Chelsea return to winning ways
Blues back to winning ways but Italian boss has much work to do
HULL CITY 0
(Willian 61, Diego Costa 67)
Antonio Conte will have never have slept more soundly.
Successive Premier League defeats had left the Chelsea manager desperately scouring for a cure to his post-match insomnia.
Stealing 40 winks has been an impossible task for the Italian, just eight weeks into his Stamford Bridge reign.
Until yesterday. When he found a remedy at the KCom Stadium in a 2-0 defeat of Hull.
Conte's quest for equilibrium remains on hold as his side continue to wrestle with their latest transition.
In the blink of an eye, they lurch from poor play to excellence.
He remains under no illusions that there is no magic wand to remedy the problems which have beset Chelsea for the best part of 12 months.
But, belatedly, the cogs of his well-drilled machine have finally sprung into motion.
For over an hour against Hull, it appeared that the looming presence of Roman Abramovich looked set to continue to lurk in the foreground in west London.
Chelsea's owner is not known for patience and goodwill; let alone allowing his managerial hires to be left to their own devices.
An underwhelming opening 45 minutes against the Tigers would probably have seen the ruthless Russian undertake some sort of intervention, particularly given the Blues' inability to register a shot on target in consecutive EPL games for the first time since March 2012.
Back then, it was Andre Villas-Boas who paid the price.
Conte already knew that back-to-back losses had left him under pressure.
Seeing his side belatedly spark into life during a rousing second half, however, may be enough to temporarily halt the button on Abramovich's managerial countdown clock.
The last time Chelsea travelled to Humberside, 18 months ago, they were striding towards a fourth EPL title. Now, they are on a steady climb back to redemption.
Conte's innovation has been central to that resurgence, notably trialling his favoured three-man defensive set-up in order to secure a first clean sheet since Aug 27.
Victor Moses' surprise inclusion proved to be an inspired move. Successive loan spells in the last three seasons had seen the Nigerian winger's Chelsea career heavily marginalised since his last EPL start for the club, back in May 2013.
But the former Liverpool and Crystal Palace loanee was a most unlikely bright spark in a first half dominated by profligacy from the likes of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.
The latter went on to spark Chelsea's second-half fightback when he tested David Marshall with a typically driven effort which drew a strong save from the Hull goalkeeper.
Long-range attempts became the Blues' forte as Willian broke the deadlock with a curling effort before Costa produced a carbon copy six minutes later.
From then on, the Spain striker became an unplayable menace; Hull's defence appeared in the grip of genuine fear whenever he advanced on their penalty area.
The floodgates could, and should, have opened when Pedro spurned a gilt-edged chance from close range in the closing stages.
True to the mania of the modern Chelsea, perfection remains a work in progress.
Conte will at least be able to rest easy now that he has prevented a slump deteriorating into a full-blown crisis.