72 minutes having appeared to land awkwardly, the outstanding Willian brilliantly found the bottom corner – the sixth time he has netted from a free-kick this season.
Oscar headed home Baba Rahman’s left-wing cross four minutes later and turned provider for Chelsea’s fourth, which came in injury time when Zouma headed in the Brazilian’s corner.
It completed a good night’s work for the Premier League champions, although they had problems at the back early on.
Dor Petetz missed a glorious chance for the home side when he headed over from four yards out when left unchallenged.
And Chelsea had another left-off when Terry cleared Eran Zahavi’s left-wing cross as far as Eli Dasa, who fired over.
But the Blues then stamped their authority on the game and Cesar Azpilicueta fired over after exchanging passes with Oscar before Cahill put them ahead.
They again looked vulnerable at the start of the second half and needed Asmir Begovic to produce two fine saves to keep their lead intact.
The Bosnian keeper denied Eli Dasa and Eran Zahavi, while Rajkovic did well to keep out efforts from Eden Hazard and Azpilicueta.
Again, however, Chelsea weathered the mini-storm, and Willian’s terrific strike effectively sealed the win.
Subs not used: Blackman, Ivanovic, Mikel, Loftus-Cheek.