A two-footed tackle by Fernando Torres last month could be the best thing that happened to the Chelsea striker since his so-called decline started two summers ago.
The fresh-looking Torres was rampant in the 5-0 Champions League win against Genk last night, coming off the back of a soothing holiday to score twice and generally tear the Belgian side to shreds.
Since their 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, Chelsea have won five out of six matches, scoring 18 goals and conceding four.
The only 'failure' was a creditable 1-1 Champions League draw at Valencia, with their excellent form cutting the gap to three points on Premier League leaders Manchester City and just one shy of Manchester United.
They are top of a fairly tricky Champions League group too, and most ominous for their rivals is the apparent return to form of Torres, who appears to be reaping the benefit of his enforced spell on the sidelines.
Torres's uncharacteristic dismissal - for a reckless lunge on Mark Gower after he scored the opener in a 4-1 win against Swansea - was followed by a lacklustre performance against Los Che but, crucially, he sat out the next two league games and was benched by Spain for the Scotland match after failing to impress against the Czech Republic.
El Nino's performance before seeing red against the Swans (and, miss aside, the way he played in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United) hinted that his confidence may be returning in patches, but the extended rest over the past three weeks has given his fatigued body - brain included - the break it sorely needed.
There has been much hand-wringing and chin-stroking since Torres's fall from grace during and after a World Cup which, despite victory, saw him carried by his Spain team-mates.
Given his unimpressive form, Torres's £50 million move to Chelsea the following January was greeted with a level of derision, and the howls became deafening after he netted a solitary goal between then and the end of the season.
Had he lost a yard of pace after some niggling injuries at Liverpool? Was he struggling to handle the pressure of playing for teams that were now expected, and not just tipped, to win things? Was the price tag weighing heavy on his shoulders? Was his confidence so shot after his poor World Cup that the formerly irrepressible goal-getter had become so devoid of composure that even making the decision to shoot was now a brow-furrowing existentialist nightmare?
This season had been little better - he failed to score in his first six matches of the season - and new boss Andre Villas-Boas, clean of the baggage associated with Torres's signing, would have been forgiven for dropping the Madrileno.
There were whispers that Torres was 'finished' and even the player was publicly asking questions, first about the quality of his team-mates and then about his own happiness following his move to a new club and city.
The national (and international) soul-searching regarding Torres occasionally touched on his physical condition (with, despite evidence to the contrary, fairly outrageous claims that his legs had gone at the age of 27), but most of the analysis concerned his mental state.
But Torres hadn't enjoyed a proper break for over two years. Every time he was injured for Liverpool, he was rushed back, and with good reason given his record of 72 goals in 106 games in his first three seasons at Anfield.
He was also pushed into action ahead of schedule by Spain for the World Cup, and famously flopped, scoring no goals before picking up an injury in the final, an incident which bore the hallmarks of a mercy killing.
While his time at Chelsea has not been punctuated by injuries, the physical and mental exhaustion took its toll - Carlo Ancelotti felt he could not drop Torres given the huge outlay on his services, while this season the talented but inexperienced Villas-Boas has been keen to play him regularly to try and coax good form from the undeniable talent.
Our Armchair Pundit Alex Chick, aided by theory from former table tennis star Matthew Syed, summed up Torres's travails more rationally and eloquently than most - yes, his repeated choking was a mental problem, his ability to make snap decisions without thought diminished by a loss of confidence and fitness, but it lay in his poor management by a succession of coaches who either lacked the courage or the tools to give him a rest.
In the end referee Mike Dean made the decision for Villas-Boas, one which has allowed him to take stock, get used to his new surroundings, become accustomed to not being Mr Big Stuff any more and give the limbs a break for reasons other than forcing a quick return from injury.
The three-match ban that followed may be the best thing that has happened to Torres in a number of years - he will skip the Premier League game at Queens Park Rangers, giving him time to recover from his midweek antics, and is likely to be spared the Carling Cup match at Everton.
That should leave him champing at the bit for the home match against Arsenal on October 29. Good luck to them.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "This will help us with our confidence but if you look back at the last six games you will see we only have one defeat. We are slowly getting there and this will help. We've made a little step forward but we have to be humble. We are a team who must continue to grow and we have to show that. The game at home to Marseille will be very important" - Arsene Wenger stays cautious after Arsenal's 1-0 win at Marseille, aware that recent victories have been unconvincing at best.
FOREIGN VIEW: A mass brawl marred an Asian Champions League match between Al Sadd and Suwon Bluewings, with play halted for 10 minutes and three players sent off. Coaching staff and players from both sides fought on the pitch at the World Cup Stadium following Al Sadd striker Mamadou Niang's controversial second goal in the 81st minute. The Koreans were unhappy that Al Sadd had quickly restarted play and set Niang through unopposed to round goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and score. Before the controversial goal, Suwon had allowed the ball to go out of play after one of their players went down with a head injury in the Al Sadd area. You can watch the whole debacle here.
COMING UP: A whole host of live Europa League action today - with Tottenham, Fulham, Birmingham and Celtic all in action - plus the latest instalment of our Ruud Gullit week, and the Pundit's musings on the week's football.