Fernando Torres made the most of a rare Chelsea start Tuesday by scoring one and setting up another in a 2-0 victory over third-tier club Swindon in the League Cup, while Manchester City and Tottenham advanced with stylish wins.
Torres slotted in from close range in the 29th minute, and then wriggled through the defence six minutes later before slipping the ball through to Ramires to dink the ball into the net.
"For the players who have not played in the last few matches it was good to play — everyone is happy," Torres said. "It is one step forward."
It was the Spain striker's first domestic start since the opening game of the season more than a month ago.
"Hopefully I'll have more chances to play in the Premier League games," he said.
Likewise for Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe after netting twice in a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa. In the other all-Premier League clashes, Everton's unbeaten start ended in a 2-1 loss at Fulham, and West Ham edged Cardiff 3-2 to reach the fourth round.
All the topflight sides avoided embarrassment against lower-league opposition, Norwich winning 3-2 at Watford in extra time, Hull beating Huddersfield 1-0, Southampton overcoming Bristol City 2-0, and Sunderland ousting Peterborough by the same scoreline.
Man City avenged last season's FA Cup final loss to Wigan, by routing the second-tier side 5-0 with Stevan Jovetic scoring his first goals since joining from Fiorentina.
Edin Dzeko opened the scoring the hosts by volleying into the net in the 33rd minute before Jovetic bundled in the second on the hour.
Yaya Toure came off the bench to curl in a free kick from 20 yards — his third such goal of the season — and Jovetic netted again from close range in the 83rd after Ryan Shotton made a mess of a clearance.
Jesus Navas rounded off the scoring three minutes later when he broke through and fired a low shot past goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.
At Villa Park, 42-year-old American goalkeeper Brad Friedel had little to do on his return to his own club as the Tottenham attack shone.
It took the visitors until the stroke of half time to go in front, with Defoe flicking a header over 21-year-old Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer after latching onto Lewis Holtby's chip.
Holtby set up another four minutes into the second half, with Paulinho stabbing in his second goal in three days, having scored Tottenham's Premier League winner at Cardiff on Sunday.
Winger Nacer Chadli blasted in his first goal since joining from FC Twente in the close season and Defoe wrapped up the victory in stoppage time by rounding the goalkeeper and putting the ball in the net for Tottenham.
"It was another super performance from Jermain Defoe, he showed great desire," Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas said. "His performances have been excellent."
Fulham fought back from 1-0 down to beat Everton.
Darren Bent scored the winner in the 69th after Dimitar Berbatov cancelled out Steven Naismith's opener.
Cardiff had staged a fightback after trailing 2-0 to West Ham before going out of the competition.
The hosts' lead, secured by Ravel Morrison and Matthew Jarvis, was wiped out by Craig Noone and Peter Odemwingie, but the London club recovered with Ricardo Vaz Te netting the winner.
At Sunderland, two days after manager Paolo Di Canio was fired, Emanuele Giaccherini and Valentin Roberge scored in a routine victory over third-tier club Peterborough.