Four months ago today, determination, grit, and fortune collided together to send Chelsea to cloud nine by winning the elusive Champions League.
But four months on, Chelsea have been sent crashing back to earth at home against Juventus, with a big reality check against the Serie A champions.
Back then, there was the Drogba, and though the Torres, Hazard and Oscar aren’t half bad an alternative, the instinctive firepower was lacking.
Indeed, it was the new Brazilian who scored both Chelsea’s goals, two in two minutes for Chelsea’s new number 11. But the careless attitude of AVB came back against an opponent to which no room can be afforded.
A 2-2 draw is by no means a disaster for Roberto Di Matteo and his side, who look to become the first side to successfully defend the Champions League title.
But it’s being pegged back from 2-0 up at home that will hurt.
And indeed, Chelsea’s form of late has been stuttery: a 4-1 loss to Atletico Madrid and a 0-0 draw to QPR preceded tonight’s events, and won’t have helped Di Matteo and his plans.
But, in all fairness, the Blues have much to be pleased with for their night’s efforts. The Pep Guardiola-style of play was evident in a busy first half, which culminated in two goals from Oscar just after the half hour mark.
The first was the result of some clever work by Eden Hazard, who played more on the left to accommodate Oscar for his first Champions League experience. A smart shot from the 21-year-old took a deflection off the Juventus defence and looped past the helpless Buffon.
But if the first had a hint of good fortune, the second was a work of art. Art which he deserved an Oscar for.
Much has been made of Andrea Pirlo and his impressive Euro display, but even the great Italian was made to look miniscule by some outstanding skill: first receiving the ball, before knocking it past two players and rifling into the top corner; an absolute screamer and one of the best goals the Bridge has seen for a long time.
Only time can tell how well he develops, but the signs are looking good for another Chelsea legend to emerge from the Number 11 shirt.
But if the skill and the audacity had entered Chelsea’s play, the bus had most certainly left. Characteristic stone-wall Chelsea back-lines were conspicuous by their absence, and the rock wall that was Carvalho and Terry of the last decade is distinctly lacking between the captain and Luiz, who Di Matteo screamed at for venturing too far forward in the second half.
And the lack of defensive solidity was shown up by foreign opposition once again. Like Atletico Madrid, Juventus found Chelsea not to be impenetrable, and Vidal clawed one back before the whistle blew for half-time, finding himself in too much space to rifle into Cech’s left-hand corner.
But not only had the grit and determination gone from four months ago, indeed, so too, perhaps, a little bit of the luck, with the Munich referee Pedro Proenca deciding to not award penalties for fouls on Eden Hazard.
The Belgian is proving evasive and a clear danger to defenders in the box, but referees appear reluctant to make them pay for rash tackles.
And instead, Chelsea had to pay the ultimate cost. Or indeed, John Obi Mikel. The Nigerian was caught out as Juventus superbly beat Chelsea’s offside trap, and had all the time in the world to shoot through Cech’s legs.
Mata, who was rested against QPR, was brought on in the latter stages of the match, but there was to be no late goal this time for Chelsea.
It may be a case of new faces for the tough test against Stoke at the weekend. Oscar may well retain his place at the expense of John Obi Mikel. Gary Cahill surely deserves his chance ahead of Luiz.
There are a lot of questions to be asked of Roberto Di Matteo over the next few days. A sound start for AVB turned sour as winter approached for AVB last year. Di Matteo must ensure the same does not happen again.