Nemanja Matic scored his second goal for Chelsea against Sporting Lisbon to rubber stamp an unusually circuitous route to untouchable status at Stamford Bridge.
The 26-year-old has failed to start just two matches of the 27 he has been eligible to play in since returning to the club.
That he came on from the bench in one of those, while the other was a Capital One Cup third-round fixture, shows just how integral he has become to the team.
And there seems little doubt that he will line-up alongside Cesc Fabregas against Arsenal as Jose Mourinho’s men attempt to justify odds of 67/100 about a third successive home win against the Gunners.
But how did the transformation from unwanted transfer makeweight in the Blues’ David Luiz deal to Chelsea’s single most important player come about?
Much credit for the transformation in his fortunes must go to charismatic Benfica boss Jorge Jesus, who did far more than nourish Matic with the oxygen of starts.
Even during the loan spell at Vitesse Arnhem that preceded his Estadio da Luz switch Matic was played as an advanced central midfielder.
However the Eagles’ boss had other ideas, as Matic himself told the Guardian at around the time he re-signed for Chelsea for £21m:
“When I arrived at Benfica I’d been playing like a number ten in the team, but the first thing the coach did was tell me: ‘You are going to be a defensive midfielder here’.”
“It wasn’t easy because I’d never played that position before. At the start, to be honest, I didn’t do well there but Jorge Jesus believed in me.
“He believed in my quality and kept saying: ‘Just do what I ask and, slowly, you will play better and better’.
It took a few months, but I got there.“
Three seasons later that seems like the understatement of the century.