avbWhen Chelsea's players celebrated they didn't run to their manager to share in their jubilation, but really it mattered little. In fact, as Chelsea pricked the veneer of invulnerability that had come to shroud Manchester City, it was as if, for once, the whole country was sharing in their joy.
Okay, that might be pushing it a touch, as a nouveau riche club that has bought a couple of league titles, puts up with Ashley Cole's trigger-happy tendencies and holds John Terry in such obviously high esteem is never going to unite the neutrals, but Chelsea's 2-1 victory over City at Stamford Bridge was certainly important for the Premier League as a competition.
City had enjoyed the finest ever start to a Premier League season, dropping only two points from 14 games, and with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea all having very high-profile bad spells - or indeed full-blown crises at times - and still no one taking Tottenham seriously, there was an unspoken danger that had they triumphed in West London, City may have found things all too easy this season.
Thankfully, though, those fears were dismissed after a frantic 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge that did so much to bring a grin to the face of Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas. Just days ago he was complaining that Manchester City were the "media darlings" but here it was Chelsea earning the plaudits for re-opening the title race.
To be honest, the curious figure of Villas-Boas needed a night where he was not the subject of some self-inflicted ridicule.
In recent weeks, in Early Doors' eyes at least, he has become a character of near-Phil Brown proportions. Those rants at the media, Alan Pardew and Gary Neville were one thing, his alleged instruction for players to celebrate goals with him quite another. He was surely just a sliver away from conducting a team-talk on the pitch or embellishing a story about coaxing a woman down from the Humber Bridge, as the Orange One did before him.
His image has certainly taken a battering of late, among media types if not his own supporters, but here was a result to rejuvenate it.
After a dodgy opening 20 minutes for Chelsea which saw Mario Balotelli open the scoring for City and David Silva denied a clear penalty when being tripped by Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea responded magnificently, aided by a pretty calamitous red card for Gael Clichy of course.
Such was the verve and intent with which Chelsea attacked, visiting manager Roberto Mancini reverted to last season's cautious type by bringing off the elegant Silva for the more bruising Nigel De Jong. In the context of the game it was certainly justifiable, with Chelsea a man to the good, but as City retreated into their trenches they came under increasing fire, eventually culminating in Frank Lampard's winning penalty.
Again, Villas-Boas was not involved in the celebrations, but after the match he was adamant there had been no such instruction to his players. Villas-Boas strenuously denies ever demanding to be involved in celebrations - calling The Sun's report "false",
despite a club spokesman going on the record to confirm it.
Rather than a post-match press conference, it seemed as though the man known universally as AVB had taken a seat at the Leveson Inquiry into the practices of the press as he sought to pull apart The Sun's report of his allegedly egomaniacal demands.
"It's a false story, I never said anything like that. I think it's ridiculous," Villas-Boas told Sky Sports. "The Sun in two weeks has been spot-on with two false stories. I already said that if they paid the informant, they should get their money back.
"I told the players that when we score a goal, the bench lives the same emotions. The bench competes with them, with the same desire. We are for them, we want to play but we can't play.
"That's what I said in that conversation, and it's an unfortunate story. It's a pity, you'll get to know me, I'd never be an individual to say something extraordinary like that."
At least his war on the press appears to have boiled down to a mere grudge with The Sun. And let's be honest, that rag is used to a bit of stick, isn't it?
Instead of playing the victim again, Villas-Boas was instead entitled to revel in vindication.
His introduction to the Premier League has not been easy, and had City been awarded that penalty ED could be delineating a very different situation entirely, but credit must go to the Portuguese boss. Results are what count, and stripping City of their unbeaten record was impressive indeed.
Changing an ingrown culture at Chelsea and reshaping a dressing room full of strong personalities is no easy task, and though Lampard scored the winner yesterday after coming off the bench the biggest challenge may yet lie ahead if the popular midfielder is deemed obsolete.
Lampard was not even supposed to take the spot-kick having missed against Newcastle but he claimed the ball off Juan Mata. Though he did of course score, such insubordination might not go down too well.
The midfielder is certainly not ready to follow the China-bound Nicolas Anelka out of the door. "I want to play and I'm at my best when I play, but now I'm in and out," he told Sky Sports. "I'm 33 - I understand that - but I want to keep playing regularly because I know I've got a lot to give. I've got 18 months left and I'll be here that long, and I'll keep trying my hardest."
But the seeds for a new Chelsea have been planted and it looks as though Villas-Boas will be given the time and space to help them grow. Now he just needs to drop the Phil Brown act and get on with the business of managing.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Don't you know who I am? I can buy the whole pizzeria." - Danish newspaper Ekstrabladet reports Nicklas Bendtner got a bit huffy when his credit card wouldn't work in a restaurant in Copenhagen. Eventually two girls paid for his food, but one customer was left remarking: "He was f***ing arrogant, acted as if he owned the place. All the people just stood and looked at each other and shook their heads over the way he behaved." Nicklas Bendtner, arrogant? Surely not?
FOREIGN VIEW: "There is no feeling of inferiority. I wouldn't change our situation with anyone else's. My motivation is as strong as ever. Leaders in the Champions League, (joint) leaders in La Liga and you are asking me about motivation?" - Jose Mourinho comes out fighting after a humbling defeat in Saturday night's Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
COMING UP: We cast our eye over what was Hot and what was Not over the Premier League weekend in our latest Premier League video, while the latest edition of the Euro Club Index will give us an insight into Europe's movers and shakers.
The Armchair Pundit and Des Kane will be filing their latest blogs while this evening we have live coverage of the Serie A clash between Genoa and Inter.