Manchester City's ruthless 5-1 triumph over Tottenham to go to the top of the Premier League last week carried with it an air of coronation.
Manuel Pellegrini's free-scoring team took their unbeaten run to 20 matches in all competitions and talk of an unprecedented quadruple rumbled beyond a murmur.
Enter Jose Mourinho. Carrying out his tactical masterplan with technical excellence, Chelsea left the Etihad Stadium with a 1-0 win on Monday night that flattered their hosts.
For now, trophy engravers can stop practicing their "Ms" and "Cs." But as Pellegrini nurses a sixth career defeat in eight attempts against Mourinho, the self-styled "Special One," he will realise much remains in his side's favour.