Paris Saint-Germain were due a defeat. Saturday's 2-1 home loss to Saint-Etienne was the capital club's first domestic reverse of the season, and the first time they had lost a home league game since November last year, when Antoine Kombouare was still in charge.
It was also just the third time that Les Verts had ever won away to PSG, and the clearest sign yet that they can challenge for a European place this season. The ten-time champions have not finished higher than fifth in more than two decades, but current coach Christophe Galtier has a well-balanced squad at his disposal, and even breaking into the top three is not completely beyond them as long as injuries do not take their toll.
Goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, 18-year-old centre-back Kurt Zouma, leggy midfielder Josuha Guilavogui and lightning-quick winger Romain Hamouma are some of the most exciting talents in Ligue 1, although the undoubted star in this Saint-Etienne side is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Carrying a slight knock, the Gabonese striker was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench at kick-off at the Parc des Princes. Yet after seeing his men comfortably ward off PSG for 50 minutes, Galtier decided to thrown on Aubameyang in place of Hamouma, and the one-time AC Milan youth-teamer needed just four minutes to force the opening goal when his cross was turned into his own net by Mamadou Sakho.
Then, following Zlatan Ibrahimovic's sending off for displaying the skills that brought him a black belt in taekwondo in his youth as he challenged Ruffier for a high ball, Aubameyang finished off a breakaway to make it 2-0 with his seventh of the season. Without their star Swede, PSG could not recover, even if Guillaume Hoarau did pull one back late on. And having threatened to open up a gap at the top of the table, Ancelotti's side have been reeled in again.
Marseille are second, level on points with their bitter rivals and with a game in hand. Meanwhile, Saint-Etienne in sixth are just four points off top spot.
"In football, David can still beat Goliath," said one delirious member of Saint-Etienne's backroom staff, and while that was a reminder that Les Verts are not the giants they once were, their current run of eight matches without defeat proves that they are nevertheless a team to look out for this season. "To come and beat PSG on their own turf is a brilliant feat. It gives us an idea of what we can achieve," said Aubameyang.
But what of PSG? After needing Ibrahimovic to dig them out of a sticky situation and win at Nancy seven days earlier, this defeat showed that, almost a year after Ancelotti's appointment, they still have no clear identity.
The loss of the excellent Blaise Matuidi - described by sports daily L'Equipe as 'the lungs' of the PSG team - to an early injury was a big blow, while young playmaker Marco Verratti looks like he could do with a rest. And yet again Javier Pastore flattered to deceive at the tip of a midfield diamond, the system that Ancelotti seems to have put in place with the aim of bringing the best out of the Argentine.
"It was an ugly defeat," said Ancelotti. "We thought the team was in good form, but we didn't play at all. There was no rhythm to our game and we were poorly organised, so it is easy to see why we lost."
The Italian will rightly be concerned by the manner of the defeat, and a good performance is now required against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in midweek. Nevertheless, there is no need for fans of the capital club to get too carried away. They are, after all, still in a strong position, and former goalkeeper Gregory Coupet believes that Ancelotti is making excellent progress.
"Some people are unhappy at the lack of a spectacle or the lack of fluency in their game, but let's be realistic. You can't create a cohesive squad overnight," insists Coupet, who spent the final two years of his career in Paris before retiring last year.
"It is true that without the individual talent of certain players, notably Ibrahimovic, they wouldn't be top of the table, but this team has evolved well in three months. It is not yet perfect by any means, but in the very near future PSG will be monstrous."
Andrew Scott - Pitchside Europe