The injury sustained by Diego Costa in Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain may well have pulled the rug out from under the Blues’ top-six charge.
Stamford Bridge’s finest have surged from the brink of a relegation battle into contention for European qualification under interim manager Guus Hiddink.
Now only seven points off Manchester United in sixth and as short as 9/2 for a top-six finish, the west London outfit are unbeaten in 12 Premier League games under the Dutchman.
Yet, should the prognosis on the hip complaint that ended Costa’s participation against PSG prove serious, all that momentum could well disappear in a puff of smoke.
Having struck seven league goals under Hiddink and assisted four more, no player has done more to get the side back on the right track.
Without his direct contributions to Chelsea strikes, the Blues would have lost 3-1 to Everton and 1-0 to Man United and drawn against Arsenal, Norwich and Southampton.
That’s an eight-point difference, without which the Blues would be between Sunderland and Swansea and still very much on the edge of the relegation quagmire.
Hiddink has no similar replacement for the former Atletico Madrid man and when he has been absent earlier this season it has shown.
Chelsea have played seven Premier League sides without Costa in the starting XI and have yet to win, drawing four times, losing three and notching on a grand total of four occasions.
Loic Remy and Bertrand Traore are waiting in the wings to deputise if his injury does turn out to be serious.
Both are capable goalscorers, with the younger man in particular announcing himself a dangerous attacking proposition this term.
Traore has netted five times in 12 outings largely as a substitute in 2015/16.
However, neither offer the physical presence or downright defence-terrorising belligerence of the potentially-poleaxed party.