While Chelsea were out boring their way to Capital One Cup glory, Manchester City were busy gifting wrapping the Premier League title for them.
Before the Blues stationed their heavily-protected defence in front of both Wembley goals, they’d have been elated with the news about Liverpool beating their sole rivals for the top-tier crown 2-1 at Anfield.
The result meant Jose Mourinho’s men have a five-point lead at the summit and a game in hand (against bottom club Leicester) on second-place City.
So enviable is their position, bwin are going a microscopic 1/13 about Chelsea finishing the campaign in first place, while it’s now 13/2 about the Citizens retaining the title.
Such an eventuality, at this point, is difficult to envisage, but there’s enough time left for the sides in the gold and silver medal positions to switch places, meaning for opportunistic punters this is the perfect moment to back City for league-winning glory.
Leicester, Burnley, West Brom and Crystal Palace are their next four opponents.
This kind quartet of fixtures is exactly the sort of confidence-rebuilding remedy any club would hope for after a morale-sapping loss and with Chelsea tackling tougher foes (West Ham away and Southampton at home are their next two league games) Manuel Pellegrini’s men could feasibly close the gap.
Defeat at Liverpool at an even later stage of last season left a chasm of points between the Citizens and the summit, but they still successfully bridged it and did so without winning all of their remaining games.
After their 3-2 reverse at Anfield they were seven points adrift with two games in hand, though having drawn at home to Sunderland in the midweek fixture that followed, they were six back and almost universally ruled out of the equation.
Five consecutive wins, however, saw them overhaul both Chelsea and the Reds to claim their second Premier League title.
Seven straight domestic triumphs between mid-November and Boxing Day this season suggest they’re more than capable of going on another major point-accumulation spree between now and May.
Last season also saw Chelsea squander a similarly commanding position at the top of the table, relinquishing a four-point lead on Liverpool (six on City) in mid-March to ultimately finish third.
Latter stage slip-ups against the likes of Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Sunderland were responsible for their demise and, having drawn at home with Burnley in their last league game, they may not be over their troubles against basement dwellers.