It would be a push to call it a weak team with nine internationals including a World Cup winner among them, but this was certainly not Chelsea-Max and on the night Jose Mourinho's side made very heavy weather of beating a stubborn Bolton Wanderers.
His team are through to the fourth round of the League Cup, where they will face Shrewsbury Town away, and they did so in 90 minutes rather than the extra-time which Liverpool had to endure the previous night. But it should be said that this is not a good Bolton team, currently just outside the Championship relegation zone and with manager Dougie Freedman's position in peril, Chelsea should have won by many more.
Only Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta remained in the team from Sunday's draw with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and, having taken the lead through debutant Kurt Zouma, they dominated the game and missed countless chances.
Against the odds, Bolton managed to fashion an equaliser through captain Matt Mills and even after Oscar scored the second on 55 minutes, it remained a tight game to the end.
At the start of the night, Mourinho had been kept waiting by the tunnel longer than he likes to greet Freedman and it set the tone for the night for the Chelsea manager - one of persistent annoyance and frustration.
It was more uncomfortable than it needed to be for Chelsea given their level of control. There were times when Andre Schurrle appeared to be playing Bolton on his own and his luck in front of goal was encapsulated in a late effort that hit the post and bounced back to Bolton goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan, who had a good game.
Poor old Bolton, shackled with huge debts and going nowhere fast, rallied in the latter stages when Mourinho sent on Didier Drogba, Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic to steady the ship.
It was a subdued night at Stamford Bridge and a Chelsea team with only a few concessions to youth. With a first-team squad with as much quality as the one at Mourinho's disposal, there are fewer opportunities for that. Instead he gave a debut to Zouma and a start to the promising Dutch U-21 midfielder Nathan Ake.
Ake had a run of six games two seasons ago, and just one in the last campaign. The chances at Chelsea can be few and far between even for the most exceptional young talents. Zouma, signed from St Etienne in January and loaned back for the remainder of last season, is more likely to figure given his much greater first-team experience this season.
There was a first sighting of the season for Petr Cech, given a warm reception by the crowd. Other recent peripherals such as Filipe Luis, Mohamed Salah and Loic Remy were given a chance too. They should have filled their boots in the first half but they only scored one.
That was Zouma's goal forced in from close range after Cahill saw his header blocked by Craig Davies. It came to Zouma via Remy and from then on it looked like it would be comfortable for Chelsea. Lonergan led something of a charmed life, however, and then came a remarkable equaliser.
It was Liam Feeney's free-kick from the right, headed in by captain Mills, who had got between Cahill and Zouma. The header was impressive but it went across Cech and into the goalkeeper's right-hand corner. He should have done much better.
What turned out to be the winner from Oscar came 10 minutes after the break when he turned sharply and hit a right-foot shot from outside the area low and inside Lonergan's right-sided post. It was no less than they deserved but it was a slog to get there. (© Independent News Service)