Rarely will a draw have felt more like a win for Chelsea.
At 2-0 down with barely ten minutes gone, the rest of their FA Cup sixth round tussle with Manchester United had the feel of the longest of many long days for the Blues so far this season.
The travelling thrones were singing in unison about Rafa Benitez and on the back of a limp showing in Bucharest on Thursday night, it’s hard to imagine that Roman Abramovich wasn’t winding the silencer on to his pistol.
Yet a rousing second half recovery at the very least will prolong Chelsea’s status as FA Cup holders and should provide them with some impetus and confidence coming round the final bend of the season.
The problem with that last bit though, is that the Blues have had plenty of false dawns already where steps forward have been followed by one back, a couple to either side and then back again.
Benitez will also be none the wiser as to which is his best starting eleven. Frank Lampard’s dip in form shows no signs of clearing and John Obi Mikel put himself back into the good books after an appalling Europa Cup show a few days before.
Neither of Demba Ba or Fernando Torres have made the striking slot their own and Benitez still seems to be drawing lots as to who will play in defence.
Yet coming back from two goals down at the home of the champions elect was arguably Chelsea’s finest 45 minutes of the campaign thus far, and the whole feel good factor of seeing United desperately clinging on to the tie should fill the them with the bravado to do likewise to Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League last sixteen quarter-final second leg on Thursday.
The European Champions weren’t far off pathetic in the first game and even though Ryan Bertrand’s penalty decision was soft, few can claim Chelsea deserved much else from a tie in which they lacked any quality.
There was none of the finesse and fluidity which came from nowhere in the second half of the game at Old Trafford but if Chelsea can immediately click into that rhythm again, they should have enough to dispose of the Romanian league leaders.
Chelsea are 9/25 to win the tie in ninety minutes and a relatively short 31/50 to progress to the next round.
Given that Chelsea still require a couple of goals to overturn a 1-0 deficit, you may as well get on them with over 2.5 goals at 11/10 and taking all into consideration, I reckon the Blues will be too strong for spirited but limited opposition at Stamford Bridge.
Should they progress to the next stage then they’ll still be on for a ‘treble’ of sorts with the FA Cup and a top four finish still very much achievable.
They are 3/4 favourites to edge past United in the replay at the Bridge and 4/1 they’ll go on to retain their title.
I’d leave that alone as I can’t see them getting past both Manchester clubs but 1/4 to finish in the top four looks on and that plus Europa League success at 5/1 would mark an inadvertently decent season.
For more Chelsea related ramblings, plus updates on what I’ve had for lunch and who’s annoying me on public transport follow me on Twitter @bainesyDiego10