Amidst the kaleidoscopic fireworks a bumper midweek Premier League card it may have been easy to overlook Chelsea’s victory over West Ham.
The significance of the success clearly wasn’t lost on the Blues’ players, who embraced each other fervently on the Boleyn Ground pitch at the final whistle.
Coming three days after their Capital One Cup success and on the eve of a seven-day break from competitive action, victory was vital to the morale of their title-chasing collective.
One of the toughest of their remaining away games so soon after their trip to Wembley was the first of seven trials Chelsea must overcome in order to land Premier League winner odds of a microscopic 3/25.
Here are the remaining six…
The flagging firepower of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas
Having either scored or assisted 36 of Chelsea’s 57 league goals this term between them the pair are flagging as springtime approaches, with neither playing their part in a top-flight strike since the 5-0 hammering of Swansea on January 17.
The west London derby
No matter how poor the Super Hoops may appear to be across the rest of the campaign they almost never fail to give Chelsea a run for their money.
Jose Mourinho’s side have won just once in their last three visits to Loftus Road.
The north London road trip
Arsenal are showing signs of their more-or-less traditional late-season rush for the Champions League spots and, reinforced by the newly acquired pragmatic streak that saw them beat Manchester City at the Etihad, they may prove more stubborn foes than they have in the past.
The game in hand
City will likely remain not more than two cock-ups away in the table until Chelsea make good on their bird in the bush, a mid-week trip to Leicester at the end of April.
It’s likely the Foxes will be playing for their Premier League skins and this is just the kind of easily-underestimatable away day that has seen the Blues drop points in recent campaigns.
The Champions League tug of love
After the round of 16 first legs the Stamford Bridge side look easily the most likely to progress of the remaining English sides.
City and Arsenal, their closest pursuers in the league, are both likely to duck out presently, giving them an advantage over the league leaders in terms of workload.
The Liverpool revenge mission
Last term it was Chelsea who turned up at Anfield to ruin Liverpool’s title challenge three games from the end of the campaign.
This season the in-from Reds will relish the chance for a role reversal at Stamford Bridge in a fixture that comes a maximum of four days after the Champions League semi-finals.